What Makes a Vintage Volkswagen?

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We’ve discussed what makes a Volkswagen a 1967 Beetle. When Eric began 1967beetle.com, he had in mind to memorialize the Model Year 1967. We’d all probably agree with him—that’s why we are here, right?!

This week a Reader wrote to Eric (and Eric copied to me) that he recently attended a VW event. He drove his unrestored but completely original ’67 Beetle to the show—not necessarily looking to win an award but just to mingle with the VW Community. He made a pointed observation that cars which were original seemed not draw the attention of the judges. In fact, judges appeared to be drawn to Volkswagens which had been altered in some fashion. The three of us batted this back and forth through our e-mails.

I had made a similar point to Eric, a while back, that I had seen the same thing. Highly modified VWs and those which are more weird seem to attract the attention of the crowd and the judges. In some cases there will be an award even for the most altered or worst vehicle!

At every show, I see absolutely stunning restorations which seem to go unnoticed.

I can appreciate that owners have ideas about what they want to do with their cars. They are the ones who drive them. Who am I to criticize or to dictate how they should use something for which they have paid their hard-earned dough.

Even the most “conservative” of us seem to have something to add to our Beetles—mud flaps, bud vase, and the list goes on and on. These things were not original equipment. But, what I’m discussing has to do with alterations to a car which changes that vehicle’s “nature”. In more and more cases, it would cost so much money to return such a car to original specs that it would prove to be unfeasible to attempt. Such a car is “lost” as far as the Collector Community is concerned.

But, here’s my point. Love me or not…I believe that rewarding alterations to these cars sponsors further alterations. It’s only natural that if people see how the judging goes, they will want to follow suit. At subsequent shows, more and more altered cars will appear, hoping to gain favor and status. From my perspective, I see a downward spiral to a species which is becoming more scarce.
What Makes a Vintage Volkswagen?

Getting old has its effects upon one’s outlook on life. Although I’ve never been a fan of highly modified VWs, my thoughts seem to have jelled in these later years. I deal constantly with people who modify their cars. I have learned to live with it (although I sometimes have to bite my tongue!). But, at some point, conservation seems to be the best option if we want to keep these cars around for the next generation.

NOTE—the title above harks to a Volkswagen publication of the same title. The Booklet, published at least as far back as for the 1962 Beetle, illustrated and discussed all of the components which went into that year’s model—distinguishing it from all other cars.

The Finishing Touches for Your Vintage Volkswagen™
The Finishing Touches for Your Vintage Volkswagen™

Jay Salser

My wife, Neva, and I have been driving and working on VWs for going on 40 years. In fact, we raised our family in these cars. Now, we are 76 years old and enjoy VWs as a hobby. The ’67 Beetle always has been our favorite year. We own a '67 Beetle and a '68 Karmann Ghia.

9 Comments

Eric Shoemaker

about 1 year ago

Good article, Jay. I could say so many things about this topic.

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Gavin

about 1 year ago

Jay, I totally agree! The several car show I have attended DO in fact reward and revere altered VW's. Bigger (chromed) engines, custom interiors all earn top honors! As you said, each to their own but finding a period correct beetle is becoming quite a fortune hunt.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 1 year ago

Good one, Gavin!

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jay salser

about 1 year ago

Hello, Gavin...Thanks for registering your feelings here! It is not unusual to see modifications to vintage vehicles. From Model Ts to you-name-it--mods are the name of the game. However, I have discovered that the fewer alterations to a vintage vehicle, the greater its value. At the last show which I attended, I attempted to ferret out the correct cars to photograph so that I could pass these along to my VW friends and associates. Each time that a '67 Beetle is modified, it causes our cars to become more valuable--but at what price? Hang in there, Brother! jay

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Eric Shoemaker

about 1 year ago

I think it's pretty safe to say.... KEEP IT STOCK.. Especially if it's a '67 Beetle.

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jeff gamble

about 1 year ago

Stock Rocks, you go Eric Shoemaker! Find many people oggling over our Lotus white especially with the Sun Roof. fka rag top.

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Eric Shoemaker

about 1 year ago

Ha. Thanks, bud!

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Wayne

about 1 year ago

I like the 57' body on a newer chassis.This gives me the body style I like but with a 1600cc eng.& 12 volt system But I would NEVER take a 54' to 57' & cut it up I look for a VW which is missing vital parts such as matching engine & other major parts leave the classics alone !

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Tim

about 1 year ago

Hey, that's a nice Zenith Blue 67!

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