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.
Don’s son, Dustin, grew up in Volkswagens and even almost met his fate in one.
Over the next 30 years, cars accrued on at least two plots of land owned by Don. Over 300 of them.
Let’s fast-forward. Dustin now has been to college, gotten married and become a chef. Then, three years ago, Dustin and his wife, Cassie, decided to come to Don’s aid. Don had put on some years. He could no longer handle his properties.
Dustin rented equipment, moved all of the VWs from the one property, cleared and leveled it and moved all of the cars onto it in categories. Don’s Bug Barn was back in business!
Many of us know the thrill of visiting Don’s Bug Barn. And, thousands know about the Bug Barn because they have purchased parts from there—people around the Globe!
Always the loving son, Dustin cared for his father to the end, doing for Don what he could no longer do for himself. Dustin and Cassie were daily at Don’s side to be his hands and feet and his consolation.
I was privileged to know Don. Not long ago, he sat at our table and as we conversed, I saw a man who had a Volkswagener’s heart. You know what I mean—the gears were turning and Don was thinking of that next Volkswagen project!
And so… Don’s Bug Barn lives on. God rest your soul, Don Carter!