Ed & Janet Howle’s L633 VW Blue ’67 Beetle

Get Ready to Rally — Ed and Janet Howle

An older article featured here at 1967beetle.com. Jay and I recently exchanged a few emails with Janet, so I wanted to put this fantastic story in the spotlight once again.

Where do you go in your ’67 beetle? Cruise down to the mall… Maybe hit the beach? or maybe rally around the world….when you retire..! Meet Ed and Janet Howle who could give us all a run for our money and then do it all over again!!

We bought our VW Blue Type 1, 1967 Beetle, Stewball, with the hope that we could win The Great Race, an around-the-world antique car rally which was to start in NYC on February 12, 2008, and go west across the U.S. The cars would be shipped from San Francisco to China, and then cross China, Kazakhstan, Russia and, Europe. We would drive 14,000 miles before we ended in Paris. Great Race Inc. was offering a $1,000,000 purse. We were highly motivated. Why did this event start on February 12? Because this was 100 years to the day of the famous 1908 race which is still the only true car race from New York to Paris.

Why did we pick the 1967 VW Beetle? All rallies have somewhat different rules, but to enter this one, the car had to be at least 40 years old. Since the start was in February, the car would have to negotiate winter snow and ice both crossing the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. and similar conditions in Siberia. The Beetle with its rear engine and rear-wheel drive seemed like a good choice. In addition, the ‘67 has a 12 volt electrical system and a 1500 cc engine. I had owned three Type 1 VWs and two Karmann Ghias. During the competition, I would have to do most repairs and service myself. A fast car was not the goal, a reliable one was, this was a rally, an endurance time and distance precision event, with hidden check points, not a race.

From previous rallies I knew that preparation was the key to endurance driving. I had every system gone over by my VW guru, Bob Hicks of Hick’s VW Service in Durham, North Carolina who only services and repairs air-cooled VWs. I made several modifications which were allowed by Great Race. I replaced the engine with a 2005 new 1600 cc South American engine and added the required fire extinguisher. I took out the back seat, made boards to cover the floor and batteries and with Bob’s input assembled the spare parts I thought I might need. In the U.S. these parts are available new and I felt this was good money spent. My list included; carburetor, fuel pump, distributor, generator, plugs, fan belt, control cables, jacks, and tires. Each car had to carry a driver and navigator and everything we needed for the trip. Janet began to worry there would be no room for clothes and the other essentials to keep us groomed, civilized, and healthy. Jan also insisted on adding a porcelain flower vase to the dashboard in which she put a fresh flower every morning of the rally.

I made three other modifications. Great Race Inc. required a super accurate (expensive) rally speedometer. Fortunately it fit exactly in the space where my standard VW speedometer fit.

Dashboard with TimeWise speedometer]

SOLD — L639 Zenith Blue ’67 Beetle Sunroof

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Fresh to the market here at 1967beetle.com; we have a very nice L639 Zenith Blue ’67 Beetle Sunroof for sale. The seller has included a lot of good information. I love seeing ’67 Beetles that are mostly correct. As you know, many of the one year only parts are very hard to find. I know from my own restoration that it took well over 10 years to find them all. Did I mention that this ’67 Beetle is a sunroof?!

Status: SOLD
Mileage: Unknown
Location: Breinigsville, PA
Price: $15,500
Contact: 610.398.9700

The ubiquitous Volkswagen Beetle hardly needs an introduction. With over twenty-one million built over a span of 65 years, the Beetle has charmed its way into cultures the world over. From its beginnings as a German peoples car in the late 1930s to the Brazilian and Mexican built taxicabs of the 2000s, VWs most iconic car went through a myriad of changes though the shape remained as familiar as ever. In the 1960s, a series of refinements were made to improve performance, handling, and safety. Most notably perhaps was the increase in size of the windows all around. Engines grew from 1200 to 1500 cc and now put out 54 horsepower, which is plenty to get this little bug up to 60mph with ease. Another big change came in the form of a 12V electrical system which was more reliable and powerful, much better suited to every day driving. The 1967 Beetle is an interesting car, in that considering all of the years the Beetle was in production, many parts on the 67 are one-year-only, making them an interesting novelty among VW enthusiasts.

RB Collection is very pleased to offer this charming and delightful 1967 VW Beetle Sunroof coupe. This is a very well-kept car that does not appear to have been fully restored, rather it has been well maintained, with some light restoration work done as-necessary. The body is very solid, with excellent floors, fenders and running boards. The paint, Zenith Blue, is in good condition, showing a few flaws and imperfections that are consistent with a well-loved original car. The exterior trim is similarly good with a couple of minor flaws in the alloy trim and the bumpers, while straight and complete show a bit of peeling at the joints of the overrider bars. Again, these flaws are nothing alarming and do nothing to detract from the charm of this wonderful car. The interior is excellent with what appear to be original seats and door panels. Receipts show the headliner was replaced some time ago, and oatmeal carpets line the footwells along with rubber mats. The sunroof works nicely and the doors shut beautifully with a solid feel.

Mark Massey’s L633 VW Blue ’67 Beetle

Another fantastic ’67 from our friend Mark Massey over at OldVWs Restoration. When speaking with Mark about the history of car, this is what he had to say.

Herman is a very early ’67 beetle (VIN #117002513). I purchased in December of 2002. Plans were to restore him someday, but during the winter 2006-2007 I really wanted to have a beetle to drive instead of my truck.  After doing some searching and coming up with nothing worthwhile I decided to use Herman.  I replaced his rocker panels and floors, put all new brakes in and gave him a tune-up.  Attention was played to rust proofing Herman and not worrying about looks.

A good heater system was also devised. Who says a bug heater doesn’t work if setup correct? One weekend in February 2007 we hit -14 below, my truck wouldn’t start, but Herman did.  He had no problem heating up his interior, sure it didn’t get hot inside, but it was comfortable considering it was -14 outside. The key to a good heater is German heater boxes and good air flow.

As of February 2012, I have put about 50,000 miles on Herman (total miles 173,456).  In addition to being driven all winter by myself he is also now driven all summer by my girlfriend. Last summer alone she racked up 12,000 miles on him.  Very little money has been put into Herman over the last 5 years. Herman represents what the beetle was built for, honest cheap reliable transportation.  He isn’t shinny and new, he is what he is and doesn’t pretend to be anymore.  For a 40 plus year old car Herman has done very well.

’67 Beetle Proper Engine Cooling

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Eric of 1967beetle.com messaged me recently with a diagnostic situation. Eric explained that he was hearing a strange sound in his engine. He even made a short video of his running engine.

I listened, heard “something”, but could not come to a conclusion. Had it been the Generator bearings, I would have suspected a growling. I could not hear that. I suggested that it could be something to do with the Fan—maybe the Fan Nut on upside down?—maybe a cracked Fan? It did not sound like a Fan rubbing the Fan Shroud. Someone else thought that it might be a connecting rod. I asked Eric if, after accelerating, then letting off the gas, he heard a heavy thumping. No. Well…that seemed to limit our attention to the Fan. In the end, Eric’s mechanic was called upon to diagnose and remedy the problem. The Fan had succumbed to metal fatigue and had cracked where the Fan Hub seats on one side and the Wave Washer, on the other.

FanSkinnyGermanCracked#e

Eric wanted to install a new Generator which he had on hand—which turned out to be a good thing because the original one was quite troublesome to disengage from the Fan and was rendered useless in the end. With the replacement Fan and the new Generator installed, the Savannah Beige was, once more, purring down the roadways!

In choosing a good German Fan to send to Eric, I looked at several which I had on hand. I found one similarly cracked. Another was severely rusted at the Hub. Rust does a number on metal, weakening it. That one also was discarded.

FanSkinnyGermanRusted

Yet another problem which can occur to the Fan is “wallowing”. If the Fan Securing Nut is not properly torqued onto the Generator Shaft against the Fan Hub, the Fan will begin to “rebound”, causing the opening for the Hub to become distorted. When this happens, the Fan must be discarded and a fresh one installed. The Hub, also, must be inspected for damage.

Advanced Vintage Volkswagen – Atlanta, GA

856821_380234758750925_1877074071_o-2As some of you probably know by now, we relocated back to our hometown of Atlanta, GA after a long cross-country adventure. Recently, I had a generator, fan issue with my ’67 Beetle. (Jay Salser is working on an article that goes a bit more in-depth on the issue and resolution)

Being that I work, run a business and have small children, I don’t always have time to do the work myself, as much as I truly love and enjoy.

The vintage VW business landscape here in Atlanta, GA has a changed drastically. I really did get spoiled by the West Coast. As it turns out, the old places I had come to depend on long ago had long since closed up. I event extended my search to non VW shops. It went a little something like this.

Eric: “Hello. Do you work on old VWs?”
Shop: “No.” Click.

Eric: “Hello. Do you by chance still work on old VWs?”
Shop: You can’t get parts for those, no we don’t.”

Eric: “Hello. Do you ever tinker with old VWs?”
Shop: “Whatcha got a dune buggy? No, we don’t.”

As you can see, it wasn’t looking good. Even Advanced VW off College Ave seemed to have closed up; or did it?… After some searching, I was able to get in contact with Bobby who’s the owner. Apparently, the City of Decatur made him move so they can “clean up” the area.

Luckily, he’s still in business and probably the last vintage VW shop standing. He’s over in Tucker, GA now and going strong. Bobby’s not really one for attention, but I can tell you with all honestly that he’s the best guy for your vintage VW. I can’t tell you how happy I am that he’s still working on these old cars. Here’s his info.

Advanced VW
1878 Forge St
Tucker, GA 30084
(770) 938-4499

Now for some photos of his shop. If you look closely, you’ll see my ’67 with some of his other old friends.