Thank you for your edits, Jay! It’s an honor to connect with so many ’67 Beetle enthusiast around the world.
I had a few air-cooled VWs as a young driver but I transferred to the water-cooled VW models later in life. About 4 years ago, I decided to get back into air-cooled VWs after seeing Vince Vespe’s beautiful ‘65 Karmann Ghia at a local car show in Ridgewood, NJ. Vince was great to talk to. He introduced me to another air-cooled guy attending the show. That was Chris Vallone, of Classic VW BuGs in Congers, NY. Talking to these guys had me hooked.
I searched the web regularly and learned as much as I could. My goal at the time was to get a Bug from around 1965 up to maybe 1972. I was not for or against any specific style, but I knew I liked a lot of aspects of Bugs from those years.
I came across my 1967 Bug on the Samba and though I always favored the unique features of ‘67s, this one was out of my price range, so I never bothered to call about it. Unfortunately, the Bugs I felt I could afford were less than desirable. I began to wonder if that ‘67 was still available.
Though it was not listed on the Samba anymore, I had the contact info on my PC . I gave the guy a call. It still was for sale! My wife and I immediately made an appointment to drive to Massachusetts from our home in New Jersey to have a look. Four hours up and four hours back was a breeze in my GTI.
The car was everything the owner advertised. After a drive and some good negotiations from my wife, we struck a deal. The owner was a very cool guy. Besides the ‘67 Bug I bought, he currently was building a beautiful air cooled beach buggy in one section of his barn. While showing us that, he told us that he was an engineer on a wooden sailing ship that took college students as crew on semester-long trips around the world. He went on to point out many interesting parts of his home, both inside and out, including pieces which he obtained in far off places and had incorporated into his remodeling projects. Fascinating.
Of course, I asked how he found this ‘67 Bug. He told me that with his job, he has periods of vacation time that last for months. A few years earlier, he had traveled to California, bought an old air-cooled Bug, had brakes and tune up done, then spent a few weeks of his vacation driving it home to Massachusetts. Once he got it home, he sold it. He said that it was such an enjoyable and relaxing way to travel and see the country that he did it again for the next few summers–buying Bugs in Arizona and California, because they tended to be less rusty and much easier to sell here in the rusty Northeast.
He told me that he bought this particular ‘67 Beetle from the original owner in San Francisco. The original owner had had the Bug restored about 10 years earlier. It sat in the garage for most of the time before the man’s son decided to use it to commute to college. During this time, the car was vandalized in a parking lot and the repairs were not up to the standard of the original restoration. Rather than to redo the whole restoration, the original owner decided to sell the Bug.
That’s when the man from Massachusetts bought the ‘67, had the brakes done, installed new tires, tuned the engine, then took the next 3 weeks to drive the ‘67 Beetle all the way home from San Francisco, with his daughter as the copilot. He told me that the car performed perfectly for the entire trip and that it was a great experience for his daughter to get a chance to slow her pace of travel to 55 MPH and learn to drive an old car with extra care in braking and merging on to highways. It had to be a lot of fun.
After transporting the ‘67 Beetle home to NJ, I began the process of updating some of the repairs and seeing that the Bug ran reliably. My son-in-law (a Porsche Technician!!) and I removed the engine and repaired a number of little oil leaks and replaced the clutch. He’s been a big help and encouragement to me. While we had the engine out, we detailed the tins and engine to bring it to the condition you see today. Right now, I simply enjoy driving the Bug on weekends in the nice weather, taking it to some car shows and tinkering with it in my garage. My plan is eventually to return the Bug to its original Zenith Blue (from the current Bahama Blue done when the car was restored). That will have to wait a few years and be my “retirement project”!! Though there still is a lot of work to do, the car is a blast and I just want to drive it.
Oh, one last thing. Though many people name their Bugs, I never really thought about it with this, or any other VW I’ve owned. But a couple weeks after I got the ‘67, the previous owner called to say that he forgot to mention that the original owner in San Francisco told him that the Bug was called “Ollie”. We knew then that this Bug was home because Ollie also had been my wife’s mom’s name. I carry a small monogrammed suit case that belonged to her, in the luggage area behind the rear seat. She took that suit case with her on her honeymoon.
Bob…your story is one which should be read by everyone who wants to purchase a nice 1967 Beetle. It tells us not to give up, but to persist until we find that Right Car! Thank you for sharing Your Story!