Mark Tunnell is a long time reader and friend of 1967beetle.com. The time has come for his L639 Zenith Blue ’67 Vert to find a new home. In his own words. Full story and older information by Jay Salser.
In order to tell you how I recently came to acquire a L639 Zenith Blue 1967 Beetle Convertible, I have to start in, well …. 1967. Unlike some of you, my good buddies who love these cars, not only was I around in 1967, but 1967 was HUGE for me!
It was dubbed the “Summer of Love” and, sure enough, somehow I landed my first REAL girlfriend! After so many false leads and feints, this was beyond fantastic. And this girl had an older sister who had just bought an L620 Savannah Beige Beetle. We seemed to spend a lot of time in the cramped back seat (the younger sister, pay attention). She also taught me how to drive the manual transmission. Then, just as everyone whom I knew was going to San Francisco, or at least singing about it (rest in peace, Scott McKenzie), my visa came through to go to work in Switzerland. That is where I spent the Summer of 1967 – in a resort hotel – in the Alps. Lucky, you say? It should have been, but each day seemed to drag the whole summer long–I was homesick and I missed that girl. Our long-awaited reunion in September was sublime. I remember every song we sang in that VW which was on the radio in the Fall of ’67, and all of the movies and concerts we went to in her sister’s ’66 (sigh).
After that, I drove a 1970, a 1973, a 411, a Westfalia Camper and a Rabbit. But with marriage and kids, I migrated into several Ford station wagons, blah, blah, blah.
I’ve been happily married for 35 years to a wonderful lady. I’m a grandpa. I do admit to having grown somewhat nostalgic. I love history. A few years back I bought an original 1922 Ford Model T Woodie Wagon. Henry sold 15 million T’s, the leader in the number of cars produced for a single model – until the little German car beat that handily with 22 million copies sold. So now I have one of each! It’s been fun learning all about Beetles again.
My VW is a 1967 Karmann Cabriolet. The VIN is 157343252. A letter from Volkswagen, A.G., indicates that this car was manufactured on Thursday, November 10, 1966–the early part of the ’67 model year. Indeed it still has some 1966 features in it, before the complete switch-over occurred. Only 7,597 VW convertibles were built in 1967, and, of these, only 6,349 were exported to the USA. Jay Salser tells me that research indicates only 5% of most cars survive to their 30th year. That would be about 390. At 46 years old, this car is comparatively rare. In fact, Jay believes that the number of ’67 convertibles restored to factory condition is extremely small.
The number of the engine in the car is HO 473 677. According to VW’s records, this indicates that it is the new-for-1967 larger 1500cc engine. It also indicates an engine manufacture date in early November, 1966. This number is recorded by the dealer in the 1967 Owner’s Manual. This is, indeed, the car’s original engine. The letter from Volkswagen, A.G., states that the car was shipped to America on November 19, 1966. The car eventually became part of the inventory at Pearson-Miller, Inc., then a Volkswagen dealership in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts. The dealership is still in existence, but currently sells used cars.
My research indicates that the original purchaser was Minnie W. Greenleaf, who lived in an apartment house on Perkins Square in Jamaica Plain, not far from Brookline, Massachusetts. The date of purchase was April 5, 1967, and the car was delivered to her two days later, on April 7, 1967. Minnie was born October 16, 1911, so she was 55 years old when she picked out this car painted in L639 Zenith Blue. She owned it until 1974, as far as I can tell from the service records still in the car. They show that she faithfully took the car to the dealership every 3,000 miles for servicing. The service records stop in April of 1974, with the mileage recorded as 59,895. I believe that she sold it shortly after that and the new owner took the car elsewhere for servicing.
Although I do not know who the next owner(s) were, from a windshield sticker still on the car, it was registered in Maine by 1998. In 2002, a Charles E. Wigglesworth, Sr. bought the car and took it to Kennebunk. He had a summer place there, and the car was used during the summers as the family grocery-getter. It was stored during the winters, which accounts for how relatively rust-free it is.
During his ownership, the exterior chrome was replaced, the car was repainted and a new convertible top cover was installed.
In July, 2012, the car was in Webster, Massachusetts, where Rudy Pastoreck saw it, approached the owner, and acquired it. Rudy operates “Classic Motor Car Company” of Webster, Mass., and at any time he has an inventory of 100 classic cars for sale. He advised me that he did not often get into Volkswagens, but he liked this car. He advertised it in Hemmings Motor News, which is where I happened to come across it in my search for a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible. I drove up to see him and we negotiated a price. I drove “Ms. Minnie” home on December 8, 2012. I named her after the original owner. She was stock, and in pretty good shape for 46 years old. Minimal rust. The interior is original. I’ve decided to leave some of the patina as is. The engine was due for an overhaul, which was accomplished by the wizardry of Tom Silveri, the knowledgeable proprietor of Tom’s Volkswagen Service, West Chester, Pennsylvania. The engine runs great now – I love listening to the sound of the old air-cooled engine.
I located a vintage Blaupunkt “Frankfurt” radio, built to U.S. specifications. It receives AM, FM and shortwave. I had it refurbished and installed. It bears the serial number Z 627437, corresponding to a production date of Calendar Year 1966, which would be correct for the car.
I don’t have to tell you about the iconic nature of the 1967 Beetle. I decided that I had to get a ’67 and I wanted to find a Convertible. This model year “is regarded by many enthusiasts as the most desirable of all Beetles, combining, as it does, the very best elements of the classic design with the infinitely more driveable nature of its improved engine and enhanced handling characteristics”. (Stroud, Jon; Little Book of Beetle, G2 Entertainment, U.K., 2011). The ’67 model has been hailed as the “best year” of the Beetle. I agree.
Thanks, Mark, for sharing your ’67 with 1967beetle.com. Who’s going to make an offer?