Curbside Outtake: 1966 VW Beetle & 1977 GAU-8 Avenger – VW Week Parting Shot

This is an image that’s been floating around the interwebs for a while, but I couldn’t resist using it as one last “parting shot” for VW Week (I missed the weekend fun here at CC, helping Son Number One with some out-of-town car and house repairs). The General Electric GAU-8 Avenger is the primary weapons system around which the Fairchild Republic A-10 Warthog is designed, and it weighs 4,029 pounds (1,828 kg) fully armed – that’s 2-1/3 times the weight of the pictured Beetle.

The GAU-8 generates about 10,000 pounds-force (45 kN) in recoil (that’s more than one of the A-10’s engines produces in thrust!) and current versions fire 3,900 RPM (rounds per minute), typically limited to short bursts. For comparison, the 1966 Beetle’s 1300cc engine makes an enthusiastic 50 hp (gross) and 69 ft. lb. of torque at 2,900 RPM, and can run full throttle all day long. Approximately 715 Avengers were manufactured, and it’s still in service in the A-10 today. A whopping, 1,168,146 copies of the 1966 Beetle (CC here) were made, and I suspect quite a few of those are still in service, too.