Beetle Stories Posts

Ken Relethford’s L41 Black ’67 Beetle

Ken Relethford's '67 Beetle

This article was submitted by reader and ’67 enthusiast Ken Relethford. Thank you very much for your contributions to 1967beetle.com.

Hey, 1967beetle.com.
I parked next to a Porsche Speedster at the Encinitas car show last night. The owner of the body shop that painted it Jimmy at “Rancho Auto Body” is wiping it down for me in the photo below. I think the bug got more attention than the speedster.

I went a little overboard…The thing looks brand new…One hiccup on the headliner install, making them pull the rear window and redo it..They thought the carpet went right up to the rear window..Cant live with that.. (We don’t blame you!)

More photos to come. I have a pretty good collection of before during and afters..
Last item is the original wheels and white walls. We have done one for the spare for now, but will probably put some miles on these chrome moonies before changing out.

Cheers.
Ken Relethford.

Ken Relethford's '67 Beetle

Chris Vallone’s L518 Java Green ’67 Beetle

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Hello, ’67 Beetle community.
As we mentioned in an earlier thread, our good friend Chris Vallone over at Classic VW Bugs in NY has just finished restoring a ’67 Beetle. (Over 80 photos!) This car is a gem and we wanted to give it another showcase.  It’s even got an NOS correct rear bumper. Amazing!

This car was found in North NJ in mid 2012. It’s rock solid, and needed very little body work.  This is a numbers matching Body, Chassis, Motor, ’67 Beetle.

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Kevin Gabor’s L620 Savanna Beige ’67 Beetle

Another look back into the archives. There are so many great stories shared at 1967beetle.com about the one and only ’67 Beetle. Kevin’s car is a fantastic example.

Hello, my name is Kevin Gabor. The story of the ’67 beetle that I now own goes back to my high school years. When I was 17 starting my senior year, my Dad let me “co-own” his green ’71 VW beetle. For my entire senior year he would let me drive to and from work and school. This is the car that my Dad taught me to drive in. My wife Stephanie also drove a beetle to school – a ’66 off-white sun roof. She too learned to drive in her ’66 VW.

After I graduated high school in ’82, I went into the United States Air Force, Dad took possession back of the ’71 green beetle and sold it and by the time I came home from basic training.  I was bitten by the “bug” again and was soon looking for another VW beetle.  I sold a motorcycle (so glad I did that) and used the money to scour Fayetteville, North Carolina where I was stationed. I found a ’66 sea foam green VW beetle and paid $450 for it.  This was my daily driver for 8 years and was a slow project car – nickel and dime replacement parts here and there.

An interesting story with my ’66 bug was when my wife and I were driving it home from Chattanooga, TN to Fayetteville, NC. In the pouring rain, our already extremely slow 6 volt windshield wiper motor “died”. We had seen on TV that potatoes have basically the same water repelling properties as “Rain-X”. Around Atlanta we stopped and bought a handful of potatoes. For the next 400 miles while driving down the interstate in the pouring rain, we would lean out our windows every 20 minutes and wipe the windshield with a fresh slice of potato so we could see (and yes – it really works).

When I was leaving the Air Force in ’92 I sold the ’66 bug because I didn’t want the hassle of dragging a spare car all the way home to Chattanooga, TN. For 20 years I regretted selling the ’66 beetle. I had a spot in my heart for another VW beetle and since my wife too was a VW person convincing her that it was time to start seriously looking for another VW beetle was not hard to do. We both have fond memories of riding around together as teenagers in our VW beetles. I started seriously looking on Craig’s list for a VW – anything before a ’72 but preferably something  before ’68 was in my sights. She and I took a few road trips to check out a few VW beetle ads only to be disappointed in what we saw when we got there. We even drove from Chattanooga, TN, Atlanta, and Macon, GA; spent the night in a hotel to see a brown ’66 beetle the next morning – only to again be let down and to drive all the way back home – “beetle-less”. I kept looking on Craig’s list and spotted this beautiful ’67 Savannah beige beetle – I called the owner about the car/price but she was unwilling to budge on the price which I thought was a little steep. Now looking back I realize, a 45 year old VW beetle not needing a restoration job at all and probably 90 percent original in extremely good condition – the price was very reasonable. We drove about 50 miles to go see the car – and when we saw it, the “chemistry” began to happen- then we sat in it and it was like stepping back in time – the VW “smell” was there along with the interior and exterior that was completely unmolested and in excellent condition down to the Sapphire V AM radio. I fell in love with it. I made her an offer, she accepted and we drove it home mid May 2012. It now sits garaged and babied and it is by far my most favorite vehicle I’ve ever owned.

Gavin & Mary LaMaide’s L282 Lotus White ’67 Beetle

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Another fantastic story, Jay. Thank you for everything you do for 1967beetle.com and the ’67 Beetle community worldwide. -ES

Your story is both amazing and exciting. I find these stories of ’67 Beetles and their owners very intriguing. There are some very amazing situations that bring together people and cars and your story certainly bears evidence of that!

I gather from your latest reports that you are plenty satisfied with the way your car looks and how it performs. What influenced you to begin to show your Beetle?

My friend Tom, in Traverse City, MI, originally proposed the idea to start doing car shows last year. He has an ‘83 Olds Cutlas/Hurst 15th Anniversary Edition that he purchased new. It is immaculate and he has been showing it for years. I knew that my Beetle was not near to the standard of Tom’s car but we decided to give it a go anyway. I learned from a VW Festival that VW people, including me, are very forgiving and rather just appreciate these iconic cars as-is, bringing back fond memories.

I understand that there were prizes for winning cars at this first show? What were the criteria for winning?

Most of the shows in Michigan have several classes of competition. Chairman’s Choice, Best of Show, Top 20 or Peoples’ Choice, etc. Votes are cast by club members, judges, participants and/or spectators–or all the above. One never knows what may strike the fancy of the voters on any given day. I do believe from observation “criteria for winning” is grounded on the display you present to the viewers and their experience. Although every participant has great pride and passion for his vehicle, it’s the nostalgia which spectators remember about these cars that wins the day.

Given that your geographic location isn’t set for early spring-time weather, didn’t you find it a bit intimidating to enter your car in that first show? I know that many vintage car owners won’t take their cars out of the garage if the weather is not fully cooperative.

Yes, Tom and I did talk about the rain and cold we would experience during the first show (May 1st) and the “what if” plan. I never had driven my Beetle in the “driving rain” before this show and I was paranoid with regard to my electrical system. You are “spot on” with regard to weather and participant turnout. The usual 100 plus cars was down to 30 due to the weather. In any case, we had a great time and look forward to the 81st National Trout Festival Car show in 2017!

What did you learn from the first show that helped you as you prepared for the second one?

Ed & Janet Howle’s L633 VW Blue ’67 Beetle

Get Ready to Rally — Ed and Janet Howle

An older article featured here at 1967beetle.com. Jay and I recently exchanged a few emails with Janet, so I wanted to put this fantastic story in the spotlight once again.

Where do you go in your ’67 beetle? Cruise down to the mall… Maybe hit the beach? or maybe rally around the world….when you retire..! Meet Ed and Janet Howle who could give us all a run for our money and then do it all over again!!

We bought our VW Blue Type 1, 1967 Beetle, Stewball, with the hope that we could win The Great Race, an around-the-world antique car rally which was to start in NYC on February 12, 2008, and go west across the U.S. The cars would be shipped from San Francisco to China, and then cross China, Kazakhstan, Russia and, Europe. We would drive 14,000 miles before we ended in Paris. Great Race Inc. was offering a $1,000,000 purse. We were highly motivated. Why did this event start on February 12? Because this was 100 years to the day of the famous 1908 race which is still the only true car race from New York to Paris.

Why did we pick the 1967 VW Beetle? All rallies have somewhat different rules, but to enter this one, the car had to be at least 40 years old. Since the start was in February, the car would have to negotiate winter snow and ice both crossing the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. and similar conditions in Siberia. The Beetle with its rear engine and rear-wheel drive seemed like a good choice. In addition, the ‘67 has a 12 volt electrical system and a 1500 cc engine. I had owned three Type 1 VWs and two Karmann Ghias. During the competition, I would have to do most repairs and service myself. A fast car was not the goal, a reliable one was, this was a rally, an endurance time and distance precision event, with hidden check points, not a race.

From previous rallies I knew that preparation was the key to endurance driving. I had every system gone over by my VW guru, Bob Hicks of Hick’s VW Service in Durham, North Carolina who only services and repairs air-cooled VWs. I made several modifications which were allowed by Great Race. I replaced the engine with a 2005 new 1600 cc South American engine and added the required fire extinguisher. I took out the back seat, made boards to cover the floor and batteries and with Bob’s input assembled the spare parts I thought I might need. In the U.S. these parts are available new and I felt this was good money spent. My list included; carburetor, fuel pump, distributor, generator, plugs, fan belt, control cables, jacks, and tires. Each car had to carry a driver and navigator and everything we needed for the trip. Janet began to worry there would be no room for clothes and the other essentials to keep us groomed, civilized, and healthy. Jan also insisted on adding a porcelain flower vase to the dashboard in which she put a fresh flower every morning of the rally.

I made three other modifications. Great Race Inc. required a super accurate (expensive) rally speedometer. Fortunately it fit exactly in the space where my standard VW speedometer fit.

Dashboard with TimeWise speedometer]