Mark Tunnell’s ’67 Beetle

Featured ’67 Beetle — Mark Tunnell

In order to tell you how I recently came to acquire a L639 Zenith Blue 1967 Beetle Convertible, I have to start in, well …. 1967. Unlike some of you, my good buddies who love these cars, not only was I around in 1967, but 1967 was HUGE for me!

It was dubbed the “Summer of Love” and, sure enough, somehow I landed my first REAL girlfriend! After so many false leads and feints, this was beyond fantastic. And this girl had an older sister who had just bought an L620 Savannah Beige Beetle. We seemed to spend a lot of time in the cramped back seat (the younger sister, pay attention). She also taught me how to drive the manual transmission. Then, just as everyone whom I knew was going to San Francisco, or at least singing about it (rest in peace, Scott McKenzie), my visa came through to go to work in Switzerland. That is where I spent the Summer of 1967 – in a resort hotel – in the Alps. Lucky, you say? It should have been, but each day seemed to drag the whole summer long–I was homesick and I missed that girl. Our long-awaited reunion in September was sublime. I remember every song we sang in that VW which was on the radio in the Fall of ’67, and all of the movies and concerts we went to in her sister’s ’66 (sigh).

After that, I drove a 1970, a 1973, a 411, a Westfalia Camper and a Rabbit. But with marriage and kids, I migrated into several Ford station wagons, blah, blah, blah.

I’ve been happily married for 35 years to a wonderful lady. I’m a grandpa. I do admit to having grown somewhat nostalgic. I love history. A few years back I bought an original 1922 Ford Model T Woodie Wagon. Henry sold 15 million T’s, the leader in the number of cars produced for a single model – until the little German car beat that handily with 22 million copies sold. So now I have one of each! It’s been fun learning all about Beetles again.

Featured ’67 Beetle — Mark Tunnell

My VW is a 1967 Karmann Cabriolet. The VIN is 157343252. A letter from Volkswagen, A.G., indicates that this car was manufactured on Thursday, November 10, 1966–the early part of the ’67 model year. Indeed it still has some 1966 features in it, before the complete switch-over occurred. Only 7,597 VW convertibles were built in 1967, and, of these, only 6,349 were exported to the USA. Jay Salser tells me that research indicates only 5% of most cars survive to their 30th year. That would be about 390. At 46 years old, this car is comparatively rare. In fact, Jay believes that the number of ’67 convertibles restored to factory condition is extremely small.

Featured ’67 Beetle — Mark Tunnell

The number of the engine in the car is HO 473 677. According to VW’s records, this indicates that it is the new-for-1967 larger 1500cc engine. It also indicates an engine manufacture date in early November, 1966. This number is recorded by the dealer in the 1967 Owner’s Manual. This is, indeed, the car’s original engine. The letter from Volkswagen, A.G., states that the car was shipped to America on November 19, 1966. The car eventually became part of the inventory at Pearson-Miller, Inc., then a Volkswagen dealership in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts. The dealership is still in existence, but currently sells used cars.

My research indicates that the original purchaser was Minnie W. Greenleaf, who lived in an apartment house on Perkins Square in Jamaica Plain, not far from Brookline, Massachusetts. The date of purchase was April 5, 1967, and the car was delivered to her two days later, on April 7, 1967. Minnie was born October 16, 1911, so she was 55 years old when she picked out this car painted in L639 Zenith Blue. She owned it until 1974, as far as I can tell from the service records still in the car. They show that she faithfully took the car to the dealership every 3,000 miles for servicing. The service records stop in April of 1974, with the mileage recorded as 59,895. I believe that she sold it shortly after that and the new owner took the car elsewhere for servicing.

Featured ’67 Beetle — Mark Tunnell

Although I do not know who the next owner(s) were, from a windshield sticker still on the car, it was registered in Maine by 1998. In 2002, a Charles E. Wigglesworth, Sr. bought the car and took it to Kennebunk. He had a summer place there, and the car was used during the summers as the family grocery-getter. It was stored during the winters, which accounts for how relatively rust-free it is.

During his ownership, the exterior chrome was replaced, the car was repainted and a new convertible top cover was installed.

Featured ’67 Beetle — Mark Tunnell

In July, 2012, the car was in Webster, Massachusetts, where Rudy Pastoreck saw it, approached the owner, and acquired it. Rudy operates “Classic Motor Car Company” of Webster, Mass., and at any time he has an inventory of 100 classic cars for sale. He advised me that he did not often get into Volkswagens, but he liked this car. He advertised it in Hemmings Motor News, which is where I happened to come across it in my search for a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible. I drove up to see him and we negotiated a price. I drove “Ms. Minnie” home on December 8, 2012. I named her after the original owner. She was stock, and in pretty good shape for 46 years old. Minimal rust. The interior is original. I’ve decided to leave some of the patina as is. The engine was due for an overhaul, which was accomplished by the wizardry of Tom Silveri, the knowledgeable proprietor of Tom’s Volkswagen Service, West Chester, Pennsylvania. The engine runs great now – I love listening to the sound of the old air-cooled engine.

Featured ’67 Beetle — Mark Tunnell

I located a vintage Blaupunkt “Frankfurt” radio, built to U.S. specifications. It receives AM, FM and shortwave. I had it refurbished and installed. It bears the serial number Z 627437, corresponding to a production date of Calendar Year 1966, which would be correct for the car.

Featured ’67 Beetle — Mark Tunnell

I don’t have to tell you about the iconic nature of the 1967 Beetle. I decided that I had to get a ’67 and I wanted to find a Convertible. This model year “is regarded by many enthusiasts as the most desirable of all Beetles, combining, as it does, the very best elements of the classic design with the infinitely more driveable nature of its improved engine and enhanced handling characteristics”. (Stroud, Jon; Little Book of Beetle, G2 Entertainment, U.K., 2011). The ’67 model has been hailed as the “best year” of the Beetle. I agree.

Thanks, Mark, for sharing your ’67 with 1967beetle.com.

Jay Salser

I’ve been driving and working on VWs for over 37 years. In fact, I raised my family in these cars. Now, I’m 75 years old and enjoy VWs as a hobby. The ’67 Beetle always has been my favorite year.

28 Comments

Mark Morelock

about 1 year ago

Great story and beautiful car! Thanks for sharing it with all us 67 nuts.

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brians356

about 1 year ago

Jay, You didn't mention the Love Bug stickers. Did Ms Minnie apply those? The sound of the engine- "whistle" comes to mind. My second car at age 19 was a white '67 Beetle sedan. I seemed to put it in harm's way repeatedly - two head-on collisions, not my fault, did it in. Sure wish I still had it.

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Jay Salser

about 1 year ago

Hello, Brian... Nope--didn't get it all in, did we! Fortunately, the photos take up where words leave off. I am sorry to hear that the '67 of your youth met its fate at the hands of another's car. We had that to happen in our family too. Our son was broad-sided by a person who had his eyes fixed on the traffic light and not on traffic. Our son drove the '67 in that condition for a while but we finally stripped it and applied all of the relevant parts to another VW Bug--with great sadness! We gave the Bug a decent burial in a ravine to help stop soil erosion. Perhaps archeologists will one day unearth the remains and try to carbon-date it! LOL jay

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Mark Tunnell

about 1 year ago

It's a pleasure to share-- Mark Tunnell

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Eric Shoemaker

about 1 year ago

Thanks so much, Mark! Great article.

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brians356

about 1 year ago

Oops, I meant to address "Mark" when I posted, not Jay. And of course no "Edit" button - pity.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 1 year ago

No worries. In the future, I might add that functionality in.

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brians356

about 1 year ago

If this is Wordpress, can you even do that? I post on several such sites, and have yet to see an Edit or Delete button.

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mtunnell

about 1 year ago

Thanks Eric-- It's all good; thanks to you and Jay for inspiring us out there-- Mark Tunnell

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Jay Salser

about 1 year ago

We who receive these articles for editing or who do the interviews are the ones who get fired up! Your enthusiasm is a "disease" worth catching. Seeing all of these really nice '67s is not only amazing but gives us heart that this Model is alive and well! Thanks goes to all who are dedicated conservators of at least one 1967 Beetle! Last week, Russ, in Texas, wrote that he and his wife have 2-'67s which they drive daily. Someone told me a while back that "you can't trust a person who owns only one VW"! LOL jay

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Larry

about 1 year ago

What a super nice 67 - and even more so a rare convertible 67! What a find! Take care of Ms. Minnie! Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

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Jay Salser

about 1 year ago

Hello, Larry... Thank you for commenting. Yes..."rare" is the word of the day for this very nice '67 Convertible Beetle. Some time ago, I had a friend to call me wondering if I'd help him to find a Convertible Beetle (any year). I asked his purpose for the car, knowing that he did "special things" to VWs. He told me that he wanted to cut off the top and to make the car into a Baja. I replied..."Oh, Brent! These cars are so rare! Why don't you go out and find a car that already has been baja-ed and work with it." I am glad to say that he followed my advice and did not destroy yet another Convertible! Stay tuned to 1967Beetle.com for more '67 talk! jay

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mtunnell

about 1 year ago

Thank you Larry for the kind words. I want Ms. Minnie to see her 50th, 75th, and 100th birthdays, although I may not personally be able to participate in all of them... Mark

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Rachel

about 1 year ago

Well, my husband got me hooked on your website. We have 3- 67 VWs. I have a 67 convertible also, as well as a 67 standard microbus. Russ has a sedan he drives to work every day. These cars are a blast.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 1 year ago

Rachel, Ha! Thanks for reading and supporting 1967beetle.com. We sure enjoy it as well.

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Jay Salser

about 1 year ago

Hello, Rachel...Your husband, Russ, and I commented back and forth, Off-Line. I hope that you enjoyed the Leander, TX VW Show as much as our good friends, Dustin and Cassie Carter of Don's Bug Barn in Athens, TX, did. I was hoping that the 4 of you would meet there. In a conversation last evening with Dustin, he said that they missed seeing you folks. Dustin is difficult to miss--he's something like 6'7''--a big guy! Maybe next year. I am so glad to hear that you folks enjoy your '67s so much. Sounds like our family when our children were growing up. We were every day somewhere driving our '67s. People knew us as the VW People in our neighborhood. I didn't set out to get so involved with VW Culture but, it just happened. Ain't it grand! LOL Thanks for commenting on 1967Beetle.com. Stay with us and let's see if we can't find a Volkswagen story in there somewhere! Okay? To get started, send a couple of your favorite VW photos to me @: jksalservw@verizon.net jay

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Eric Shoemaker

about 1 year ago

Also... 3 '67 Beetles?! We should feature all of them.

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nancy

about 7 months ago

Mark, This is the older sister. I had two Volkswagens. A black 1966 with a sunroof, and a white racing stripe that ran door to door. I totalled this car in front of the Dairy Queen in Strafford. I'm sure the accident might never have happened if I was watching the road, and not talking away with a friend. The second Volkswagen was a 1968 L620 Savannah Beige, which looks very similar to the Pearl White. I believe they have the same back seats.

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Mark Tunnell

about 7 months ago

Thank you big sister for helping my memories! Mark

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nancy

about 7 months ago

MY MISTAKE! Just talked to my brother, and he said my car was definitely a 1967 Beetle. I fell in love with this car the minute I saw it with my Mom. The Older Sister

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Jay Salser

about 7 months ago

Good morning, Nancy...Those are good memories! When we drive our Beetle, we receive many comments. Commonly they mirror your own comments. It seems as though everyone has a VW story--especially involving the Beetles. It is amazing that this "common" vehicle came to be so loved in all parts of the World. Who knows--perhaps you will become a '67 Beetle owner! jay

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Mark

about 7 months ago

No problems! The four of us should get together and swap lies sometime. BTW I loved the quip you made about the back seats. As far as I was able to study them, they were sorta similar, but I was preoccupied at the time....

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Jay Salser

about 7 months ago

Mark...Here's something that is not a lie! LOL Over the Memorial Day weekend, my wife and I were watching a documentary which outlined the D-Day. attack. The narrator told about the battleships which stood off-shore about a mile from the beaches, firing "projectiles as large as Volkswagens."! That makes it easy for us aficionados of the Beetle, to grasp the enormity of those shells as they fell on enemy occupied territory! (actually, I think he meant that the projectiles weighed as much as Bugs) It goes to show how much influence these vehicles have had upon the World's understanding of size and weight. jay

Mark

about 7 months ago

Jay Some years ago I was a guest on the aircraft carrier USS Independence and heard something similar. The catapult that launches jet fighters is strong enough to throw a beetle four miles. Regards Mark

Jay Salser

about 7 months ago

The bad thing is the feeling that Beetles are being destroyed or used for destructive purposes. But...I did hear once of a wasp nest that was "as large as a VW Beetle". jay

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Dave Z

about 3 weeks ago

Thanks Mark for sharing your story. My first car was a 1964 beetle and my second was a 1967 beetle. I have had quite a few other years since, but my favorite was my '67. There was something different about the ride of that car. Can't explain it but it just felt smoother like a heavier car. A year after I first got married when I was 24 back in '86 I bought the car of my dreams, a 1967 Ruby Red VW convertible with 112,550 miles on it. (It has just over 117,00 miles on it in now in 2014). It was pretty rough but no rust. It was originally bought at Boulder Valley VW and had lived in semi arid Colorado all of its life. We had it restored back to factory original in '86 and '87. It rarely gets out and resides in my barn here in Colorado. After I'm gone it will probably end up being someone's barn find. I agree, there is something special about those '67's. Dave Z.

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jay salser

about 3 weeks ago

Hello, Dave...Fabulous story. Why don't you get with Eric and let's see your story Featured right here on 1967beetle.com Just contact: eric@1967beetle.com to get the easy process started! jay

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Mark Tunnell

about 3 weeks ago

Great story Dave. Thanks for sharing. I had the 67 out the other day for a spin. Nothing in the world like it. Mark

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