John Henshaw’s L456 Ruby Red ’67 Beetle

Thanks so much, John for sharing your story with 1967beetle.com. So many readers from all over the globe enjoy these unique tales of the one year only vintage VW Beetle. Did you know that you too can share? Simply contact us. – ES

My love for the 1967 VW Beetle goes all the way back to 1967, when I was a 13 year old boy growing up in the San Fernando Valley – where VW’s were abundant and the “new” 1967’s visual changes were very noticeable to a car kid like myself – especially from the rear. My friends and I were somewhat appalled at all the following year’s 1968 changes and immediately sensed the 1967’s were THE year to have for Volkswagens – even as a kid, back in the day! I always knew I had to have a 1967 Beetle some day, even though I had to wait a while..

My first VW was a brand NEW 1972 Super Beetle, in special edition Baja Champion SE trim. $2,333 total out the door. Loved that car, even though the factory metallic paint faded in less than 2 years! Traded it in for a used 1967 Porsche 911S in 1975, costing at the time a whopping $5,000! Dealer gave me $1,800 in trade for the ’72.. WOW!..Wish I still has that Porsche today! After getting in trouble with the ’67 911S, I regrettably sold it and drove various VW Type 3’s for a while then decided to buy myself the final year of the German built VW air cooled Beetle = the 1979 Convertible. I bought one off the “Downtown LA VW” dealership showroom floor, in May 1979 for $7,074. The refinements and engineering in this final year were beyond sublime!..but..I occasionally saw a white 1967 VW convertible driving around Venice that I actually would have preferred to have!

There is something completely “special” and esoteric about a 1967 VW convertible! I drove the new 1979 convertible for 3 wonderful years until my Porsche “lust” caught up with me again and I traded it in for a 1973 911T coupe at a VW dealership in downtown San Diego. This 911T led me on a 2 decade trek into owning and restoring 2 more Porsche 356’s, a 1963 356B Cabriolet, and a 1964 356SC Sunroof Coupe. Life in general tends to happen: kids, divorce, financial ups and downs, etc. so the Porsches eventually all had to be sold. Unfortunately for me, they were sold long before the current astronomical air cooled Porsche prices! Hahaha..oh well..Meanwhile, back in 1985 while fueling up my ’63 356 cabriolet at a gas station in Oxnard,Ca, an elderly man pulled up next to me in a Savanna Beige 1967 VW Beetle to fuel up as well. We both admired each other’s cars, and his was an all original, one owner (himself!) VW with California original issue black plates, with only 60,000 original miles! He mentioned he “might” be interested in selling it…BINGO! That night, I drove it home for $2,500 and it was my ‘bone-stock’ daily driver for the next 5 years! I daily drove this 67 VW from Oxnard to Glendale, Ca a round trip of approx 120 miles daily until it sucked #3 exhaust valve going up Santa Susana pass one morning.

A few months later, after rebuilding the 1500 engine, I happened to be driving past a bowling alley parking lot in Simi Valley, Ca where I finally saw my “Holy Grail” 1967 VW Convertible! This was in 1990. It was sitting with a for sale sign on the windshield! “1967 Volkswagen Convertible – $3,500 obo” It was 100% intact, complete, running, no rust, good top, original black plate California plates. The only thing was that it was repainted about 5 years prior, in a VW Rabbit Cabriolet(?)Orange-Red color instead of the original Ruby Red. I naturally had it home in my garage by that night after a deal was made. It was a high quality paint job, so I just left it as is all this time – 29 years later! My wife at the time refused to let me have TWO 1967 VW’s, and demanded that one had to go! So, off to Pomona Swap Meet to sell the 67 Savanna Beige Sedan, which I did in less than an hour. (before the internet days) The 67 Convertible became my daily driver for the next 10 years!

I could almost write a separate story book about all the commuting adventures I’ve had in this Beetle! Life in the SLOW Lane!(with semi trucks bearing down on you all the way lol) I drove it from my home in Simi Valley to City of Industry and back through some of LA’s WORST traffic Hell – another 120 miles a day in another 1967 VW – until I retired her from daily driving service in 2001. I personally replaced her top, did all the work myself in 1999 after it began to leak, as well as having to replace the engine once. I’ve been slowly gathering bits and pieces to eventually do a serious restoration – back to Ruby red, H0 engine case, etc. But, nowadays, she enjoys her retirement in grand style! She turns heads wherever she goes, and always brings a smile to me and anyone who sees her on the road! I will be celebrating 30 years with this 1967 VW Convertible coming up. I probably won’t be around for another 30 years, but I’m sure this 1967 VW convertible will be.

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

Posted by Eric Shoemaker

Hello, I'm Eric. I started 1967beetle.com. I also own Lane Russell, a leading supplier of VW parts for your classic Volkswagen restoration. I drive a '67 Beetle daily and love to share vintage Volkswagen stories with the world.

  1. Great LIFE story, as – in fact – any Beetle story. Thank you, John!

    Reply

    1. Such a good story!

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  2. Great story John, you were 4 years back of me in the SFV; Van Nuys Jr and Sr. HS. And your story about owning the old Porsches nearly matches mine, though I never had the 911s. Plenty of Speedsters, Roadster, and C Cab, all gone before prices went to the moon! Drat! I found my Wht 67 Convertible that you always wanted in 1979, and my story appeared here last year. I like your Red Cab just as well though. I see yours is early production like mine with low mount radio antenna and no slope rear bumper overriders. I like your details like correct shiney windlace trim piece above rear window, and around back lower edge of the top. I usually do not see those. And your boot, with white piping just like original is cool. You have your Cab nicely dialed in. Thank you for sharing your story, and your photos.

    Reply

    1. Don,
      Thanks for the comment. It makes me so happy that people enjoy these stories.

      Reply

  3. Frank Connolly, Jr. January 17, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    Great story, and that convertible top fits SO well

    Reply

  4. Hello John! I love your Bug story! Would you be willing to keep me in mind If you ever might consider selling or trading your Buggy? I have a beautiful 1967 Lotus white coupe that I have ownded for 30 years. Thanks John! Stan Kramer 408 605 9699

    Reply

  5. Richard A. (Dick) Diaz January 17, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Hello from over the hill in Fillmore John! Great VW and “life” story John! You certainly have lived the air cooled life!-Dick

    Reply

  6. Nice convertible! I would love to have a convertible Beetle, but I don’t know if I could get rid of my current Beetle!

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  7. John–What a great life with Volkswagens (including the Porsches, of course). Wouldn’t we all love to have cars which we’ve loved, then sold. I was just showing Eric a photo of our snow-covered ’67 Karman Ghia–which was such a great and comfortable driving car. Somehow, I missed your photo in there–am I going blind or are VW owners THAT shy??? Keep driving and enjoying your Beauty! jay

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  8. Beautiful car and great story! Thanks for sharing it with us. Ruby red is a real head turning color. We have a 65 that seems to be like a magnet for people, the convertible just adds to the beauty!

    Reply

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