Jay Salser Posts

Lela Strysky’s L518 Java Green ’67 Beetle

The story of Lela’s 1967 L518 Java Green Beetle begins over 40 years ago. For years, my wife has endured stories of my family’s collection of VWs, including my first car, a 1970 Sumatra Green Deluxe Transporter passed down through the family. I rebuilt the engine in the basement using “The Idiot Book”. I learned to “be one” with my VW like John Muir says… she’s heard them all.

The last story about that Bus involved a NYC taxi cab, which lead to stories about my 2nd car, a ‘76 Senegal Red Transporter that I sold for $500 out of college because “who knew what they would be worth”, etc. Lots of stories and she patiently listened to me tell them.

Well, it turns out that Lela has her own stories of vintage VWs, which I found out last year when she got behind the wheel of my recently purchased ‘71 Westy and drove it like a champ! Not a stumble or hiccup! It turns out that, even though she owned many classic muscle cars back in her day (Lela can identify the year and model Classic Mustangs in her sleep), Lela learned to drive stick shift in her mom’s late ‘60s/ early ‘70s Karmann Ghia and Beetle! Now that we had two vintage VW drivers in the family, we decided that we would try to find a Beetle for Lela so that we could enjoy the air-cooled lifestyle together.

So Lela began to research what year and features she was looking for in her new Beetle. As we took the Bus to more and more shows, we began to see what the different years of Beetles offered. Going to vintage VW shows and gatherings is a great way to see what you are looking for and NOT looking for in a car: stock survivor, stock restored, resto mod, slammed–even filthy buggers! We saw many different Beetles and spoke with many different people at the shows.

Lela decided that she wanted a Beetle with an all metal dash, pop-out windows and a sunroof rather than ragtop. A good friend of ours, Gregg, told Lela to look for a ‘67 — last year of the all metal dash, first year of 12 volt system and a very collectible year due to its one-year-only parts. Our VW friends, Bill and June, happen to have two of those: a Sedan, owned by Bill, from new, and also a Convertible, named “June’s Bug”. Beautiful cars!

So Lela started her search and, of course, the first place she looked was 1967beetle.com. This is an awesome site because all the information is collected in one place. For those starting to search “1967 VW Beetle” it’s hard to pass by a site named “1967beetle.com!”

Lela was looking for a driver – a car she could enjoy regularly without worrying about a nick here or chip there, with sunroof and pop-outs. Mechanically and cosmetically good, not a show car, but if we wanted to, we could do a restoration. Easy!

One thing that Eric tells readers of the site is not to jump at the first car you see. I cannot stress enough what a great piece of advice this is. One of the candidates Lela found was a reasonably priced L282 Lotus White Beetle that looked great on the surface, but after looking closer, with Eric’s help, we discovered several items that were not correct for a 1967 Beetle. For another year this may have been OK, but given the collectability of a ‘67 beetle, Lela was looking for a “correct” car and this one wasn’t. The search continued to an L633 Blue Beetle in New Hampshire that looked great but the owner had an interested party that was due to return. Sure enough, he did. A Ruby Red Sunroof with pop-outs in Maryland had an owner that wasn’t too forthcoming. Several other cars came and went and, just as things looked grim, Lela found Chad with his L518 Java Green Beetle with sunroof, and factory pop-outs! Less than two hours away!

Kenneth Yeo of Singapore’s ’67 Beetle

Kenneth Yeo, our 1967 Beetle Friend in Singapore, recently announced that he has married. We send our Best Wishes to both Ken and his New Wife of a month.

See the following two Links for background on Ken:

Kenneth Yeo’s ’67 Beetle

Kenneth Yeo’s ’67 Beetle

As a gift upon the 50th Birthday of the 1967 Beetle, Ken’s then-fiancee gave him a gift of a photo-shoot of Ken’s wonderful Beetle


’67 Beetle – Interior Rear View Mirror Mystery

Over time, I’m learning never to say never and never to say always—when it comes to some of the knotty problems which we of the 1967 Beetle Community confront. Oh, yes—a lot of the time there WILL be an explanation for what appears to be a radical problem. But—what about those other situations which seemingly have no quick answers? Hummmmm!

The latest paradox arose when Eric copied me with a message which he received from Reader Justin Heath. Justin said:

“Hi Eric, It’s been a while since I’ve asked you about some ‘67 trivia. I’ve recently acquired an American spec Right Hand Drive (RHD) ‘67 Beetle. Unusual? It seems so… Very cool story about its travels. I’ll get into that later. But first, I wanted to ask about the ‘67 Rear View Mirror. I know that some ‘67 Rear Views had their stems painted black and the mirror head had a black plastic backing. Was this for the entire run of ‘67 VINs? Or (let’s say) did early ‘67s come with the chrome-stem/aluminum-head Rear View? Finally… is the black/black Rear View Mirror ‘67 only, or did that style continue into 1968?

I went to your “One Year Only” section on the website but saw no mention of the Rear View Mirror. Thanks! Justin Heath”

After some initial exchanges, Justin added:

“When I acquired the car, the owner claimed he was the fourth owner and the car came with some detailed history. It was shipped to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) from the Factory, then spent time in Malaysia and Indonesia before coming to Nor-Cal around 1980. It was originally owned by a college professor.”

During the brief research I’ve done, I’ve been told that there were a few select RHD markets that had the option of either Euro or American Spec ‘67s. Thailand and possibly Japan being just two that were named. I have no idea how to confirm this….but it makes for fun head-scratching moments.

I asked about the Mirror because I’ve seen the black/black ‘67 Mirror on more than one occasion. In my case, this RHD Bug was in need of a Rear View Mirror since the one it came with was bad. I found a RHD black/black Rear View on eBay UK, so I bought it. Knowing how hard it is to find RHD parts in the US, I jumped on it regardless of its color…it was for RHD!”

Hella SB-12 Headlight Rings

Along with the many other interesting things about the 1967 Volkswagen Beetle are the Head Light Rings Engraved with Hella SB-12. The SB-12s first were used by Volkswagen on Type 3s—the FastBacks and SquareBacks which came to US Dealerships.

Then for reasons unknown to us today, Volkswagen decided to install these special Head Light Rings on early ’67 Beetles—only those manufactured from August–October of 1966. The validation of this information has taken many years of checking the VINs of original, unrestored ‘67s which had SB-12s installed.

If you want to check to see when your ‘67 Beetle was manufactured, go here.

You also will be able to check your Engine H0 Case Serial Number to see how close it is to your VIN.

In today’s world, you will find SB-12s installed on a lot of ‘67 Bugs no matter what month the car was manufactured. Unless you are a purest, it really doesn’t matter if they came with the car, or not. They are very cool to have installed and finding a good set these days is getting harder all the time.

As we all are aware, Volkswagen made a lot of Beetles. However, the ’67 Beetle is the milestone year sought by collectors. It has been said that you either love or hate ‘67s. It really depends on how many of those one-year-only parts are already on the car when you acquire it and how many you have to chase down.

The bottom line is–if you have SB-12s on your ‘67 and it is an early ’67, great. If you have them installed on a later ‘67, enjoy them, because they are not easy to find these days and that is one of the first things folks look for when they are checking out a ‘67.

James Mitchell’s L456 Ruby Red ’67 Beetle

My first experience with 1967 Volkswagens was as a kid in the early ‘70s. My Dad got a Navy-colored Sunroof ‘67 Beetle from a friend. It had been rolled down a mountain, but it still ran and drove, even though every panel on it was in ruin.

Dad then picked up a Sunroof ‘64 that had experienced an engine fire. His plan was to swap the ‘67 motor into the ‘64, but he never got around to it. Me and my siblings played in those cars for years until some neighborhood teenager bought them for parts. My 1967 VW brings back many fond memories—I still remember that cool wooden Formula Vee shift knob Dad’s Bug had.

I had been looking for an older Bug for a while when this one came up for sale about 75 miles away. Rust-free Bugs are hard to come by on the East Coast but supposedly this was a West Coast car. The original Owner’s Manual showed service stamps from VW dealers in CA and OR, and there was a CA college parking sticker on the rear window, which helped to confirm her origin.

She was super solid underneath, and although shabby, she did run, drove well, and was fairly complete. The previous owner (PO) had just replaced the transaxle with one out of a ‘67 Ghia, and mentioned that the clutch was sloppy and needed adjustment. When I got it home it turned out the real problem was the clutch cable tube which had broken free inside of the tunnel at all three welds. But with a bit of careful welding and fabrication of new mounts, I was able to fix it, and she now shifts as good as new. I asked the PO to include the original transaxle in the sale. I now suspect that nothing was wrong with it as the clutch cable tube may have been the root of the problem Maybe one day I’ll get it back in.

The engine ran “ok” when I bought it, and the heads under the valve covers were very clean (which indicated a low mileage motor), but she really lacked power. I found that her distributor was allowing only 12 degrees of maximum advance, so I swapped it for a new one with electronic ignition that gave 25 degrees advance, all before 2700 rpm. I also found that the throttle cable was allowing only 2/3 of the required travel, so that was adjusted too. The carb jetting also was very lean, especially for having a header, so I rejetted the carb with fatter jets, performed a complete tune up and adjusted the valves.