This is an extended version of the story that was originally featured on Big Blue’s Online Carburetor.
Hi. I’m Eric Shoemaker. I created 1967beetle.com. Amanda Shoemaker helps with programming, photography, and writing. Timm Eubanks is a contributing SoCal photographer. Many other great folks around the world contribute their ’67 restoration stories.
The photo above is my grandfather and me. He gave me the ’67 and purchased it new. I love him dearly, and my restoration efforts reflect the passion I have for these old cars. Here’s a bit of background on myself and 1967beetle.com.
How long have you been into vintage Volkswagens? When did it become an obsession?
About 8 years. To get a better idea of the infant stages, read my ’67 restoration story. I can’t say it’s an “obsession.” Ok, it might be… My good friend Timm and I call it the “VW sickness.” It’s just something I’ve become very passionate about. I’ve worked as a visual designer / art director for the last 11 years. Over the last 7, I’ve been working on my ’67. During that time, I fell in love with creating real tangible objects and working with my hands. I’m obsessed with small details and the idea of bringing something old back to its former glory. I’m even offering restoration services on a few one year only parts for the ’67 Volkswagen Beetle.
You established the #vintagevw hashtag on Twitter. How does the online community matter to the Volkswagen community as a whole?
The web is just another medium; a place where people can share their content, stories and ideas. It’s an amazing distribution vehicle and has made it a lot easier to find NOS parts. It’s also given companies a business platform where they are able to offer services with a global reach. I’d never have found Vintage Werks, Wolfsburg West, Buggy House, Old VWs Restoration, Chris Vallone, Ron Bengry, or any of these other great folks if not for the web. Lastly, I’ve been able to connect with SO many fantastic enthusiasts. The VW community is a breed all their own; always willing to lend a hand, advice, or even NOS parts. Not too long ago a box with free NOS German Hella tail light lenses showed up at my door. (Thank you!)
The #VintageVW hashtag seemed like a good (fun) idea to tag content on a social level. It’s grown organically. Little by little, more people are starting to use it who are sharing vintage Volkswagen related content. I’ve even seen it on Instagram.
Why vintage Volkswagens? Why not vintage Volvos or old Jeeps?
It just happened. As I might have mentioned in the history article, my grandfather purchased the ’67 new. I have fond memories of riding around with him as a child. When I first got the car, I had no intentions of doing a restoration. The interest and passion came out of pure necessity to keep the car on the road. Bobby at Advanced VW in Decatur, GA rebuilt the engine. After that, I’ve tried to learn as much as possible myself. Little by little, it became somewhat clear that I’m actually pretty good with my hands. The connection between visual design and restoration is there for sure. For any issues I can’t handle, Sean and the good folks at The Buggy House are always there to help. Ron Bengry at Wolfsburg West has become a good friend and fantastic resource for ’67 parts knowledge over the years.
I take a lot of pride in knowing that my grandfather’s old Volkswagen was very close to being sent to a junkyard, and I saved it with my own two hands.
You seem to have lucked out in owning what many think is the best year for a VW Beetle. We all agree about what makes VWs great, but name one thing you wish the VW designers had designed differently?
I’d say all the one year only parts that have been really hard to find. I do believe that the Beetle is a brilliant example of design done well. It is the “longest-running and most-manufactured automobile of a single design platform.”
So, you have the ’67 and are known for that. Any plans for another vintage Volkswagen anytime soon?
My wife, Amanda, and I often joke about the idea of a bus. Currently, I have more than enough to keep me busy with the ’67. We’ll see.
What would you like to accomplish with your website and Volkswagen communication in the next year?
I’d love 1967beetle.com to become a true resource for people who are aiming to do a stock restoration on a ’67 Beetle. I’m a firm believer that the continuation of great content can achieve this. The bigger idea behind the site is to connect ’67 Beetle owners globally. Most importantly, I’d love to find a way to combine my visual design, marketing, and vintage Volkswagen restoration skills into something fulltime.
How can you be reached?
You can find my contact info here.