Huge kudos to Jay Salser for his work on this article. It was crafted by Ken Yeo in his own words. Our growth has been amazing, and the fact that these great cars keep surfacing. Slowly, we’re connecting ’67 owners globally.
Ken, tell the Readers of 1967Beetle.com a bit about yourself and where you are located.
I’m 40 this year, from Singapore. I’ve owned 4 bugs over the last 20 years, and my current 1967 for the last 15. I’ve had a ’71 1302, ’67 1300, another ’67 1300 and a ’66 1300.
How did you become interested in Volkswagens.
It was my 4 years at the University of Miami, Florida where I first was exposed to beautiful cars and fell for vintages almost immediately. Upon graduation and return to Singapore in 1995, I set out looking for a classic and found the VW bug most affordable, since I was conscripted into the Army and wasn’t paid well. Interest became passion, then obsession, and I’ve always owned at least one ever since.
Your car differs in some respects from those which were directly imported from Germany into the USA. Tell us about some of those differences.
Our ’67s are available only with 1300cc ‘F’ engines (much like the ’66), and retain the sloping headlights. As an ex-British colony, we are right hand drive (RHD). Our bumpers come with over-riders. Rear turn signal lamps are in orange instead of red, and reverse lights are excluded. A little mix-and-match of the US and European models, I would say.
Did you find your Beetle in Singapore or did you have to import it?
My beetle has been registered in Singapore since day one. According to records, it was registered on 7 July 1967, and had only 2 owners before me.
You told me that there are few VWs in Singapore. How do you access parts when you need them?
While only around 250 remain, they were really popular in the 60’s and 70’s. When I first got into the scene, parts were easy to find at scrap yards but that source has dried out. Today, most of us buy parts when we travel, or source them off the Web.
How many 1967 Beetles do you see there?
I have seen around 6, but only 4 remain as daily drivers.
Are there VW clubs or other VW affiliations in Singapore?
Official clubs no. But we have good friends who meet occasionally to ‘reinfect’ each other or to trade parts. Some also travel to VW shows in neighbouring countries like Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand every year.
What has been your biggest challenge while owning this vehicle?
I would say the general cost and complexity of car ownership in Singapore. Also, we often get bullied on the roads due to our Asian culture due to the lack of appreciation for old things.
You told me that there is a limit to who can own and drive a car there. Can you explain?
Due to limited land size, the Singapore Government tries to limit car ownership. Limited numbers of Certificates of Entitlement (COEs) are released every month, and potential car buyers have to bid for these titles to own a car. The number of COEs released is tied to the number of cars de-registered to prevent over-population. These COEs are valid only for 10 years, after which car owners can choose to scrap the car, or pay the prevailing COE for extension for another 10 years.
Once de-registered, a car may not be re-registered. At this writing, a COE is approximately USD $60,000 on top of the purchase price of a car.
There also is a “Classic Car” scheme you may opt for when a car hits 35 years of age. Under this scheme, you pay only 10% of the prevailing COE, but you are limited to a maximum of 28 days of driving per year. The pity is that this scheme is irreversible and the car cannot be fully registered again. A “death sentence” as we call it.
Usage brings about more costs. Gas is approximately USD$6.50 per US gallon, road tax is USD $650/year (extra 50% for cars over 10 years of age), and toll prices to use city roads are USD $0.50 to USD $2 per entry.
The Readers will be interested in knowing about the practice of renting vintage vehicles. Tell us about that and how often you rent your Volkswagen.
I started renting out my bugs for 2 simple reasons: to help buffer the cost of car ownership, but really more to spread the joy and experience of riding in one. At first, many potential clients are doubtful about the car’s comfort and reliability, but once they have taken a spin in it, the take-up rate is around 90%!
Outside of weddings, I also rent it for photo-shoots and filming. To date, my ’67 has been in 3 movies, 2 commercials and countless photo-shoots. Pre-68 bugs are really rare in Singapore (fewer than 10?) so there is quite a demand!
Thanks, Ken, for sharing your ’67 with 1967beetle.com.