Beetle Stories Posts

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]

Mark Massey’s L633 VW Blue ’67 Beetle

Another fantastic ’67 from our friend Mark Massey over at OldVWs Restoration. When speaking with Mark about the history of car, this is what he had to say.

Herman is a very early ’67 beetle (VIN #117002513). I purchased in December of 2002. Plans were to restore him someday, but during the winter 2006-2007 I really wanted to have a beetle to drive instead of my truck.  After doing some searching and coming up with nothing worthwhile I decided to use Herman.  I replaced his rocker panels and floors, put all new brakes in and gave him a tune-up.  Attention was played to rust proofing Herman and not worrying about looks.

A good heater system was also devised. Who says a bug heater doesn’t work if setup correct? One weekend in February 2007 we hit -14 below, my truck wouldn’t start, but Herman did.  He had no problem heating up his interior, sure it didn’t get hot inside, but it was comfortable considering it was -14 outside. The key to a good heater is German heater boxes and good air flow.

As of February 2012, I have put about 50,000 miles on Herman (total miles 173,456).  In addition to being driven all winter by myself he is also now driven all summer by my girlfriend. Last summer alone she racked up 12,000 miles on him.  Very little money has been put into Herman over the last 5 years. Herman represents what the beetle was built for, honest cheap reliable transportation.  He isn’t shinny and new, he is what he is and doesn’t pretend to be anymore.  For a 40 plus year old car Herman has done very well.

Bentley Jay Perkins L87 Pearl White ’67 Beetle

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It’s emails like these that make me realize just how many ’67 Beetles hold a special place in their owners hearts. Bentley’s story echoes many, as the vintage Volkswagen is a very unique car with an emotional connection to the past. We will keep searching around the world to bring these tales to 1967beetle.com. It’s a labor of love.

Hello to all the wonderful folks out there that read this. My name is Bentley Jay Perkins, proud owner of a leather-craft business run with my father and of course, an early 1967 Beetle!

Let me begin by introducing you to a vehicle that has no doubt been named many times in her past, but I like to refer to her as ‘Fluffy’ or ‘Fluff’ for short. First registered in the UK on 24th April 1967.

At the age of 17 I bought this wonderful example of a Beetle, having absolutely no knowledge as to how special the car I was purchasing was. Bought for the prize sum of £2050 with a last minute bid on Ebay I was in love immediately. Almost entirely original including her engine and paint she is now, from what I have been informed, worth a considerable amount more with the local Classic VW scene soaring and ’67 Split buses going for upwards of £25000 in mediocre condition I dare to even ask what this little bundle of joy is worth. (My insurance company would have a meltdown) So let the story of my past 8 years with her begin.

Atttention! Boy does she get some attention! My first ever event that I attended was by suggestion of a colleague 2 years after the initial purchase. I bumbled in expecting to see lots of other Beetles just like mine…. only to find, none of them did. Yes they were all Beetles, but none of them had that character that mine had. She seemed a tad wider, longer and more sleek looking than the others, I had different catches, rear lights and other items of small detail I started to pick out. It was only until people started approaching my general area and asking if she was ’67 I realised something must be special about the year.

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Let the research begin! Since then I have attended plenty of shows, while not always with Fluffy, I have always asked around to gain peoples inside knowledge of my cars year, gathering, resourcing and researching I have found a ton of information is accessible to us one year only owners, like this website as a prime example! My latest crusade is the unfortunate need to re-spray the original paint. Enter stage left – Eric, Jay and Chris whom I have been conversing with to find the correct paint for my bug. While Eric has also prompted me to do this small write up for 1967beetle.com.

Rick Quinn’s L620 Savanna Beige ’67 Beetle

Rick Quinn's L620 Savanna Beige ’67 Beetle

It’s emails like these that make me realize just how many ’67 Beetles hold a special place in their owners hearts. Rick’s story echoes many, as the vintage Volkswagen is a very unique car with an emotional connection to the past. We will keep searching around the world to bring these tales to 1967beetle.com. It’s a labor of love.

Hello, 1967beetle.com.

I stumbled across your web site quite by accident. I no longer own my ’67 bug, but I still remember it fondly as the best car I’ve ever had (and I’m an old guy, so that’s saying something). I bought it for $1,000 in 1976, drove it all over creation, and sold it, ten years and a quarter of a million miles later, for $1500. (Needless to say, I wish I hadn’t done that). I’m really happy to learn that there are people out there who still appreciate the elegant simplicity of those great little cars.

I have a couple of good beetle stories, if you’re interested. The first was a minor miracle: I was driving my bug from Phoenix to Tucson on Interstate 10, a divided road with two lanes in each direction. There was an 18 wheeler in the right lane, and I was almost done passing him on the left when he decided to change lanes–without checking his blind spot. He never even saw me, just ran me off onto the shoulder of the road. I was still doing 65 miles an hour, skittering along on dirt and loose gravel, fighting to hold it straight, when the turbulence from the passing truck sucked the light-weight beetle sideways, back into the traffic lane, right under his rear wheels. BAM! One more inch to the left, he would have hit the engine, and I really doubt if the car would have stayed in one piece. (Which wouldn’t have been too good for me, either). As it stood, there were multiple witnesses. Somebody chased down the trucker (who didn’t even know he’d hit me). And the trucker’s insurance paid to fix the car, good as new. (Which truly was a miracle).

VW Wreck-102-Dec '78