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.
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.