Let’s all pause for a moment and give Jay a huge thanks for his dedication and research on this topic. -Eric Shoemaker, 1967beetle.com.
The question has reared its ugly head periodically and always seems to be in the back of everyone’s mind—and especially the minds of those who own 1967 Beetles.
Were there two styles of Rear Bumper Over Riders for 1967 Beetles or Only One?
My pat answer has been to review the decklid (engine compartment lid) information. The decklid changed for 1967, in conjunction with the new rear apron style. The decklid was widened at the latching end.
In order to accommodate this widened lid, the rear bumper over riders also were altered—reducing the height of the two inner “legs” and, at the same time, gently sloping these two shortened “legs”. The change is so slight that if a person did not look carefully, he might not notice the difference.
But…the question remains: did all 1967 Beetles sport this new bumper style?
In my various communications, I finally came up against two authorities whose testimony I could not dispute.
James Kraus, who worked at a Dealership in the late 1960s, asserted that he saw ’67 Beetles with both styles of the over riders. Further, he comments that it was late into the production when he saw the new, sloping style for the first time. At first, he comments, he thought that the bumper had been damaged in a collision. Upon closer inspection, he discovered that the over riders intentionally had been formed from the factory.
David Brown was trained by Volkswagen to manage the Parts Division in Dealerships where he worked. Dave managed to save the replacement pages that regularly came to the Parts Managers so that, even today, he retains a complete set of Parts Manuals for Volkswagens–second to none.
Dave notes that “Volkswagen never superceded the early style (of bumper over rider) and both were available as of 1983 but gone completely by my 1997 Price Book. “
This means that a car owner could obtain (at least in theory) either of the over rider styles until, in practicality, Volkswagen ceased selling vintage Beetle parts.
He continues, saying, “There are definitely two rear bumper bow styles for 1967. The tube was reshaped on the inner curve to ‘cut the corner’ and thus give the engine lid more room. The change was made at Chassis Number 117-171-365 The uprights (outer legs) remained the same (as they had been). I see no other bumper changes at that Chassis Number. You can sure see the difference once you compare the two.”
At last…a defining moment emerges. The records demonstrate that at Chassis Number 117-171-365, the new over rider was introduced to accommodate the new decklid.
At first glance, it would appear that the previous 171,364 1967 Beetles produced sported the earlier style of over riders. Problem solved and case closed. Right?
Dave further elaborates by telling us that production figures are complicated by the fact that Type I included Karmann Ghias—which shared the Beetle Chassis. At some point in their manufacture, the Ghia Chassis were routed to the Osnabruck assembly plant to be united with their bodies while Beetle Sedan Chassis went to the Wolfsburg plant. So, we cannot conclude that all previous 171,364 chassis produced went towards the ’67 Beetle production number.
He continues: “You’d have to break out the US cars as well as any other country that used the over riders ( M-Code107 ) as original production. The 171,364 is a tiny number compared to the year’s production…by December’s end (1966) they were at 431,603. So it seems that most ‘67s had the later style as original.”
James Kraus points out to those of us who would use Volkswagen Literature to try to prove our points, that, “…Relying on old brochures and period photos is a good resource, but has limitations. VW and Porsche materials were often quite sketchy in this regard and the annually airbrushed VWoA materials probably the worst of all (except for the Volkswagen Weathervane, the very reliable VWoA in-house newsletter). A good example: look at the ’67 VWoA double-fold brochure; inside is a photo of a red Beetle onto which they airbrushed in the ’67 deck lid, Volkswagen script and reversing lamps, but still visible is the pre-’65 engine lid T-handle latch!”
I believe that these factors bring us to an agreeable conclusion. Yes—both over riders were factory production and both styles certainly were available as replacement bows when needed.
We also must conclude that only a limited number of 1967 Beetles sporting the earlier style of bow ever reached USA Dealerships.
Of this limited number, we must conclude that few would be left by today, given normal attrition rates, including accidents after which the newer style of bumper might have been installed, owners who wanted the newer style and who purchased and installed them, and so on. Many of us may even have changed what were factory early bumpers, mistakenly believing that in our car’s history, someone had installed an earlier bumper or early over riders by necessity.
If your ’67 Beetle has a VIN higher than 117-171-365 and its rear bumper has the earlier over riders, it should have the later style as a matter of record. If it does not…we can conclude only that something disturbed the status quo. Some of us can “be at peace”, understanding that years of maintenance have disturbed many features of our beloved Beetles. Others of us, on the other hand, may continue to search for those elusive sloped over riders. The challenge of the search drives us!
- James Kraus, of Los Angeles, now in his 60s, first took notice of Volkswagens at age 13. Later, he worked at a Volkswagen Dealership in the Make-Ready Department. James has collected and maintains a museum-load of VW Literature.
- David Brown, of Pennsylvania, was trained by Volkswagen of America to work in their Parts Department. After working for VW for some years, he established his own VW business and worked at it for the next 30 years. Now in his 70s, Dave continues to distribute information and to sell his mass of accumulated VW parts.
- James Anderson, of Wylie, TX, has been an aficionado of Volkswagens since his teen years. Now a family man, he still enjoys working with them. James is in the final stages of restoring a 1967 Zenith Blue Beetle. I chose to use his photograph of the rear bumper of his Zenith because it so adequately demonstrates the restyled over rider.
- Early Left Rear Bow is 113 707 385
Restyled Left Rear Bow is 113 707 385 A
- Early Right Rear Bow is 113 707 386
Restyled Right Rear Bow is 113 707 386 A