’67 Beetle Door Locking Mechanism

Door Locking Mechanism
A customer recently contacted 1967beetle.com. Eric asked that I field the inquiry; it was in Spanish!

Yes, I still can make some head-way in Spanish. And, it just so happened that this customer lives in Colombia, South America—a place where Neva and I lived for 14 years! Like “going home”.

I breathed deeply, then lit into a reply to Padre Santiago, the proud owner of a 1967 Beetle; yes, these trusty little cars are to be found the world over!

The trouble stemmed from a faulty driver’s door locking mechanism. Padre Santiago had purchased a reproduction ’68-and-later door mechanism that is supposed to work for the ’67 door too, “after a slight alteration”. After attempts failed to produce a reliable mechanism, the Padre turned to 1967beetle.com.

I replied, saying that I would do my best to locate a working mechanism and thanked the Padre for his patience in advance. Thus began a journey that would take me in a completely unexpected direction. Join me, if you will.

My first attempt to find the mechanism was to a local shop, known for carrying many door parts. This yielded not a thing. Next, I called my good friends, Dustin and Cassie Carter at Don’s Bug Barn in Athens, Texas.

“Yes,” Dustin told me, “I most certainly can supply the necessary piece!” Great—a hurdle jumped.

When the piece arrived, Dustin already had done a lot of cleaning. I let the piece sit in a bucket of old-school carb cleaner for a couple of hours, retrieved it, washed the piece and dried it thoroughly. Sparkling!

I sat at my work bench operating the mechanism to observe the function. After some lubrication, I had all parts loosened and moving. However, the “claw” which grasps the post on the B pillar would not release.

I spent a couple of 30 minute sessions just operating the mechanism to learn how it works.

Original German Volkswagen Parts

Original German PartsI’d just like to take a moment to mention a recent find for our own ’67 Beetle. We were able to source an original ’67 Beetle dash grab handle, complete with box. Part number 151-857-641-C.

Are you in need of original German parts? Let us know. We’re now sourcing parts from all over the world, and are more than happy to help you find that finishing touch for your restoration project.

Chris Vallone — Classic VW Bugs

Chris Vallone — Classic VW Bugs
A follow up to an earlier interview we did during the infant stages of 1967beetle.com; our good pal Chris Vallone of Classic VW Bugs in NY. You can either watch the video or read the edited down transcript below. Edited by the legendary Jay Salser.

Happy 2015, Chris. Tell us where you are currently in your business.
The business is doing extremely well. 2014 was a banner year for us, the best year since we started 8 years ago working from a one car garage. We are involved in 16 clientele projects right now and are at a 2.5-3 year wait list to build.

How has your business grown over the years?
We have grown to a global following. We just passed the 5 million views mark on YouTube, and the Website Sports, about 2-3 million hits a month. I still answer about 2-4 hours of fan mail everyday. Web 2.0 and Social Networking has been great to us.

How has the business changed?
Well like everything, you get better with age! You learn the ins and outs and all the nooks and crannies of the VW Beetle. You know what makes them tick, and how better to put them together. Our intricate level of detail keeps getting better and better. Each Bug I do is better restored than the last. You just keep living it, learning it, and getting better at it. It shows in our work, and, as time goes on, more and more people are interested in having us to restore a Bug for them. I also learned how to pace and log my time. Time is money, so you learn how to estimate how long jobs are going to be, whether it is an interior or a motor build. I have become an even better business man through these years.

How many projects are you currently working on?
We presently have 16 projects–half are Build-A-BuG, the other half is Find-A-BuG.

So… you still are doing the Build-A-BuG Program?
Yes, we still are on Build-A-BuG, but we have removed the “driver quality” restorations. We do only High End Show-piece/Museum-quality Bugs.

Tell us about the Find-A-BuG Program.
Find-A-BuG is where I find a somewhat already restored Beetle for a client. This is for a client who either can’t afford a Build-A-BuG, or who does not want to wait the 2-3 years to have one restored. We find a car that already is painted, but which needs to be assembled or even fully restored. We take it into the shop, make the changes that are required for the customer, if they want any changes. We fully inspect the car and make it roadworthy and turnkey–without any issues.

A Vintage Volkswagen Wedding

A Vintage Volkswagen WeddingLet’s be honest, I really don’t let anyone drive our ’67 Beetle. If you also own one of these gems, you understand my VW sickness. However, when our great friends Mike and Paula asked if it could be a part of their wedding, I felt very honored. And, what better a way to compliment a beautiful bride than a ’67 Beetle. Congrats again, guys!

Photographer: Tanja Lippert

Larry Heugatter’s ’67 Beetle

Larry Heugatter's ’67 BeetleI bought this car in 1970 as a high school student in Houston, Texas for $900 (my life savings), sparking a love affair over 44 years and 300,000+ miles. In about 2002 the poor Bug was vandalized – hood and roof stomped in, and turned over on its side. Not having funds to repair it and unwilling to part with it, I placed it in storage for almost 10 years.

Meanwhile, Mike Aiello entered the picture as co-artisan of candles and products sold in my wife’s shop. Serendipitously, Mike is also an auto customizer and restorationist. After my wife helped to get their products in other stores, Mike hugely returned the favor by taking on a three-year restoration project on the VW. His work was nearly miraculous, bringing an extremely rusty and squashed Bug back to pristine, like-new condition.

I am forever indebted to Mike for truly making a dream come true, and am quoted as saying, “If you want to believe in angels but don’t know what one looks like – (pointing) right there…. Mikey.