Don Hooper’s – L282 Lotus White ’67 Beetle

I grew up in Van Nuys, California. My first car was a 1958 VW Beetle that I learned to drive in, and that my father passed along to me in about 1967. This sparked my interest in VW Bugs, which evolved into a love of bathtub Porsches. I became aware, in 1968 and 1969, how US auto safety regulations made VW change such details of their cars as the bumpers, the dashboard, the knobs and seats, etc. I didn’t like those changes then, and still don’t now. I formulated that the 1967 Beetle was the pinnacle of VW Bug development, reaching perfection in all its details, and only going downhill after that.

The 58 Bug moved along and a very stock Lotus White ‘67 Sedan became my daily driver, through my early working years in Los Angeles. Several 356 Porsches passed through my hands in the 1970s and ‘80s, after kids came along. At the same time, I remained a big fan of the 1967 VW, often times driving down to Irvine, in Orange County, for the annual Bug-In Shows. I always had an eye out for clean, stock-looking ‘67 Bugs to admire. I remember one Bug-In Show where there were matching ‘67 Cabriolets for sale, one light blue, and the other beige, in as-new, never-sold condition. I think they were priced around $5500 each, which was way out of my league for a Beetle. All I could do was drool over those two examples.

In the ‘70s and ‘80s the VW Beetle was ubiquitous in Southern California. Bugs in every sort of condition were everywhere you looked. But Convertibles were not often seen. Since I was a big fan of Drop-top 356 Porsches, I naturally sought a Drop-top ‘67 VW bug. But I seldom saw one, until one day in 1979 when I spied one scruffy-looking, but in my favorite color, Lotus White, with old black and yellow plates, in a driveway of a home just a few miles from where I lived in Granada Hills, California. I knocked on the door of the house, and asked the young woman who answered if I could buy the VW in her driveway. She said “Yes!” But then she explained that the engine was worn out and needed replacing. I could see that the top was torn, and the fenders banged up. But the paint appeared to be original, as did the worn interior. A look under the car revealed a dry solid pan and a well-oiled engine. I made a deal then and there to buy the car for $675.

I soon figured out that I had bought my Cabriolet from the daughter of the original owner, as the sales invoice copy was in the Crest Motors Inc. owner’s blue vinyl booklet in the glove box. I found the warranty and maintenance service stamp pages as well as some past service receipts. Crest Motors VW was in Escondido, California, a little north of San Diego. That’s where the first owner lived, before moving to the San Fernando Valley and apparently passing the car to his daughter.

I also found that in only 12 years, the original engine had already been lost, since the tired and leaky motor in the car at the time was not the H03 noted on the original sales invoice. Oh well. I had my Porsche mechanic build a new motor to 1500 specs—it still resides in the car today. For $300, I had a new vinyl top made and installed by Denny Nish Interiors, a well-known San Fernando Valley hot rod tuck n’ roller. That top has held up well and still covers the car. It stays up most of the time now. We retained the original cabriolet roof padding and headliner, and chrome trim pieces.

In the 1980s, VW sales stores were located in all of the various communities within the San Fernando Valley. There was Klein-Foreman Motors of Van Nuys, Dick Joyce VW of Sepulveda, Michelmore Motors, Sanucci, and LaTorre VW of Reseda, Jack McAfee VW of Burbank, Mission VW of San Fernando and Europa Motor Cars of North Hollywood, and many others. LaTorre VW became “my” store and I visited there often to buy new weather-strip, seals, and carpet pieces for my Bug. I didn’t replace anything that didn’t need it so as not to lose any good original parts. The front door panels, floor sound deadener, back seat upper and cushion, rear carpet, glove box, headliner, all glass except the windshield, knobs, and rubber floor mats are still original to the car. So are the trunk liner and wiring cover. All the paint in the interior is still original and so is the paint on the main body.

The late Bob Scott, of Vintage Parts on San Fernando Road in Glendale, California, was a reliable source for hard to find parts through the years. I replaced, or had repaired, damaged fenders and hoods on the car and had them painted to [almost] match the original paint on the body. I put Michelin XZX 165SR15 radials on the car in approximately 1981, and they still are holding air. (I have stayed off the freeways in the car for the last 30 years.) The faux, wire-wheel beauty rings were retained from my first ‘67 Sedan. There is an original jack and tool pouch in the trunk, along with the original black canvas boot.

So, my ‘67 beetle Convertible has been a faithful, weekend play car for nearly 40 years, and remains in the same condition now as it was in the mid-1980s. Since it resided nearly all its life in the dry San Fernando Valley, rust has not invaded. It never has been crashed, nor was it ever in rain, and seldom washed, while I’ve owned it. The California Car Duster, damp towels and a vacuum cleaner have kept it clean. Now titled and registered with period tags in Virginia, I still display my original CAL black and yellow plates, just for fun, inside Crest Motors VW frames. This Beetle’s build date was September 19, 1966. It was imported to Volkswagen Pacific Inc., Culver City, CA, and was first sold on November 4, 1966, by Crest Motors for $2,347.62. It has 132, 885 miles on the odometer. Long may she roll!

What a great story, Don. Although you obviously had some VWs to get away from you, how lucky you are to have retained this great example of a 1967 Convertible! Thanks for taking the time to relate the details of your VW Ride.


Posted by Jay Salser

My wife, Neva, and I have been driving and working on VWs since 1976. In fact, we raised our family in these cars. Now, we are retired 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.

  1. Fantastic article, Don and Jay. I love seeing all of the original details.

    To add, I also deal a lot with Vintage Parts. Shawn, Bob’s son recently too passed away. We’re loosing way too many of the VW community. I believe Vintage Parts will soon be sold off and closed.

  2. Very nice!

    1. Hello, Ken in Singapore. I hope that you have been able to find the parts for your ’67 Beetle following that
      accident where the Taxi hit your car. Keep up the good work there restoring those wonderful VWs! jay

  3. Nice 67! Cool to hear Don mention all those VW resources / dealerships in the San Fernando Valley from back in the day. Remember most of them. Was nice when we could go to the VW dealship to buy a part.

    1. Hello, Timm…I agree with you. I was just telling Neva today about stopping at the local VW parts place to talk with Staff and customers. Sadly, those days, which seemed to be a normal part of VW Life, have disappeared for good! I am blessed to have a great VW Mechanic here with whom I can discuss Volkswagens. We have to take advantage while it is granted to us! jay

      1. Jay,
        Have we ever told you how much we appreciate you?

        1. Thank you, Amanda. I feel like one of the Shoemaker Family, actually! I cannot express how much pleasure I derive from meeting so many 1967 Beetle People–You opened this door of opportunity and I have been so happy to help your Enterprise! jay

  4. Michael Buettell November 4, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Great story. A California “Black” plate starting with the letter “T” on a ’67 car is pretty rare; however, it makes sense since it was purchased in late ’66. Most ’67s sold in Ca had plates starting in “U” or even “V.” Don, take care of that running board material. That looks original, and finding that color is getting harder and harder. Looks like the passenger front fender got replaced somewhere along the way.

    1. Hi, Mike…your comment about the CA Black Plates is good and interesting material. And, I agree about that running board material. Just the other day someone was inquiring how and where to acquire some for his own car. I hope that you are enjoying your superb ’67 Bug, Mike! jay

  5. I love seeing stories and Bugs like this. Thanks for sharing and keeping it in such good shape.

  6. Hello bug friends,
    thanks for enjoying my car story. I swear it is 98% true! The running board covers I believe came from LaTorre VW in the early 80s, along with the front rugs, rear door panels, splash guards, and all the door and window seals. The original black running board rubbers were scorched from the So. CAL sun. That right front tin is one of the replacement pieces as old eagle-eye noted. Before I fled CAL this year I have spent 50 years studying 1960s era CAL license plates and eagle-eye speaks general truth about T,U,V series plates. But there was variance as plates were distributed around all the various counties of CAL by DMV. So, T plates were not all that uncommon on early model year 67 cars. I want to thank Eric, Amanda, Jay, and Neva for this great blog. In my experience, the most interesting part of the old car hobby, no matter the marque, is the people and their car stories. My story of this car is not really unusual. But, it needs to be told to keep enthusiasm for the hobby alive. Thanks to there is a way for that to happen.

    1. Don…I just went through your article again–viewing the photos. I just saw the key holder in the ignition. I bet that there’s a story t here too! jay

      1. Hi Jay-
        that is a 1950s-60s type of key holder or case made in the unique shape of our favorite people’s car! Dealerships and auto repair shops would have them made as advertizing pieces.
        My example came from Vito’s International Auto Repairs, a VW specialty shop in Ridgewood, NY. Old advertizing key holders are fun to find! Thanks for spotting it in my photographs….

  7. Great story Don,, love the 930 (Turbo) black plates and those faux wire wheel rings.

  8. ” In my experience, the most interesting part of the old car hobby, no matter the marque, is the people and their car stories.” I could not have said it better.

  9. Another GREAT ’67 example!! Congrats on keeping it alive and original. I note that, being an early 67 model, it still has the ’66 style front seatback release levers. When in the 67 production run, did they switch to the ‘side of the seatback’ release knob? Just curious.

  10. favorite part of that 67′ is that beautiful,and rare decklid!!

  11. Ross Grandanette November 21, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Really nice original rust free 67 conv. They are getting rare. I got mine about 25 years ago in Idaho. Thought I got a bargain. Not compared to yours.

    1. Rare they are, Ross! Convertible Volkswagens were much more prone to moisture infiltration so that a great number simply rusted beyond reclamation possibilities. I am so happy that you have one. You are the envy of many an air-cooled enthusiast! jay

  12. Enjoyed the story very much. What was most interesting to me is that your car was built on September 19th 1966, which is the same date my car was built on! I also grew up in the San Fernando Valley, Reseda to be exact, but moved to Cincinnati, Ohio as an adult. My bug is hard top. In 1967 my grandmother purchased it used for $700 to give to my mother. In 1987 my mother gave it to me and it is still going strong. Plan to pass it on to my children.

  13. hey, thanks for the note Rob. Van Nuys Wolves here. Big rivals of the Birmingham Braves and the Reseda Regents. We very well could have passed one another back in the 70s and 80s on Reseda Blvd, or Sherman Way, Vanowen or Tampa Ave. Glad to hear from another SFV 67 bug aficionado! Keep on Buggin!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: