Some 26 years ago (1994) I purchased a 1967 Beetle for my eldest daughter to drive once she had passed her driving test. The car came with a complete history file indicating that the first owner drove her up to 1983, after which time it passed through three more owners’ hands until ending up in our ownership. While the first owner had been male it was interesting that all the subsequent owners were female.
My daughter quickly christened her Myrtle (no idea why although I must admit I do have a habit of giving all my cars a female name). It was obvious at the time of our purchase that she was in need of a bit of TLC and quickly shunted her off to a local garage for a respray. This work showed that any necessary bodywork repairs had been attended to as and when they arose. Also, the carefully maintained diary that accompanied the car showed that she had been regularly serviced – amazing that a 6,000 mile service cost less than £3 in those days (probably around $8)! How times have changed.
After running her for several years my daughter handed her back to me to look after. At that time she was living in Central London and had nowhere to keep her. By this time we had had to replace the engine with a recon unit (still a 1200) but otherwise she was still in reasonably good condition. In 2004 I boldly took her on a drive all the way to Portugal via France and Spain, clocking up some 4,000 miles almost without mishap. The one and only problem she had was when she kept dying as I drove through the depths of southern France. Naturally, it happened to be a Sunday when everywhere was closed but I ended up in a small village. One of the locals who stopped to admire her just happened to be a mechanic who owned a local garage. Pleased to give up his Sunday morning we pushed her along the road to his garage and he spent the next hour or two trying to work out what was wrong with her. Eventually, having replaced the plugs, points and leads, he realised that it could only be the condenser! Problem solved – a couple of Euros for a new condenser and did not ask for payment for his time. However, I could not let him do that for nothing and gave him a substantial tip. It brought a smile to his face despite the fact that my French and his English were virtually non-existent.
When I remarried (16 years ago) I moved from the UK to Belgium, taking Myrtle with me on the promise that my daughter would ask for her return one day. Since that time she has been sat in my garage awaiting some mechanical work. Fortunately, my new father-in-law was once a VW mechanic and a Beetle (Types 1 and 2) fanatic and could guide me when it came to changing some of the mechanical components. Having retired on my move to Belgium and with time on my hands I started welding lessons with a friend at evening classes. We subsequently moved on to paint spraying and having completed a complete respray of my TR6 (did I mention I have a few old cars?) I thought it might be a good time to do the same to Myrtle. I had a list of bits and pieces that needed attention and it was obvious that the previous respray had been fairly superficial (while they had removed the windows they had not removed the doors or wings or even the lights). Also, the colour was not quite the same as the original, close but not a real match. I therefore sought out the correct original colour (Fontana Grey) and we got to work last year on a proper respray. This entailed removing all the glass, wings, doors, lids and even the engine. One bit of welding (left rear bumper support inner wing) was required and we fixed that with a replacement piece of metal.
Myrtle is now back in my garage but still in pieces. I am slowly getting to grips with putting everything back although I am not looking forward to installing a complete new interior, including the roof lining! However, I am taking my time as my daughter still has nowhere to keep her and it keeps me off the streets. It never ceases to amaze me how these cars were put together. Being a (July) 1967 model needless to say it does cause some problems when it comes to finding some replacement parts. I might have to contact you for some advice in this respect which is why I was delighted to find your website. I should ad that not only is she a 1967 model but she is also right-hand drive which makes her even more unique!
The old girl carries a lot of history.