Jay Salser Posts

’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.

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.

’67 Beetle Rear Bumper Over Riders


Let’s all pause for a moment and give Jay a huge thanks for his dedication and research on this topic. -Eric Shoemaker, 1967beetle.com.

The question has reared its ugly head periodically and always seems to be in the back of everyone’s mind—and especially the minds of those who own 1967 Beetles.

Were there two styles of Rear Bumper Over Riders for 1967 Beetles or Only One?

My pat answer has been to review the decklid (engine compartment lid) information. The decklid changed for 1967, in conjunction with the new rear apron style. The decklid was widened at the latching end.

In order to accommodate this widened lid, the rear bumper over riders also were altered—reducing the height of the two inner “legs” and, at the same time, gently sloping these two shortened “legs”. The change is so slight that if a person did not look carefully, he might not notice the difference.

'67 Beetle Rear Bumper Over Riders

But…the question remains: did all 1967 Beetles sport this new bumper style?

In my various communications, I finally came up against two authorities whose testimony I could not dispute.

James Kraus, who worked at a Dealership in the late 1960s, asserted that he saw ’67 Beetles with both styles of the over riders. Further, he comments that it was late into the production when he saw the new, sloping style for the first time. At first, he comments, he thought that the bumper had been damaged in a collision. Upon closer inspection, he discovered that the over riders intentionally had been formed from the factory.

David Brown was trained by Volkswagen to manage the Parts Division in Dealerships where he worked. Dave managed to save the replacement pages that regularly came to the Parts Managers so that, even today, he retains a complete set of Parts Manuals for Volkswagens–second to none.

Dave notes that “Volkswagen never superceded the early style (of bumper over rider) and both were available as of 1983 but gone completely by my 1997 Price Book. “

This means that a car owner could obtain (at least in theory) either of the over rider styles until, in practicality, Volkswagen ceased selling vintage Beetle parts.

He continues, saying, “There are definitely two rear bumper bow styles for 1967. The tube was reshaped on the inner curve to ‘cut the corner’ and thus give the engine lid more room. The change was made at Chassis Number 117-171-365 The uprights (outer legs) remained the same (as they had been). I see no other bumper changes at that Chassis Number. You can sure see the difference once you compare the two.”

At last…a defining moment emerges. The records demonstrate that at Chassis Number 117-171-365, the new over rider was introduced to accommodate the new decklid.

At first glance, it would appear that the previous 171,364 1967 Beetles produced sported the earlier style of over riders. Problem solved and case closed. Right?


Christmas Vintage Volkswagens

Christmas Vintage VolkswagensIt never has been our custom to decorate the exterior of our house during the Christmas Season. But…we always enjoyed the decorations which others lavished upon their homes across the Dallas, Texas area. We would jump into one of our VWs and head to the best well-known areas to drive slowly, uuuuhing and aaaahing over the brilliant displays.

One Christmas in the 1980s, the neighbor across the street from us telephoned to say that “Keith has just finished hanging the lights, y’all! Come outside to see them!”

My wife relayed the message to me and the children and we hurried outdoors to glory in the glow of scores of well-placed lights. We waved and shouted our congratulations, then retired to our quiet home. Suddenly I was struck by an inspiration!

I quickly rounded up the necessary things and went outside to the front of our house. Now, by this time in life, we had at least three Beetles and one Karmann Ghia parked at-the-ready in front of our house. I got into each and began moving them about. Finally, I had them parked as I had planned. Then, I set in motion my plan.

When I was done, I returned to the house and asked the wife and children to look outside. There was hooting and laughter after which Neva hurried to the phone to call the neighbors to tell them that OUR Christmas display was now completed…..that they should come out to see it. We convened in front of our house as the neighbors laughed over our Volkswagen Christmas display.

You see…once I had parked our VWs, I had turned on all of the hazard lights. They were blinking their message of Good Cheer to all who passed.

Vintage Volkswagen Clutch Repair

’67 Volkswagen Beetle — Tim Mossman's 1500 CC Engine Build
It was 1977 and I was driving a 1967 Black SunRoof Beetle with that awesome brick red interior. Oh, the car wasn’t in tip-top condition, but, it was all stock. I drove the car every day to and from work and elsewhere, while my wife ferried herself and the children in a second ’67 Ruby Red Beetle.

At the end of one long work day, I left the job and got into my Beetle. Funny thing. When I put in the clutch and attempted to start the car and shift into first, I could not get a gear—just a lot of grinding. Oh-oh! I thought. The clutch cable is gone. My brain went into over-load and information began to sift. Today, I’d say that my cerebral computer began a data search—but, in them days personal computers were uncommon to the masses.

I recalled about speed-shifting (at least that’s what I called it). This involves using the accelerator to generate movement, releasing the foot from the accelerator and quickly pulling or pushing the stick to get the next gear—all without the clutch pedal coming into play.

Only one problem: When the key is turned with the car in first gear, the car lurches forward.

I checked for traffic, pushed the lever into first, then turned the key—away we went!

Let off the gas and pull quickly into second. Hey—this was working fine. Now, I hoped for clear streets and few stop signs and stop lights. I was in Dallas afternoon rush traffic and had 15 miles to travel to get home. I plotted my trip as I drove, taking alternate streets where I knew there was less traffic and few stop lights, especially.

I sweated it to the outskirts of Dallas and pulled into Big Billy Barrett’s—the largest Volkswagen dealership in the area. When I obtained our VWs, it hadn’t taken long to become acquainted with the parts division at this dealership. I purchased a clutch cable, got into my trusty steed and made the remainder of the trip without incident.

I had a method for changing the clutch cable. I raised the driver’s rear, placed a jack stand beneath the car, removed that wheel and had instant access to the far end of the clutch cable. Vise grips were clipped onto the cable just before the clutch arm to keep the cable from twisting as the wing nut was unscrewed and then reinstalled when adjusting.

Next, the pedal cluster was removed. But, what to my wondering eye should appear but a crack at the base of the clutch pedal where it is pinned to the pedal cluster shaft. Besides a frayed clutch cable, the crack was opening when the pedal was depressed, allowing travel, but not effective travel. The pedal would bottom at the stop but wasn’t pulling the cable sufficiently to move the clutch! My problem immediately was compounded.