Michael Gaboriault’s L639 Zenith Blue ’67 Beetle


At the time I really wasn’t looking for another Beetle to restore. We were at the sea side in Mersin, Turkey, when my wife and I saw numerous cars going down this one street. We had nothing else to do–we were on vacation. We followed the cars and found that they were going to a restaurant. We decided to turn around and head back to the beach. We turned into a driveway, when, lo and behold, sitting right in front of us was a dark blue Beetle. We checked the plate, then asked a few people who owned it.

We got in touch with the owner. He was an older gentleman, about 70. He said that all of his kids learned to drive in it and that he was the second owner. The car had sat for many years, but he really didn’t want to sell it. After some talking and reassuring him that it would be in a good home and brought back to original condition, he agreed to sell it.

At the time we didn’t realize that it was a “One Year Only”. I had restored six VWs before: a ‘71 Fastback, a ‘69 Beetle, ‘71 and ‘72 Super Beetles and a ’65-912 Porsche. I also am working on a ‘65 Ghia. I had my brother-in-law to inspect the car more carefully. Based on the pictures he sent, at the time, it didn’t seem too bad. But like all older VW Bugs there are hidden issues. We paid for the car, did the registration, talked with the towing company and had it towed back to Adana, which is 1 hour north.

Once it arrived, I began to inspect and disassemble the car. As I was disassembling the car, some things just didn’t seem right for a Bug. I went to the Internet and discovered that it’s a “One Year Only”. The ‘71 Super Beetle I restored, also was a “One Year Only”. So I knew that finding original parts wasn’t going to be easy. Lucky for me I knew a few people back in the States whom I could email, text and/or call. They were able to provide me with original ‘67 parts. Like the generator, claw seat belts, etc.

Once the car was disassembled, we contacted a body shop, explaining that we wanted the car brought back to original condition, such as the original exterior color paint. We painted the interior off-white for an older style look. We found original bumpers here in Turkey, very rusted, but they cleaned up well. We replaced the entire wiring harness too.

While the body was off the car, both floor pans were replaced, as well as all new wheel bearings and brake components. We noticed that the driver’s side axle was longer than the passenger’s side. After much research we found that someone had installed a longer axle. We ordered a used axle from my friend Randy, owner of Sports Car in Colorado Springs.

Once it arrived via mail, we pulled the transmission and noticed that someone had stripped the studs. We had to Helicoil some in order to make it seat and seal correctly. Once that was repaired, we noticed that previous owners had drilled holes where holes were not supposed to be. Also the hood and decklid seal tracks were missing. We ordered those, as well as front and rear bumper bracket mounts. We also noticed that the decklid hinges were rusted and that the glove box was bent. Those, too, had to be ordered.

We now have the car completed and running great, getting a lot of looks and thumbs-up from locals.

Michael, thank you for taking time to relate the story of your ’67 Beetle. Who knew that you would discover this One-Year-Only car in Turkey!


The Finishing Touches for Your Vintage Volkswagen™
The Finishing Touches for Your Vintage Volkswagen™

Posted by Jay Salser

My wife, Neva, and I have been driving and working on VWs for over 41 years. In fact, we raised our family in these cars. Now, we are retired and enjoy VWs as a hobby. The ’67 Beetle always has been our favorite year. We own a '67 Beetle and a '68 Karmann Ghia.

  1. Editor’s Note: Rather than the interior being “painted” white, it is the upholstery, etc. which are white. I apologize for this error on my part. jay salser

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  2. Richard A. (Dick) Diaz October 8, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Michael your car looks awesome! Jay! I wondered about paining the interior white and you are allowed to say what you want because I believed you! Great story!

    Reply

  3. Michael gaboriault October 8, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    The interior wasn’t painted white it was replace as white original was black. Give the sun and temperatures here in Adana Turkey we did want to burn. It was really fun making the car, most of all it fun to drive.

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  4. Great work, Michael! Your VW is gorgeous. When you restore the Bug, you also revive all the memories—like the memories of all those kids learning to drive in it. I really enjoyed all of the “we noticed that…” moments (e.g. we “noticed that someone had stripped the studs”) and how you methodically corrected each issue. It’s a beaut!

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    1. Hi, Tom…I have not heard from you in some time. I hope that you and your family are doing well and that your 1967 BeetleS (plural) are, too. jay

      Reply

  5. Thanks, we really enjoyed building it. There were a lot more issues we found but too many to mention. We learned a lot about the “One Year Only” from Eric’s web page.

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