Don Barker’s L633 VW Blue ’67 Beetle

Tell us about the history of your ’67 Beetle?
My son was bitten by the “bug” when he was little. I built a ’67 for his mom, who I divorced in 1990, and he went with me at age 16 (with his Notchback). I bought a set of heads, manifolds and IDA’s from my him in 2004 so he could buy a set of ported Superflows and with new IDA’s off ebay for his Notchback.

After reflecting on his new purchase, he sold me his 2054 “junkyard” bottom end we had built together when he was in high school. I rebuilt the engine and started looking for something to put it in. I couldn’t find anything I liked, until one evening after work he said, “Dad, look at this on ebay! A Zenith Blue ’67 like you had when you were a teenager.” I asked how much, he said they had a “buy it now” for $1350. I told him, “Buy it!” We took a weekend trip to Pismo Beach and towed it home. After getting it, I put on a new German exhaust, new Brosol carb, and all the correct hoses and drove it.

I started accumulating parts to make it like I wanted. All in one step I installed a 2″ narrowed CB beam, dropped spindles with disc brakes, new steering box, narrowed tie rods and torsion bars, 17″ BBS wheels and tires and lowered the rear. Next a set of straight ’67 bumpers from TheSamba were bought and shipped from New Jersey, taken apart and had re-chromed. Then I took apart and welded the RED broken down seats and did them in Wolfsburg West black basketweave. It was starting to look really good for a “roach”. The 2054 was done and dialed in on DRD ‘s dyno at 160 HP at 6,000 RPM. A Rancho “pro-street” trans was fitted with solid mounts, a mid-mount and an EMPI rear disc kit (nothing fit). A genuine Hurst shifter from “VW Drag-Day” and installed everything that week. What a fun car to drive! Nothing was done except a lot of little things like a set of pop-outs, new chrome trim, door panels and stock gray rubber mounts for the next couple of years. The “Roach” needed restoration!

When did you start the restoration?
About mid 2009, the “junkyard” 2054 broke a boss around a lifter bore. It was stripped and sat apart for two years. My poor car deserved so much better! Last year the body was taken off the pan and media blasted, a new rear parcel shelf welded in, bodywork done and painted L639 Zenith Blue, base coat/clear coat. The pan was brought home and stripped by hand with a wire wheel and painted with Eastwood gloss black chassis paint. My son welded up a Kafer bar between the shock towers with struts going to the rear transmission mount. He also gave me his type III torsion bars and spring plates to stiffen-up the rear. The ’67 Beetle has the weakest torsion bars VW ever made!

How long did the restoration take?
It sat apart for two years and wasn’t started until last year and isn’t quite finished. I’ve worked on it almost every day for the past year.

What were some of the challenges you faced during the process?
The headliner was the biggest challenge. I have never done one before, but thanks to research on the samba and taking my time (almost three weeks!) it came out really good. A new wiring harness from Wolfsburg West was installed but, taking my time and following the instructions, I got it done in a couple of weeks. And, everything works!

In your opinion, what makes the ’67 Beetle so unique?
It’s distinctive looks. You can spot one from a long way off. I like he big ’65-’67 glass, the upright headlights, the sloping bumper over-riders, the narrow body trim, wide rear track width, the sloping deck-lid with the “Volkswagen” script and 12 volts.

What parts were the hardest to find?
The bumpers, a formed hood handle, back-up light rubber boots for the wires, old style regulator under the rear seat, a window washer dash button without the picture and one I still can’t find: a black dash handle with the chrome ends.

What is your take on doing a 100% stock restoration VS non stock?
I’m making mine 100% stock from the pan up with modern, high-performance mechanicals under it. If someone in the future wants to put it on a stock pan, it can be done (except the one-piece headliner).

Any ’67 Beetle specific tips or words of wisdom you would like to offer?
Don’t compromise on quality of the parts that you use. Hold out for the correct, ’67 specific parts, preferably from Germany. and don’t cut the sheet metal! Keep the body the way God intended it.

Thanks for letting me tell my story,
– Don

Thanks Don for sharing your story with

Posted by Eric Shoemaker

Hello, I'm Eric. I started Air-Cooled Artifacts (previously, and Lane Russell). I drive a '67 Beetle daily and love to share vintage Volkswagen stories with the world.

  1. Like this car. Perfect blend of stock and custom. Beautiful!

    1. Timm,
      I’d have to agree with you on that!

  2. Don,
    I think your the one I sent my headliner pics to on the Samba, nice job. BTW, the black dash handles with chrome ends are reproductions. If yours are black, they are original. Scratch that one off your list.

  3. Thanks, you guys. Especially you, Eric for starting this site and featuring my car. I’ll keep you posted with photos as I complete other projects on it. As we all know, you never “finish” a restoration, there’s always something else to do. Wolfsburg West carpet is next.

    1. Don,
      No problem! exist so all ’67 owners can tell their unique story.

    2. Hi Don,

      My name is also Don Barker, and I’ve owned a lot of VW’s old and new, but never restored one. My Dad was also into VW’s, his first one was a new ’54 Beetle that he and Mom took cross-country on their honeymoon.

      Love your write-up on the ’67!

      best regards,

      Don Barker
      Coquille Oregon

      1. Hello, “Also” Don Barker! Thanks for commenting! You know–it’s never too late for you to acquire yet another VW. Make this one a ’67 Beetle! Join the “club”–it’s worldwide, you know. jay salser

  4. Don, remember running to the store on drag day when the 2054 was running? I loved how hard that motor pulled and the car could stop on a dime!

    Amazing job as always!

  5. Thanks, Bubba
    Wait until the 2275 is in. Lower RPM “torquer” FK-44 cam. 4 wheel discs are what VW’s are begging for. My stock ’62 had the worst brakes! I had to adjust them at least once a week.

  6. Eric,
    Is the correct ’67 dash handle supposed to have black “escutcheons”? Or chrome?
    I can’t remember.
    Wolfsburg West shows chrome, but out of stock, and everybody else’s have the wrong “squared-off” shape.
    I found one on thesamba with chrome from EIS that looks exactly like WW’s quality. Any good?

    1. It looks good! It might be a WW unit.

  7. I bought the EIS handle. It’s real good quality, maybe WW? I know the chrome escutcheons should be black to be “correct”, but I like them better.

    1. That’s great Don. I think mine has the chrome ends as well. (WW)

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