From age 7 onwards, our daughter, Janeva Salser-Sulman, knew few cars other than Volkswagens. As time passed, she “graduated” from passenger status to assistant mechanic, helping with bleeding the brakes, fetching tools and many other tasks related to maintaining our fleet of Volkswagens. In high school, she learned to drive the stick-shift Beetles, got her license and completed her high school and college years all the while driving one of them. It wasn’t until she had to appear at work in full office attire that she quit the VWs in favor of an air conditioned “alternate vehicle” in order to combat the broiling Texas Summers. Here’s a memory which she wrote and posted to me late last year.
Spring 1987 – I was a senior in high school – Daddy was just finishing this car. He had bought it and restored it, painting engine parts, replacing the interior – it was restored inside and out – a SPARKLING RED beauty of a car, and we dubbed it “Cherry Cheeks”.
All of our cars had names that fit their character. We had the “Red Baron” who flew across the country on long trips, fighting heat and cold and faithfully carrying 4 passengers and a dog. We had “Friendly”, whose speedometer loved to make noise at about 40 miles an hour, until “he” became demented on a trip to Ft. Worth, screaming so wildly, that Momma pulled off the side of the road and detached the cable from the dial to mute the poor beast. Funny that we never named the Ghia that you see in the reflection – that car is another story.
Lug Bolts often are incorrectly called “nuts”. For the 1967 Beetles these bolts are 12mm X 1.50 thread with a 9mm head.
Over-tightening the lug bolts not uncommonly results in stripped drum threads. Or, perhaps it is just the years of loosening and retightening the steel bolts that eventually wears the soft cast iron threads.
Once the threads in a drum hole have been stripped, the car should not be driven. The lack of one lug bolt can bring about failure of the remaining bolts due to the undue stress placed upon them.
An obvious solution is to buy a new drum. But, as with many other Volkswagen Beetle situations, there is a good solution which will save that drum!
But, first, let’s talk about some tools which will make this job possible. If you don’t own the tools which we will discuss, or don’t want to own them, you may be able to find a shop or VW friend to do this repair for you. My VW friends and I have found it difficult to locate a shop with the proper tools to do this job.
Do you believe in “genetic tendencies”? If you don’t, perhaps it’s time to rethink your position.
Beth Leverman, who is in the process of restoring her 1967 Beetle, may be all of the proof that we need to prove our case!
Recently, Beth’s father produced a photo of his wife and the two Leverman young boys. Although Beth’s father cannot recall exactly which year it might have been, the Beetle appears to be a 1965.
Beth has done some major work to the front sheet metal of her ‘67. She has obtained, among other parts, genuine German front fenders to replace those after-market ones. She even has been taking night courses at a local college to learn automotive body and painting skills. You give this girl a torch and she is going to cut-and-weld!
Don Carter appeared to be just an ordinary citizen in the Heart of Texas. But the acquisition of a single Volkswagen-based vehicle propelled him into the spotlight over the next 30 something years.
Upon purchasing that vehicle, Don found that he needed some parts. What better way to obtain the parts than to buy—yet another Volkswagen. And another. And, yet another.
The passion for Volkswagening grew. Don had a piece of land outside Athens, Texas, on Highway 175. Upon that land, he began to tinker with the cars—first gingerly, then more and more. Eventually he hired a succession of mechanics to run what would become Don’s Bug Barn.
Don even built two race cars—one a Karmann Ghia and the other, a Beetle. He raced at Ennis, Texas, where a quarter mile track drew enthusiasts from all over Texas and elsewhere. He raced the likes of THE Gene Berg and came in—second. Which was a thrill of its own—just to be able to say that he had raced one of the best and come out second.
A few months ago my wife Diane and I decided I should start looking for a “retirement” project, which is a couple of years away. We discussed several ideas, but finally decided on a Volkswagen.
During my younger days in California, I owned a 1960 and a 1968. My wife, Diane owned a 1971 and in 1972 I bought a new flat windshield Super Beetle ($2,552.00), which we kept for 14 years. My brother Mark, who still lives in California has been restoring beetles and Porsche for years and his expertise came in very handy. He looked at some potential cars, but all fit into the “project” category. I am not a mechanic, I only break things and can’t fix them!
Since I did not want a project car, I started looking for a solid car that would also be a good daily commuter. I wanted something that I could get into and fix as my time and expertise improved. We were very fortunate to come across this car, which was exactly what we were looking for. We purchased the car in Mesa, Arizona.