Robin Snook, of England, contacted 1967Beetle.com, inquiring about parts for his ’67 Beetle. Eric copied me and thus began a running e-conversation between Robin and me. I was able to help with some parts. When Robin mentioned something about how he acquired his car, I thought that his story should be told.
My involvement with Beetles began when I was 15 years old.
My dad died when my sister and I were quite young. As a result, we struggled financially growing up, and didn’t have a car. My mum took driving lessons in the early 1970s and after several attempts passed her test and acquired a license to drive…….she wanted us to enjoy some travel around the UK before we flew the nest!
My uncle had completed Conscripted National Service in Germany after the Second World War and learnt about the Peoples’ Car whilst he was there. He suggested that it would be a good car for my mum due to its reliability and high build quality……so the search was on!
We hunted high and low for a decent example to buy, but they were either too expensive or trashed! Eventually, we found a beautiful Pearl White 1200 model that had been registered in August, 1967. Mum bought it for £550 (around $880) in 1972.
We traveled the length and breadth of the UK heavily loaded with luggage, dog, supplies etc. Then when my mum gave up driving, I used the car myself for daily transport to work etc, until I sold it in 1990 and bought a shiny red Golf. By then that Beetle had completed 114,000 miles on the original engine and was returning 40mpg. There was no rust anywhere on the car, thanks to my hard work on weekends, keeping it in good order.
I’ve always yearned for another “proper Beetle”, even though I bought a New Beetle Cabriolet back in 2005.
Recently, I bit the bullet and started searching for one throughout Europe. I originally had in mind a 1965 1200 or 1300, ideally blue or grey. Then just as we were about to head off on holiday in August this year (2013), I found a partially restored 1967 blue 1300 Ragtop in Norfolk. Rather rashly, I paid a deposit on it without viewing it…trusting in the photos shown online! (Note—the RagRoof is original to this European Model of ’67 beetle)
I spoke with the guy who found and restored it. A friend of his had heard of a Beetle that had lain gathering dust in a garage since the 1980s. He went to see it and was amazed at its rust free condition. It had been customised a little. With a new battery and some fresh petrol, it started immediately and drove perfectly. After stripping and repainting it and reverting it to “stock”, he considered keeping it. However, since he already had a ’67 1300 he decided to sell it on….great news for me!
On returning from holiday, I went to view the Ragtop and wasn’t disappointed. 57,000 original miles and only a little rust here and there. A good standard of repainting had been completed but the interior was a bit tired and in need of some love and attention. I took the car for a test drive and it ran perfectly. I was relieved and very excited to be driving a Beetle again after 23 years!
Now, I’ve started attending to a few things here and there, nothing major and mainly cosmetic….bumpers, wheels, door handles(!)…and have encountered the common problems associated with this one-year-only model. All great fun!
I have re-joined the VW Owners Club in the UK and have been making connections with VW enthusiasts in the UK and also the USA. It’s great that there is so much help and goodwill out there! I am looking for a decent air-cooled mechanic in East Sussex and have had a couple of recommendations that I’ll need to follow-up.
My Beetle won’t be encountering any harsh UK weather such as the rain, sleet and snow that batters our Country during the winter time (and sometimes even in the summer!). Instead I’ll be waiting for springtime to take the Beetle out for a decent length of drive…maybe down to the Coast!
Thanks, Robin, for sharing your ’67 with 1967beetle.com.
*Robin lives in Tonbridge, Kent, United Kingdom, 29 miles SE of London. Historically, the name was spelled “Tonebridge”. William I “The Conqueror” of England executed a “great survey” of much of England in 1085. Tonbridge is listed in the resultant record, The Domesday Book. We can envy Robin and other Englanders for the ease of finding wonderful settings for photographing their Beetles.