Another fantastic ’67 Beetle for the world to see. 88,000 original miles; wow. If you own any vert, you know Chuck. Thanks, Jay for helping me pull this one together. What would 1967beetle.com do without him?
It was 1979 in Corona Del Mar California. I had been buying, “fixing-up” and selling VW Convertibles for 7 years ( the market always had been strong there). I had purchased many from other States for $100’s and sold them in Southern California for $1000’s.…..when, one day I was sitting at a stop light. A Black ‘67 Convertible Beetle turned left in front of me! I thought:
“This would be “The Ultimate ‘67”!
I thought that I knew all of the VW convertibles in town! I made a quick U turn, when traffic passed, but could not find the ‘67.
Two weeks later, I again saw it…..going the opposite direction. Another U turn and, like the last time, it was nowhere to be found.
A few weeks later, it popped up in our local paper:
“1967 VW Convertible black with red interior 78K miles $1975”
Well, I was the first one there to look at it since it was only 6 blocks from my house. It was owned by my mail man!
After a test drive and listening to the owner giving directions to 2 more people wanting to come see it, I bought it on the spot. That was 38 years ago.
Since then, I have done a few things to the ’67. I’ve repainted the exterior and replaced the original torn and faded early-style seat covers (they were rice grain centers with smooth sides). We hand-made these using the original seat covers as patterns. I rebuilt the engine using NOS 1500 pistons and cylinders from the local VW dealer. And, of course, I restored the top, using the early style with chromed brass trim which I purchased from a Dealer in 1980!
Over the years, I have located NOS correct sun visors, chrome top locks, interior mirror, German hub caps and beauty rings, SB 12 headlight rings, Hella lenses and door handles—just to name a few things which I’ve done to the car.
Once again, our hats are off to the mighty Jay Salser for his dedication to 1967beetle.com. Each article is hand crafted with passion and attention to detail. The Waller Family Nor Cal Treffen journey is a fantastic read. Go, Ron & Diane. – ES
Ron and Diane Waller of Phoenix, Arizona not only are loyal Readers of 1967beetle.com, Ron has contributed several articles to the Site. Earlier this year, the Wallers decided to drive their 1967 Lotus White Beetle with many other air-cooled Volkswagens on the 19th Annual Treffen Border-to-Border Cruise. Their Journal memorializes the notable trip from Washington State to the tip of California. Drive along with them as they revive that feel-of-the-road Volkswagen experience.
Treffen #19, 2017 Journal
About four years ago, my wife, Diane, and I heard about the “Border to Border” Treffen. Treffen is the German word for trip or journey. Little did we know the word also could be used for “adventure,” because indeed it was!
Treffen starts in Port Angeles, Washington, and cruises down the coast on Highway One or U.S. 101. It lasts ten days and finishes at Border Field State Park at the Mexican Border. This was the 19th year for the event. Total mileage is 1,700. We decided it was something we had to do. From that point every decision we made concerning work on the car was made with Treffen in mind.
One of our major concerns was how “laid back” the trip was. The only requirement was an “air cooled VW.” There was no registration or fees. You came and went as you wanted. Being a very organized “Type A” personality, that was a real challenge for me.
We also decided to ask our best friends, Dan and Becky Lehman to accompany us. They have a beautiful 1971 Super Beetle. Needless to say, a great deal of planning and effort went into this adventure. First, we decided to ship the car to the starting point of the cruise. If you have shipped a car you know the anxiety that goes into this! The car left Phoenix three days before the start of our trip, which would begin on July 20. We had it delivered to Vancouver, WA, in time for our first Treffen day. When we left Phoenix, the temperature was 106. In Oregon it was 70! We had great weather the entire trip. The only rain we saw was in Arizona on the drive home! Our little Lotus White 1967 Beetle had 5,070 miles on the odometer when we left Vancouver.
Day 1 – Friday, July 21
We drove from Vancouver to Astoria, Oregon, along the Columbia River. This first leg was just over 90 miles. We crossed the Columbia River on the four-mile-long Astoria-Megler Bridge over the Columbia River. It is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America. Our first meeting of “the group” was in Astoria for dinner. Not knowing who or what to expect we all wore some type of VW shirt. It also was the first time we met “Buck” and “Andre” who were the contacts and leaders of the trip. They did an outstanding job. At some points there were over fifty cars on the road, a very impressive sight. Herding the group and keeping it together was not an easy task. It made for a few heart-stopping moments!
Powder coating produces a surface which is very durable and tough. Surfaces which have been powder coated also tend to look good for years. Powder coated surfaces are easily cleaned, making it especially popular for that reason.
However, there is a growing list of indications that powder coating is not the cure-all that it might appear to be.
What I am going to say here is cautionary. I do not yet have enough data that would allow me to say definitively that a person never should use powder coating on his vintage vehicle.
I have watched powder coating become increasingly popular over the years—especially with the vintage vehicle crowd. Chassis, engine tins, rims and seat frames and more. What’s not to like about a coating which protects and which looks so good!
My first indication of a problem came when a company powder coated a friend’s VW engine tins, including the crank and generator pulleys. The coating company failed to mask the shaft orifices, resulting in reduced shaft hole diameters in both pulleys. The coating had to be reamed from orifices so that the pulleys could be installed. This was not an easy task! And, it is difficult to remove the coating without doing some damage to the steel during the process.
Shortly, we noticed that fan belts were being chewed up at a rapid rate. After examination, this deterioration was found to be due to the powder coating in the Vs of both pulleys. Powder coating is not a paint—it often is described as “plastic”. Powder coatings are based on polymer resin systems. Under certain conditions, such as the chafing of the V belt in our illustration, enough friction can result to destroy the belt. In short order, my friend was replacing V belts, having to keep a keen eye to avoid getting caught with a destroyed belt. I rescued him on one occasion when he was caught out on the road at night in his Beetle.
The next time I heard about a powder coating problem was from the owner of a ’67 Beetle. Walter complained of stripped threads in the brake drums. At first he blamed the “cheap” Brazilian brake drums. But, the VW Community has been using Brazilian drums for many, many years without significant problems. Walter’s mechanic even blamed VW rims as being defective, which is unfounded, of course.
Then, it was revealed that Walter had had his rims powder coated.
An Internet search revealed a similar problem with powder-coated steel wheels on a particular model of farm machinery. The report talked about the need for metal-to-metal contact. The torquing of the securing bolts on powder coated surfaces, according to the report, “… is like using a plastic washer under the nut. Plastics creep under load and the nut will loosen”.
Walter and I discussed how he could rectify the problem with his rims. He used a Dremel tool fitted with a grinder to remove the powder coating. This allowed the lug bolt shoulders to torque against raw metal. Later, Walter wrote this: “Since we last spoke I did a more thorough job of removing the powder coating from the bolt holes using a power drill and conical grinder. This was a definite improvement over the Dremel I used first. I then took several trips of 40+ miles, each time following up with a check of the bolts with a torque wrench. So far there has been no loosening of the bolts.”
Not long following Walter’s incident, I received notice from a second person who had a wheel come completely off his 1962 Convertible Beetle. When I asked if the rims had been powder coated, the immediate and emphatic reply was “Yes”. The owner discovered that lug bolts on the other wheels also had loosened. In a follow-up message, the owner revealed that he had removed all wheels and had removed the powder coating where each lug bolt seats.
With these cases under my belt, I decided to interview a powder coating expert. The owner of the company took time to explain the process. He showed me special tape which is used to cover areas where powder coating should not be applied. He also explained that bolt holes, for example, should be plugged so that threads would not be compromised with the coating. He showed me special plugs for the purpose. He indicated that a knowledgeable powder coating company will take necessary precautions to protect areas of concern.
The same day, I spoke with a professional who owns a Volkswagen Formula V fabrication and machine shop. He told me of further concerns about the use of powder coating on vintage vehicles. Since each part which has been coated must pass through an oven during the process, certain parts, such as bearings, bushings, rubber parts, etc., must be removed in order that they not be damaged. Temperatures can reach 400 degreesF and higher, depending upon the application.
This professional told me that VW front axle beams are especially vulnerable to the heating process. He said that the bushings can loosen, resulting in the need to machine special bushings with set screws to hold them in place.
He then told me that should there be a necessary repair to a powder coated chassis, it is very difficult to remove the coating so that welding can be accomplished.