I grew up in Van Nuys, California. My first car was a 1958 VW Beetle that I learned to drive in, and that my father passed along to me in about 1967. This sparked my interest in VW Bugs, which evolved into a love of bathtub Porsches. I became aware, in 1968 and 1969, how US auto safety regulations made VW change such details of their cars as the bumpers, the dashboard, the knobs and seats, etc. I didn’t like those changes then, and still don’t now. I formulated that the 1967 Beetle was the pinnacle of VW Bug development, reaching perfection in all its details, and only going downhill after that.
The 58 Bug moved along and a very stock Lotus White ‘67 Sedan became my daily driver, through my early working years in Los Angeles. Several 356 Porsches passed through my hands in the 1970s and ‘80s, after kids came along. At the same time, I remained a big fan of the 1967 VW, often times driving down to Irvine, in Orange County, for the annual Bug-In Shows. I always had an eye out for clean, stock-looking ‘67 Bugs to admire. I remember one Bug-In Show where there were matching ‘67 Cabriolets for sale, one light blue, and the other beige, in as-new, never-sold condition. I think they were priced around $5500 each, which was way out of my league for a Beetle. All I could do was drool over those two examples.
In the ‘70s and ‘80s the VW Beetle was ubiquitous in Southern California. Bugs in every sort of condition were everywhere you looked. But Convertibles were not often seen. Since I was a big fan of Drop-top 356 Porsches, I naturally sought a Drop-top ‘67 VW bug. But I seldom saw one, until one day in 1979 when I spied one scruffy-looking, but in my favorite color, Lotus White, with old black and yellow plates, in a driveway of a home just a few miles from where I lived in Granada Hills, California. I knocked on the door of the house, and asked the young woman who answered if I could buy the VW in her driveway. She said “Yes!” But then she explained that the engine was worn out and needed replacing. I could see that the top was torn, and the fenders banged up. But the paint appeared to be original, as did the worn interior. A look under the car revealed a dry solid pan and a well-oiled engine. I made a deal then and there to buy the car for $675.
I soon figured out that I had bought my Cabriolet from the daughter of the original owner, as the sales invoice copy was in the Crest Motors Inc. owner’s blue vinyl booklet in the glove box. I found the warranty and maintenance service stamp pages as well as some past service receipts. Crest Motors VW was in Escondido, California, a little north of San Diego. That’s where the first owner lived, before moving to the San Fernando Valley and apparently passing the car to his daughter.