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Bill Hernquist’s Bitchin Class 5

Baja Bugs have been a part of offroading and offroad racing since the beginning. Since the late 60’s the Baja Bug has had its place in offroad. With the VW Beetle being cheap and plentiful it was easy enough to convert these these cars for offroading in your driveway with a few friends, a few beers and a little mechanical knowledge. A very capable, go anywhere vehicle, it was the UTV of its day.

As with everything else lots has changed for Baja Bugs over the years. Now what you see out on race courses are full blown race cars purpose built to battle any terrain thrown at it. State of the art machines such as Bill Hernquist’s new class 5.

Hernquist has a long history with Class 5, racing Baja Bugs since the 80’s. He’s been through the progression of the class to what it is today. His latest rig leaves nothing desired.

Bill Hernquist running his old Class 5 at NORRA Mexican 1000 – Photo: Bink Designs
The old and the new.

Chassis: Chassis built by Curry Race Cars with design features by John Marking, Finished by Paul Mischel, Racer Services. 4130 Chromoly – TIG welded.
Weight: 2650 lbs.
Wheelbase: 105″
Engine: 2.4DI Ecotec – CBM Performance
Cooling: CBR Dual Row/Pass Radiator with dual SPAL fans and internal oil heat exchanger
Exhaust: Custom Stainless Steel, 4 into 1 Equal Length by Ilk Design & Fab.
Plumbing: Brown and Miller Racing Solutions by Paul Mischel at Racer Services
Transmission: Mendeola S5 by McDowel Performance
Axles: ProAm 934 CVs, ProAm Gun Drilled Axles, AGM CV Savers
Brakes: ProAm
Fuel Cell: 34 Gal Harmon with Fuel Mats
Tires: General Tire Grabber X3s
Wheels: Method 101
Body: 1960 VW Convertible (Original German Steel- not BS Fiberglass)
Front Suspension: Fodrill 4” King Kong Arms, Fodrill King Kong Spindles – 3” Drop with Billet Spindle, ProAm Hubs with 4 Piston ProAm Calipers.
Rear Suspension: Curry 30” trailing arms. ProAm OutBoard Full Floating Hubs with4 Piston ProAm Calipers. Fox Bump Stops.
Shocks: Front: Custom Fox 12” 2.0 C/O and 2.0 Bypass. Rear: Custom Fox 16” 3.0 5 tube Bypass and 2.5” C/O. Eibach Springs
Suspension Tuning: John Marking – Fox Shocks
Steering: Howe 2.5” Diablo Power Rack with integrated control valve.
Wiring: MilSpec by Mark the Wiring Guy in Santee.
Lights: Baja Designs LEDs
Communication: Kenwood 50w Radio, PCI Intercom
Seats: Mastercraft
Safety: Hostyle nets, and bags. AGM jack
Additional Features: Paul Mischel at Racer Services built and preps the car.

We asked Bill about why he decided to build another class 5. “This car was built as a result of the renewed interest in Class 5 due to the ability to run modern water-cooled motors.” Said Hernquist. “Thanks in large part to racers like Drew Belk, Zac Reisch, Dustin Grabowski, and the Class 5 Coalition and my desire to race with my son, Trey and Rick Ellison.” 

Trey Hernquist and Austin Ashe at RATR. Photo: Bob Bowers/SevenTwoImages

“After successfully campaigning my restored 1982 Frisk/Jimco in the past 6 NORRAs with a great group of friends, I was “re-hooked” on Class 5.  The car was built to maintain the “old school” Class 5 look but incorporate all of the technology to compete and win. Many people confuse it for the Jimco I raced in the early 1990s, but although it may look similar, its vastly improved. Thanks to John Marking and Mike Julson who donated their experience and design skills.  Curry to being open to building the car designed by Marking and Julson, on time and under budget.  Paul Mischel at Racer Services who has the expertise and desire to work out and through every issue to make this car safe, fast and reliable.  My Wife, Kathryn, my family and sponsors that support me – General Tire, Schaeffer’s Oil, Salty Crew, Fox Shocks, Baja Designs, Method Race Wheels and Hostyle.”

Hernquist Motorsports T-Shirts are now available in the RDC online store!

Photos: GETSOMEphoto