As a teenager and young man growing up in California, my first cars were vintage Volkswagens – 1961 ragtop Beetle; 1965 Bus; 1963 Beetle. When I moved to Hawaii after getting my Physical Therapist degree, I shipped my first-ever new car to Hawaii, a 1979 VW Rabbit. Not being able to tolerate the thought of that new car rusting away, I shortly shipped it back to the mainland, bought a 1966 Beetle in the Los Angeles area and had it shipped to Hawaii. That was the car I was driving when I met my wife and that we continued to drive after we were married. After moving back to the mainland, we bought a 1969 Karmann Ghia and later, a 1965 Beetle.
All those cars were sold at one time or another. I always had dreamed of having the time, money and energy to have a Beetle to really work on, particularly a 1967 Beetle. After practicing Physical Therapy for almost 39 years, medical problems prompted me to retire and I found myself with plenty of time, less so of money and energy.
I was casually looking online for a car and found a Zenith Blue ’67 Beetle that had lived it’s life in California until about three years ago when its owner had moved to south Texas. She had had the Beetle transported to Texas and then parked it in her barn when it arrived. She had recently decided to sell it and placed it up for auction at just the time I happened to be looking. She had stored it very intelligently with a dry fuel system. It ended up being a great find!
Over the next three-plus months I had a wonderful time working on it. It arrived with pre-’66 wheels and moon hubcaps. Later I discovered the reason for the hubcaps – ’68 rear axles that were too long to accommodate flat ’67 hubcaps. So, with the kind assistance of Dustin and Cassie Carter at Don’s Bug Barn in Athens, Texas, I was able to acquire ’67 axles and five appropriate wheels. I had the axles switched out by a local VW mechanic, and while the engine was out, new flywheel, clutch, pressure plate and transaxle mounts were installed. I had the wheels media blasted and then I masked and painted them two-toned black and white, myself, quite an arduous task.
The car had multiple electrical problems that seemed insurmountable as I looked at the Beetle wiring diagram. But, one by one I tackled them, learning how to use various testing devices in the process. I have become familiar with all of the West Coast and other parts suppliers, purchasing flasher relay, headlight switch, lots of bulbs and seals. Now, every light and switch works as they should. I also was able to acquire ’67-appropriate carburetor and fuel pump, but they still are works-in-progress.
I took on this project just for the joy of doing it. The car will be returning to California in the next few months since my oldest brother, also a vintage VW fan, is going to buy it from me.
Next, maybe a Karmann Ghia?
Editor’s Note: Neva and I were blessed by a visit from Marc and his Beetle. We were standing on the front porch with our visiting daughter when she exclaimed: Are you expecting a visit from a VW owner? Sure enough, here came Marc in his wonderful Beetle. We had a great visit and photo session. Marc is an inspiration. He has some severe physical problems due to illness but he has done a magnificent job with his car. It makes us all know that anyone can maintain his VW by putting into it some study and effort! Thank you, Marc, for inspiring Neva and me and others with your story!