I own an original 1967 Volkswagen Beetle. My grandfather purchased it in Jan of ‘67 for around $1,200.00.
“For many VW enthusiasts, the model year 1967 holds a special attraction. It’s been long bantered about as the best year of the Beetle. It was the first year for the 1500cc engine, first year for 12-volt electrics, first year for the standard upright headlights, and the last year for the smaller bumpers and painted dash. There are many one year only parts on the 67 model year, especially the US spec versions and all of these attributes create what is one of the most recognizable and desirable Beetles out there.”
It got to a point where Grandpa did not drive the car much anymore. One day, I called him up asking what he was going to do with it long term. “Come over and let’s talk about it,” he said. Long story short, he ended up giving it to me.
I’ll never forget when he went downstairs to collect a folder full of old records. “I believe this is everything,” he said. I could not believe it. The original bill of sale, ALL service records, and documents you could not even read anymore. Amazing! The archive was a true time capsule. He signed the title over. I was now the 2nd owner of the family Volkswagen.
It ran horribly. I remember driving it home worried if I’d make it or catch on fire in the process. The car had all types of issues. Old fuel lines, filters, worn out seats and carpet, rust, bad clutch, a very poor quality aftermarket front bumper, low engine compression, oil leaks, weak pan areas, etc. I could go on and on. At the time, I had no idea of all the work that was in front of me. Actually, I did not even have plans of restoring it at first; I just wanted to drive the car and enjoy it.
Grandpa had admitted not taking good care of it. He once told me, “I just changed the oil in the Honda and put it in the VW.” I do remember hearing about it catching on fire in the late 90’s. It’s a good thing a fellow commuter was close by, extinguisher in hand. Always remember to check your fuel lines!
It’s been about five years now since Grandpa passed the family Volkswagen down to me, and I’m completely in love with bringing it back to its true German beauty. It started with the pop-out window rubber, then the tail light seals; next, a proper engine rebuild. The more I got into it, the more I really became interested in what these cars are all about.
As an artist, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoy the restoration process. It’s so rewarding to see it come back to life. It also reminds me of my childhood; seeing my grandma smile, going on “rain rides” in the VW with my dad and sister. I’d love to restore air-cooled cars for a living. There is nothing more satisfying to me than creating with my own hands.
Here are some more recent shots:
A big thanks to:
My wife for being so understanding about all the nights I was in the garage until 3 AM.
Ron Bengry at Wolfsburg West for the hundreds of emails, advice, knowledge, great sense of humor and friendship.
Bobby at Advanced VW (Atlanta, GA) for building my engine.
Timm Eubanks for his genuine friendship.
Corey Beaman for talking me into asking my grandfather for the car in the first place.
Grandpa for giving me the car. I love you!
Twitter for allowing me to connect with so many passionate people that share the same interest in these old cars. #VintageVW.