I have spent a lot of my life researching and chasing cars. One of my deep passions has been the Volkswagen, and through my travels and business I have developed a fair bit of knowledge of the brand. Its not often that a VW model pops up that I have never heard of, but like with anything, there is always something new to learn. The model I am going to share here with you is one that not many have heard of and even fewer have ever seen. Im speaking of the Moto Torino Beetle.
This upcoming March 8-10th the esteemed Amelia Island Concours is taking place in Florida and as a part of a special display this year, they have welcomed a selection of Coachbuilt bodied VWs to show on the lawn. In the promotion for the event early on, there was a call out to try to find the odd VW based car above. The Frua VW. The tale goes that this custom VW was built in Turin Italy and was imported to Florida through the VW / Porsche dealer Hubert Brundage. Brundage Motors was well established in the area as a major player and Im sure the goal was to offer the Frua to US customers, but unfortunately this didnt come to pass. More details on the Frua and the Concours can be found here (https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2018/09/27/2019-amelia-island-concours-to-feature-coachbuilt-vws-can-you-help-it-solve-a-mystery/
If you look in the background of the photo above, you can see the hind quarters of a Beetle...but not an ordinary Beetle. What is peeking out in the background there is non other than the Moto Torino VW, that is said to have been built in Torino Italy. The connection of the car to Brundage is unclear at the moment, but when I saw this photo pop up in the article above, I knew it was the same car.
There is very little known about the Moto Torino, but photos of it have been publicized in a few VW books and magazines in the past. I remember seeing it in a book on VW Cabriolets back in the 1990;s but very little else. A google search brings up this lone photo above and nothing else.
About 12 years ago I received a call from a gentleman in Florida that told me he had a special Beetle. When he sent me the photos of it I was blown away. There it was, the Moto Torino. We spoke on the phone and exchanged emails endlessly and the puzzle pieces all fit together. While there is still a bit of shroud of mystery as to how the car ended up in Florida, the image at the top of the page suggests that Brundage was involved, and if the Moto Torino still exists today, then there is hope for the Frua as well.
The Moto Torino when it surfaced was a shocker to me, and I was pleased to handle the sale of such a historic car, and it now resides in a notable collection in England. During the transaction I never saw it up close, but a few years back I had a chance to see it up close and personal. Its a beautifully done car and it is in excellent hands. Is there anything out there that can further connect the dots between the Moto Torino and the Frua, or perhaps some insight on the Brundage connection? Please do contact us with any further information. Oh...and check out the Amelia Island Concours to see some of the best and rarest coachbuilt VWs on earth. https://www.ameliaconcours.org/