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The Milivié 1 is a familiar-looking but totally new bug

A German restomod company has its own take on the ‘people’s car’

The Milivié 1 is the Beetle revival that Volkswagen failed to make. PHOTO FROM MILIVIÉ

The Volkswagen Beetle is a favorite among those doing restomods. Its classic design evokes emotions from people old enough to have memories of the car.

However, the original Beetle has long been killed. And the German automaker’s own revival bid failed miserably, eventually axing the New Beetle. But Jonathan Engler, the founder of Milivié, a German restomod company, has reimagined the iconic car and is coming up with a unique version of it.

Simply called the Milivié 1, the name of the vehicle is the only one that’s simple. The project started with a careful selection of Beetle 1303 donor cars, of which only parts of the monocoque chassis were used. The frame was heavily modified to take all of the things that the company will be fitting it with.

The bodywork is entirely new, yet very familiar. PHOTO FROM MILIVIÉ

Looks-wise, Milivié was able to modernize the classic body style. The curves and the overall silhouette of the car mimic the original, but the sheet metal’s concave and convex shapes make it more aerodynamic and look modern.

The front end loses the chrome bumpers and the fender-mounded turn signals. Plus, the headlamps were erased. The front bonnet is 8cm longer. Capping it off is a lower lip that is seamlessly fused to the front fenders.

The sides stay largely like the old Beetle, with the only notable changes being the new mirror and door handle designs, the bigger fenders, and the huge 19-inch wheels. The same goes with the back where the taillamps were replaced with LED units. A ducktail spoiler with a third brake lamp sits atop the rear hood where the air-cooled engine can be found.

The modernized interior has some details that are inspired by the classic Beetle. PHOTO FROM MILIVIÉ

But the interior looks nothing like the old model. The two-tiered design has two 12.3-inch displays encased in a handcrafted piano-wood housing. One of the screens is for the instrument cluster that mimics the old analog gauges or a modern, text-based display. It even features an analog clock similar to the ones in the Beetle 1303. The door cards’ design draws inspiration from the Porsche 911.

The new car can sit up to four people in the sporty bucket seats, handcrafted by Germany’s “most experienced upholsterer.” Despite the glaring changes, there are no additional buttons, switches or controls, a nod to the iconic interior design of the original Beetle.

The list of standard features includes USB and USB-C ports, wireless charging, a 220V outlet, various touch controls, and a nine-speaker audio system. The advanced infotainment system increases the human perception of bass frequencies for a fuller audio experience. Driver aids include automatic wipers, electronic and speed-sensitive power steering, auto high and low beams, eight parking sensors, a dual camera, as well as Milivié app controls.

The Milivié 1 shows how restomods or iconic car revivals should be done. PHOTO FROM MILIVIÉ

For the engine, the Milivié 1 has a 2.28-liter, air-cooled flat-four based on the original magnesium/aluminum block. Twin Weber carburetors are responsible for fuel delivery.

No performance figures were provided, but the power the engine produces will be transmitted to the wheels via a ZF four-speed automatic transmission, which has three drive modes: Drive, Sports and Manual. Stopping power is provided by six-piston front and four-piston rear disc brakes.

Milivié will make only 22 samples of the car, starting at around €570,000 (P32.4 million). Interested parties can now vie for a slot in the very limited run of the car through the Milivié concierge commissioning process.

The first unit will be delivered around July 2023. The production run will then end as the final unit is made and delivered by May 2025. Isn’t it ironic that a car made for the masses has been resurrected for only a selected few?

Red Santiago

A jack of all trades, Red is passionate about cars, motorcycles and audio. He sometimes drives for a ride-hailing app company—just because he really loves driving.