Steve Myer’s L595 Fontana Grey ’67 Beetle

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.

SONY DSC

Best regards,
Steve

Posted by Eric Shoemaker

Hello, I'm Eric. I started 1967beetle.com. I also own Lane Russell, a leading supplier of VW parts for your classic Volkswagen restoration. I drive a '67 Beetle daily and love to share vintage Volkswagen stories with the world.

  1. Richard A Diaz April 29, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    Beautiful and a great accomplishment!

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  2. What a wonderful story. I enjoyed that. Good luck getting her all put back together.

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  3. Hello, Steve…I love Your Story. Myrtle is a car worth conserving. She will see lots more action over the coming years, I’m sure. jay

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  4. Bravo and good work Steve! And what great fortune to find a bride whose father is a beetle mechanic and enthusiast. A twofer! I would have married her too! Continue to enjoy your 67 Beetle with the crossed up steering controls!

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  5. Nice as they always are and if someone likes these kids, I am number one (Numero) uno (1) and I have them in my BLOOD since 1966

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  6. I can say the VW Bugs have been in my blood since Disney’s The Love Bug and when I painted a blue bug in junior high after school art club. My first car was a 67 bug and I have one again. I understand the love.

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  7. Thanks guys for your comments. I should have mentioned that in 1970 I spent a year working in Germany as a student. I picked up a second hand beetle as a run about and eventually brought it back to the UK. It was my third car and was bright orange in keeping with the times.
    I kept it for a couple of years until I one day I was accosted in a local car park by a chap who wanted to buy it urgently. He was moving to Switzerland and needed a leftie. How could I refuse?

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    1. Steve,
      The German models of that era were all left hand drive. I own a 1972 Super with a 1300 dual port AB engine. For 1300cc it hauls ass and mine actually appears to be a Sport model (VW1302 S)
      Does your ’67 Beetle have cloth upholstery? My ’72 has cloth upholstery and was originally a dark blue called Lapis Blue. It has faded to a light blue except where it wasn’t exposed to the sunlight. The body color is Marina Blue (L54) and the only upholstery color was Lapis Blue. The artificial leather is a dark blue but not navy. My headliner is also not perforated but printed to look perforated..
      What about your headliner?

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      1. I forgot to mention that you can find a lot of information on TheSamba, but most of the cars folks talk about are cars equipped for the USA. European cars tend to be much different.

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      2. Hi Paul
        I’m pretty sure my righthand drive 67 was made in Germany. Not sure where VW were building the Beetles at that time other than Germany and Mexico although I do believe that some may have been constructed in Ireland.
        Originally, mine had an off-white vinyl interior and in fact, I discovered under the black covers the original upholstery. Unfortunately, it is split and too well-worn to be retrievable. For some reason whoever chose to recover the front seats by adding covers they opted to replace the complete back seat cover as that is black. I suppose it could be a complete replacement seat but I can’t see that anyone would have opted for black rear seats and off-white front ones!

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      3. Headliner was definitely perforated but again it was past its sell-by date and was removed along with the rest of the interior vinyl when we resprayed her last year.

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        1. Most of the headliners that were made from a vinyl material only had the center panels of the headliner under the roof perforated. The remainder of the material was printed. The panel near the sun visors was printed as was the panel nearest the rear window. All of the surrounding material was printed. Consider what would have happened with the material that was glued to the body if it was all perforated.

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  8. My Fontana grey 67 is also a July model one of the last 6 volt 1300s.you said you replaced the engine with a 1200 shouldn’t it have been 1300

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    1. That’s what I thought but checking the original engine number it appears it was a 1200 even though the sign on the rear says otherwise. It could be that the engine had been replaced before but not sure how I can find that out. Any ideas? I have the chassis number and other bits and pieces of paper.

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      1. Get a copy of the birth certificate. One of the Volkswagen museums in Germany can make you a birth certificate from the production records. Ask around or maybe someone here knows how to go about getting that piece of information.

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  9. I forgot to mention it was 6 volts originally but had it converted to 12 volts when I replaced the engine.

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  10. You didn’t mention if or how you painted the bead or fender welt. I my limited experience it seems that even the welt that was body color doesn’t get painted if it is replaced. I have a lot of experience with antique cars and painted fender welt. Back in the early 1970s I worked at a shop that specialized in the restoration of Studebakers. Fender welt was used on all the post war Studebakers that had clam-shell rear fenders and it was painted even from the factory. It was interesting how they did it. Fender welt was used on many American cars from the 1910s through the 1950s and unlike the plastic type VW used, the American manufacturers used a sealed fabric strip with a twisted paper core to for the bead. The fabric had to be painted to seal it and provide protection to the fabric.
    When Studebaker painted the cars with fender welt they used extra long bolts to hold the fender on the body but with a large gap and the fender welt was hung on the bolts with a rope like clay seal pressed against the inside and outside surface of the welt strip. After painting and curing the welt was pressed against the body, the fender then pressed against the welt and then the bolts and plates installed and tightened. The four long bolts were removed and replaced with the standard bolts and plates. Instead of using simple washers, Studebaker also used a steel plate about an inch and a half wide by about 4inches in length. The top edge of the plate was bent 90 degrees to create an area or lip about 3/16 wide that fit tight at the top inside of the fender edge and exerted more pressure on the fender to body joint than a simple washer system would do.
    When the bolts were tightened, the clay sealant would get squeezed into the holes in the body and fender effectively sealing the two parts together. I plan on doing something similar when I put back the colored welt in my Super Beetle. When I came out of storage in 2012 it had the colored welt or bead, but some how it was replaced with the unpainted/uncolored version while it was in Germany. The same paint materials that are used on the flexible body parts on new cars can be used to paint the black fender welt/bead and installed on a Beetle.

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  11. In addition, if you are doing a restoration or something similar, I suggest that instead of using a seam sealer that you used 3M Body Schutz (Cream). It is similar or maybe identical to what VW used to seal the seams and sound proof the early FWD Rabbits/Golf.
    When you replace the floor pans, spray them with an epoxy primer and one coat of a one shot (enamel with hardener or a urethane with hardener, not a clear coat product) color coat and finish with body schutz over the seams and the entire floor pan. This will effectively seal the seams and will add sound deadener. You can do the same thing after painting the fenders (wings) and installing them on the body. Then spray body schutz on the inside seam of the fender to body. This will mud-proof and seals the seam against water intrusion and future rust. While you are there you can spray the under fender area especially the body and finish with a coat of color. The color coat sticks to body schutz like glue and the body schutz adds sound deadening along with rock chip protection. This same idea was used by American manufactures in the 1980s along rocker panels and the front valence. A thin coat of body schutz was sprayed on and then covered with body paint. This prevented paint chips. These areas can also be sprayed over the schutz with flex additive added to the paint.

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