Jay Salser Posts

Bob O’Haus’s L639 Zenith Blue ’67 Beetle

Thank you for your edits, Jay! It’s an honor to connect with so many ’67 Beetle enthusiast around the world.

I had a few air-cooled VWs as a young driver but I transferred to the water-cooled VW models later in life. About 4 years ago, I decided to get back into air-cooled VWs after seeing Vince Vespe’s beautiful ‘65 Karmann Ghia at a local car show in Ridgewood, NJ. Vince was great to talk to. He introduced me to another air-cooled guy attending the show. That was Chris Vallone, of Classic VW BuGs in Congers, NY. Talking to these guys had me hooked.

I searched the web regularly and learned as much as I could. My goal at the time was to get a Bug from around 1965 up to maybe 1972. I was not for or against any specific style, but I knew I liked a lot of aspects of Bugs from those years.

I came across my 1967 Bug on the Samba and though I always favored the unique features of ‘67s, this one was out of my price range, so I never bothered to call about it. Unfortunately, the Bugs I felt I could afford were less than desirable. I began to wonder if that ‘67 was still available.

Though it was not listed on the Samba anymore, I had the contact info on my PC . I gave the guy a call. It still was for sale! My wife and I immediately made an appointment to drive to Massachusetts from our home in New Jersey to have a look. Four hours up and four hours back was a breeze in my GTI.

The car was everything the owner advertised. After a drive and some good negotiations from my wife, we struck a deal. The owner was a very cool guy. Besides the ‘67 Bug I bought, he currently was building a beautiful air cooled beach buggy in one section of his barn. While showing us that, he told us that he was an engineer on a wooden sailing ship that took college students as crew on semester-long trips around the world. He went on to point out many interesting parts of his home, both inside and out, including pieces which he obtained in far off places and had incorporated into his remodeling projects. Fascinating.

Of course, I asked how he found this ‘67 Bug. He told me that with his job, he has periods of vacation time that last for months. A few years earlier, he had traveled to California, bought an old air-cooled Bug, had brakes and tune up done, then spent a few weeks of his vacation driving it home to Massachusetts. Once he got it home, he sold it. He said that it was such an enjoyable and relaxing way to travel and see the country that he did it again for the next few summers–buying Bugs in Arizona and California, because they tended to be less rusty and much easier to sell here in the rusty Northeast.

He told me that he bought this particular ‘67 Beetle from the original owner in San Francisco. The original owner had had the Bug restored about 10 years earlier. It sat in the garage for most of the time before the man’s son decided to use it to commute to college. During this time, the car was vandalized in a parking lot and the repairs were not up to the standard of the original restoration. Rather than to redo the whole restoration, the original owner decided to sell the Bug.

That’s when the man from Massachusetts bought the ‘67, had the brakes done, installed new tires, tuned the engine, then took the next 3 weeks to drive the ‘67 Beetle all the way home from San Francisco, with his daughter as the copilot. He told me that the car performed perfectly for the entire trip and that it was a great experience for his daughter to get a chance to slow her pace of travel to 55 MPH and learn to drive an old car with extra care in braking and merging on to highways. It had to be a lot of fun.

1967 Volkswagen Beetle — The People’s Car

Great story, Jay. They don’t call it the “People’s Car” for nothing. It’s these emotional tales between human and old machine that connect us all. As always, thank you so much for your contributions to 1967beetle.com.

Have you heard someone talking about his first car? There’s a certain nostalgia attached to that first automobile—no matter what make of vehicle it might be.

But the stories abound when it happened to be a Volkswagen. And, when it happened to have been a Beetle—a 1967 Beetle…..well, the story just gets bigger right there!

While surfing around the web, I happened upon a video which embodied the best of Worlds—that first car, which, as it happened, turned out to have been a 1967 Ruby Red Beetle.

That’s when the members of a family went underground to produce the birthday present of a lifetime, to surprise a husband, father and grandfather.

1967 Vintage Volkswagen Beetle Z-Bar Update

Russ Keller, a reader and good friend of 1967beetle.com sent the following information with photos to back up his studied position. His thesis called for “loading” the Z-Bar by altering the travel space at the bottom end of each Operating Rod. With the space filled, the Rods are “loaded”. They are not “waiting” for a “loading moment” when the Z-Bar will be activated.

Russ Keller says:

Because the Z-Bar was active only in harder turning as an anti-sway, it was too little too late.

On our ’67, we engaged the Z-Bar all of the time by installing a polyurethane bushing to take up the 2 inch slack prior to engagement. In this way it was always ready in play and we didn’t have the delay in rear suspension stiffness when needed. It was there right away and really improved the cornering and over-steer. Here are a few pictures we took when we installed the z-bar bushings. It was a cheap and easy improvement and the urethane came in black so it matched the look. It was a big improvement for little $$.

After a few hard test drives we experimented with the length of the test bushing.

Because we bought an extra long piece of the hollow material from McMaster-Carr, we could cut test samples. These ranged from 3 1/2″ down to 2″.

The 2″ was the pick by the drivers–my son, “VW Gary” (Gary Drennen from Gary’s Aircooled Service) and me. As I remember, since the 2″ bushing did not quite fill the space on the Operating Rod, that little bit of “slop” prevented the back (of the car) from feeling springy or bouncy. Springy is a technical term of art…..”Federnd” in the original German.”

Thank you, Russ, for sharing your experiment with us!

1967 Vintage Volkswagen Beetle Z-Bar


Jay Salser does it again, folks. Many many ’67 Beetle owners around the world appreciate the fruits of your labor. – ES

At some point, I accumulated some Z-Bar (Equalizer Spring) Components. I decided to sort these and at least learn their Names and Part Numbers. There’s not much future in calling parts—“the thing-a-ma-jig”. You get the picture.

I know that a lot of 1967 Owners won’t be excited by all of this, but there are some who enjoy knowing about the “minutia” of their cars. For those—I decided to post the information which I have accumulated. Thanks to David Brown, I have been able to acquire those VW Part Numbers which I could not find on my own. And, Neva Salser whipped out her Digital and snapped a multitude of photos from which to choose some for this exercise.

Note: The Z-Bar continued into the 1968 Production Year for 1968 Beetles so that the Z-Bar is not a one-year-only part.

In Europe, the Z-Bar took a different configuration. Also, somewhere in there, the replacement for the Z-Bar with which we are familiar was superceded by the one in the photo below.

Challenges of Vintage Car Ownership

Challenges of Vintage Car Ownership

An older article we wanted to put in the spotlight again, as we’ve been receiving a lot of emails on this topic.

Before I knew “Jonesie” (not his real name), he had purchased a Beetle which, by all logic, should have gone to the crusher. Never had he revived a car, much less a Bug. But, he had disassembled the car, removed the body from the chassis and proceeded to cut and weld and renew the car.

By the time we had met and become better acquainted, he was driving the vehicle but experiencing some major difficulties due to poor advice which he had received and some poor workmanship from a shop which rebuilt his engine and did some front end work.

I took Jonesie under consideration and introduced him to a bonafide VW mechanic and engine builder. Almost immediately the mechanic identified some of the problems. Together, we began solving and drawing the car out of its slump. It was gratifying to see Jonesie driving and enjoying his car. He talked about it, joined a local club, went on cruises and even was joined by his wife in his forays onto the highways.

I wasn’t surprised when he asked for help to build an authentic engine for his year of Beetle. After considerable expense, he soon was cruising with an engine to-kill-for—a real German engine from ring gear to crank pulley.

When he talked to me some months later and announced that he was selling his Beetle and all of his VW things, I was shocked. He told me that he had experienced a problem with his speedometer. Then, there was some other minor problem. These distractions bothered him and resulted in his disenchantment with a vintage vehicle. He plainly told me that he had not expected these things to happen. Clearly he was under the impression that once “restored”, the car was going to run without a hitch.

His has not been the first case I have observed! A person spends thousands of dollars and countless hours laboring to “get it right” only to have little stuff happen—usually when it is least expected and least appreciated—in terms of money, time and inconvenience!

I am a diehard VW fan who doesn’t like break-downs and other mechanical distractions, but I am in there for the long haul! I never have been under any delusion that a restored vintage car is going to be like a brand new car off the assembly line. Nothing is going to work exactly as it did in those days long past. Never!

In an article in the September-October, 2014 Saturday Evening Post, Jeanne Wolf interviewed Jay Leno—known the World ‘round for his vintage car collection and now-famous garage (pp.38-41 and 82). When but a boy, Jay was given a ’34 Ford Pickup to work on. His dad told him that if he could fix it, he could have it. Jay met the challenge and eventually had the truck running. He said about that first challenge: “You sort of learned to respect the machine and how to make it work. That’s probably what really got me into cars. And that’s what has kept me involved in creating my own collection and building the garage.”