It Has Come To My Attention That Chopped Cars Are Extremely Cool

Photo: Bradley Brownell\

For months, years even, I’ve spotted this little brown Volkswagen out of the corner of my eye as I turn onto a main thoroughfare, or going the opposite way on a city street, or it buzzes by while I’m stuck in traffic. It’s been doing very slow laps on the Ehra Lessien in my brain ever since. This lovely little aircooled has haunted my dreams. Earlier this week I went for a walk into town to pick up a couple slices of pizza and was finally face to face with the object of my affection.

This delightful little box is a Volkswagen Type 3 Notchback, which was sold in the U.S. sometime in the 60s or early 70s. Powered by a 1500cc aircooled flat four, these things have never been fast, but they’re exactly the right kind of car for low and slow cruising around town, especially if you want to look extremely cool while feeling extremely hot.

Photo: Bradley Brownell

Chopped tops have been around for decades, finding particular acceptance in the 1950s hot rod scene. Whenever I’ve read about chopped roofs, it’s usually the 30s Fords and 50s Mercurys that come up. The Southern California ACVW scene has co-opted many of those 1950s hot rodding cues, and I’ve seen a mighty many chopped Beetles and such.

This one appears to have been done fairly well, as the pillar welds have been hidden well enough, and the door still fits into the roof pretty well. While it does have a cut down windshield, it does not appear to have any side window glass. It doesn’t rain here in Nevada (where I and this car live) very often, but the winters can be biting cold. I’d guess this simply doesn’t get driven in inclement weather, which is certainly an option in this region.

Photo: Bradley Brownell

If I were a betting man, this guy either has a switchblade comb and a head full of pommade, or he wears pegged pants and listens to ska. No judgement, you do you, fam. Especially if it means driving this mean machine. I’m a big fan of your work.

Photo: Bradley Brownell

I have a 1976 Porsche 912E in my garage right now which is screaming out for some chopped roof action. I’ve had this idea in my head since I got the car, mostly because of the legendary Chris Banning’s “King of the Mountain” Mulholland racer of decades gone by. My 912E uses a 2-litre version of the infamous Volkswagen Type 4 engine, but has a 911 body like this silver monster below. Maybe I could honour both ends of the spectrum by chopping my roof.

Yeah, that’s extremely cool.