I received the email below from a fellow VW enthusiast in regards to German ’67 front fenders. I recently was able to find a pair myself and know it can take some time to find true VW of old quality.
“I thought it might be a good idea to let you know some of the history I have learned about ’67 front fenders and the location of the horn grilles.
I have a friend who has been a bodyman since the early 70′s. He is also a VW enthusiast who has owned several 67′s, as well as worked on countless examples over the years. He is still actively involved with the hobby and his expertise rivals Bill May’s.
During the ’70′s, VW’s supply of original style replacement fenders for the US ’67′s had ran out. VW did not go back, re-tool and stamp out more one-of-a-kind replacement fenders for reasons of economic sense. Too expensive and no projected payback.
During that time, VW also sold a basic or semi-standard Beetle in Europe. They had versions with 1200 and 1300cc. They also used the early blade bumpers to lower to cost. If we look at their front fenders, we see this…
As you can see, they used what looks like a US ’67 fender, but the horn grilles have been moved. They moved them for what he believes was to adapt them to the new aprons and bumper mounting changes. The cars were sold around the rest of the world up until at least ’72 in this configuration.
So what my friend tells me is that in the late ’70′s and beyond, if you went to the VW dealer to buy a Genuine VW replacement front fender for your US ’67, they sold you one of these Euro standard fenders. He has installed many of them himself during repairs to collisions and such. He is also conscientious enough to replace both of them to match when he did have to use them. The Euro cars had a much longer production run which of course would mean that there was a bigger/longer demand for replacement fenders thus justifying making more of them.
With that said, we can surmise that when the aftermarket responded to the need for replacements, they did not make a one-of-a-kind US ’67 front fender for the same reason VW didn’t, there would be inadequate demand to amortize the costs of production. They of course would have reproduced the Euro version of which had world-wide market and a much larger and longer term need for replacements.
So, what I tell people when I see these front fenders first off is that they have “replacement” fenders, and do not automatically tell them they are “reproductions”. That would need a closer inspection of the stamping, metal thickness etc to say for sure.
Just hoping to inform you and refine your knowledge a little.”
Thanks so much Bruce. I’m sure my readers will benefit from this knowledge as well.
Info on Larry Rick.
“Professional body/fender/collision repair man since 1976, specializing in VW and other European makes. Numerous stock Split Window and Vintage VW restorations, including top show winners featured in magazines.”