Tips Posts

What Makes a Vintage Volkswagen?

We’ve discussed what makes a Volkswagen a 1967 Beetle. When Eric began, he had in mind to memorialize the Model Year 1967. We’d all probably agree with him—that’s why we are here, right?!

This week a Reader wrote to Eric (and Eric copied to me) that he recently attended a VW event. He drove his unrestored but completely original ’67 Beetle to the show—not necessarily looking to win an award but just to mingle with the VW Community. He made a pointed observation that cars which were original seemed not draw the attention of the judges. In fact, judges appeared to be drawn to Volkswagens which had been altered in some fashion. The three of us batted this back and forth through our e-mails.

I had made a similar point to Eric, a while back, that I had seen the same thing. Highly modified VWs and those which are more weird seem to attract the attention of the crowd and the judges. In some cases there will be an award even for the most altered or worst vehicle!

At every show, I see absolutely stunning restorations which seem to go unnoticed.

I can appreciate that owners have ideas about what they want to do with their cars. They are the ones who drive them. Who am I to criticize or to dictate how they should use something for which they have paid their hard-earned dough.

Even the most “conservative” of us seem to have something to add to our Beetles—mud flaps, bud vase, and the list goes on and on. These things were not original equipment. But, what I’m discussing has to do with alterations to a car which changes that vehicle’s “nature”. In more and more cases, it would cost so much money to return such a car to original specs that it would prove to be unfeasible to attempt. Such a car is “lost” as far as the Collector Community is concerned.

But, here’s my point. Love me or not…I believe that rewarding alterations to these cars sponsors further alterations. It’s only natural that if people see how the judging goes, they will want to follow suit. At subsequent shows, more and more altered cars will appear, hoping to gain favor and status. From my perspective, I see a downward spiral to a species which is becoming more scarce.

Vintage Volkswagen Beetle — Buyer’s Guide

Although not ’67 Beetle specific, this video has some interesting points. One makes me laugh, which is the comment about getting the “best parts”. This Beetle clearly has cheap aftermarket replacement bumpers. It really amazes me so many cars are marketed as high end restorations when they clearly are not. I digress.

When buying a Volkswagen Beetle there are a few things you will want to check before the purchase. In this buyers guide Rob Sass addresses some important things you should know about owning a beetle things such as checking for rust and the availability of replacement parts.

Happy Friday!

The Correct ’67 Beetle Wiper Blades

Not long ago I was with some others who have the “VW Habit”. We got to discussing the color of wiper blade holders. The ones on my ’67 were black—not kosher, you might say. One of the group spoke up and, with a sarcastic nudge, directed us to his car with silver wiper blade holders.

“What?” I gasped. “Where did you find those?”

After we had examined the blade holders sufficiently long, our friend finally confessed that he had managed to paint them to the correct color by masking the rubber blade. He did a great job of it!

A person, whose name I shall not breathe, but whose initials are Eric Shoemaker, kept on my case about my non-conforming wiper blades.

Finally, I gave in and Lane Russell provided me with the correct wiper blades.

In the cool of this morning, I installed my new, correct wiper blades. Don’t they look good?

’67 Beetle Idle Cut-off Valve

If your Deluxe 1967 Beetle has a 30 Pict-1, VW 105-1 carburetor, you will have noticed, as in photograph #1, a little “canister” protruding from the passenger’s side, right at the generator. If you have not noticed this “canister” maybe yours has been replaced by a simple brass jet.

Volkswagen called this “canister” the Pilot Jet Valve. Today, it is called variously, although most people call it the Cut-off Valve or Idle Cut-off Valve.

Volkswagen carburetors have a brass jet which is called the Idle Jet. When the car is not in motion, for instance, the accelerator pedal is not being pushed. But we want the engine to continue to run so that when we are ready to start moving, the engine will be ready for that operation. The idle drilling draws gas, using vacuum, to keep the carburetor feeding some gasoline/air mixture to the engine—enough to keep it running at low rpms for us. The brass jet usually is marked g55 for many Beetle carburetors over the years.

The cars of yester-year sometimes had a tendency to “diesel”—that is, to continue running after the key was turned off. The Volkswagen was no different. Probably most of us have experienced this problem at one time or another. A VW mechanic tells me that dieseling could be due to a leaky gasket or a high fuel level or pressure. Such conditions would cause fuel to continue to feed through the idle port and cause the engine to run—usually very jerkily—ka-Chug-a–ka-Chug-a….

Undercoating Vintage Volkswagens

Undercoating Vintage Volkswagens

Digging in the archives here at, we wanted to put this article in the spotlight once again.

Foreword: Rather than to address “undercoating” as a general topic of discussion, I’ve tried to keep the focus upon undercoating as it related to Volkswagens through 1979 and as it relates, now, to the vintage Volkswagen hobby.

Undercoating has around for years and years in the world of vintage Volkswagens.

The theory behind undercoatings is that a barrier could be created to prevent the infiltration of moisture. Undercoatings themselves had no rust-inhibitive qualities. They simply have been intended as a barrier.

VW dealerships sold the service to new car buyers as a preventative measure to guard against rust. It was a money-making operation and dealers loved it. Especially was it offered in the colder climate States and especially where salt was used on icy roadways.

Recently, I spoke with a former VW trained specialist. He described the undercoating procedure as he observed it. He said that the dealership where he worked had one bay with a lift, “in a dark corner”, where the “nasty” undercoating took place. He told me that it was part of a money-making effort by dealerships in the make-ready department. Undercoating was applied using a hose and gun working from a 30 gallon barrel of material.

I have had my doubts over the years about its effectiveness in sealing the undersides of a vehicle as a moisture barrier. Here’s why. I was in the painting industry for almost 30 years. If there is a coating, I likely have seen it or read about it. In my experience, despite all claims to the contrary, coatings will fail. There is no “eternal” coating. I’ve heard claims that “you’ll never have to paint again”. Why can’t this be true?

Undercoating Vintage Volkswagens

It can’t be true because of expansion-and-contraction problems. When the base material—wood, metal, plastic—expands or contracts, the coating is going to suffer, eventually. Some coatings are better suited than others. But the fact of the matter is that coatings fail.

Metals, especially, are given to fluctuations from heat and cold. They will expand and contract more, and more quickly, reacting to weather and usage conditions.

What’s another problem? It’s the fact that the underside of a vehicle is not a continuous sheet of metal. Not at all. The undersides of vehicles are composed of pieces that have been fitted to form a unit. This could be through a continuous weld or spot-welding or with nuts and bolts and washers. There are joints. Every place where there is a weld or a nuts-and-bolts joint, expansion rates will differ.

As well, the application of undercoatings must completely encase all of this in order to form a viable covering—it must be seamless. This doesn’t happen.

The next issue is that undercoatings historically were shot onto factory painted surfaces. In order for a coating to adhere, there must be the possibility of adhesion. Slick surfaces will not offer such adhesion possibilities. As a result, I have been able to remove portions of undercoatings on Volkswagens simply by using compressed air. Sometimes, I have been able to remove it in sheets, simply because of the lack of adhesion. I can imagine that vibration over the years helps to loosen poorly adhered coatings.