Thanks for sharing your story, Alex with 1967beetle.com! -ES
One of my earliest memories in life was eating pistachios and throwing the shells out the vent windows on my dad’s bug. I couldn’t tell you the year of that car, all I knew was that it was loud and it smelled like gas. But I suppose it lit a fire somewhere in my heart…
Fast forward to 2010, I was a sophomore in high school. I was at my great-uncles house for a family get together when my friend and I came across his neighbors abandoned field and property. On this property were 3 Volkswagen beetles, one of which was a green ’67 Beetle. All were thrashed and abused. People had stolen parts, busted windows and vandalized the cars. But the one that I fell in love with was the ’67. So I knew that’s what I wanted.
I had no contact information for the owner of the property at the time so I had no way of inquiring about the car. But I kept my love for VW’s several years after. When I was 20 I decided to save my money from a car wash I was working at and ended up finding my ’67 on Craigslist. It wasn’t Java Green, most of the one year only stuff was missing, it had a dual port, but I had to bring it home.
Through the next 2 years or so, making little over minimum wage, I didn’t have the money to have it professionally restored. What I did have was ambition and willingness to learn. I was fortunate to find a new job at a classic car dealership near the time I bought the bug, and there I was around people I could really learn from so I took advantage of that opportunity and taught myself to paint with their advice. I took on the project jumping in with both feet, if I didn’t know it, I learned it. I didn’t necessarily want a show car. I wanted a presentable driver. As I worked, I began to challenge myself to see just how well I could do if I really put my energy and care into the work I was doing, and looking back I’m glad I did. I still have a TON to learn with these cars, but it’s been an incredible journey with some lessons that really can’t be taught in a classroom.
When my great uncle passed away, his daughter found the neighbors contact information. I called and he brought me up to speed on the car that I had fallen in love with in the field several years earlier. He had wrecked it in the rain in 1994, bent the pan and shoved the axle shaft through the transaxle. It had been parked there ever since. He agreed that for one-hundred dollars, I could have everything I needed for my car off of that one, so I got a lot of my one year parts from him.
As it sits now, it is painted in L518 Java Green. I found a year correct motor elsewhere, rebuild it with my brother’s help and restored the tins and accessories. By the age of 23 this is what has become of my effort and passion for these cars, particularly the ‘67s.