In 1967 while living in NY, my dad bought a new ruby red Beetle convertible. We moved from NY to Los Angeles in 1972 where my dad drove his bug daily, commuting over 30 miles each way in LA traffic, until 1984 when he passed the car down to me. I drove that car, which was still in original, practically mint condition until it was stolen out of a parking structure in 1989, never to be seen again.
I loved that car, and 11 years ago, sought to buy a new one. Turns out the car was a Frankenbeetle with almost every 67 part swapped out with later model parts: doors, seats, engine (1974), axles, brakes, fenders, bumpers, lights, roof, wheels (4 lug), the rear apron had been replaced with an aftermarket one, etc. Luckily, the pan and frame numbers matched so I knew the guts were 67. The only things that were 67 original were the body, pan, hood, decklid and one fender. There was rust throughout with other metal parts just riveted on. After failing to be able to return the car, I decided it would be a fun project to restore to its full, original, stock glory, especially being a convertible. Little did I know that it would take 10+ years and $$$$$ dollars to accomplish, but it was worth it.
I spent the last decade finding the correct one-year only parts. I did as much of the cleanup as possible before sending it off to multiple shops for the body, mechanical and interior work. It was an “everything off” restoration/resurrection.
As it goes with this car, nothing was easy. There was an issue at every turn. As they stripped the paint, they uncovered shoddy past repairs where rust was painted/Bondo’d over. The entire car, 6” up on the bottom needing to be replaced due to rust. Side panels had been cut out and welded with a piece of sheet metal not fitted properly. All of this needed to be replaced including the floor panels, the rear luggage compartment, the rear apron, the heater tubes and reinforcement channels, etc. The roof frame had been cut and was 1” short. The hood latch tube and rear heater channel tubes were missing and had to be replaced.
After nearly two years in the shop, it’s back to original, stock condition. I have the VW birth certificate which shows the car was java green, but I painted it ruby red to match my car that was stolen. Every single part was replaced, rechromed or reconditioned. Every piece of rubber is new including all hoses and lines. Genuine original 67 parts on the car include:
- Fenders (German w/drainage holes)
- Doors/door handles
- Windows (except for windshield that cracked during the process)
- Low-back seats
- Bumpers/bumper guards (VW original)
- Roof frame/latches
- Engine, heater boxes, etc.
- Wheel rims
- Front Seat belts, center chrome latch
- Sapphire V radio
- Window cranks
- Mirrors (rear view, side)
- Gas tank
- Ash trays
- Air cleaner
- SB12 headlight rings (outer/inner), tail lights, reverse lights
- Jack, tool kit
– Greg Klausner