Matthew Keen’s RHD L41 Black ’67 Beetle

Featured ’67 Beetle — Matthew Keen

My Dad bought his ’67 VW Beetle new from Ashford near London. He asked for black (special order) and US Spec bumpers, the interior would be Indian red. He also bought white WEGU mud flaps and a few other accessories including a wooden gear stick knob with a VW logo on the top. At this time, accessories would have been sold by VW, although they may not have originated direct from VW.

My Dad had many happy years driving his beetle, he tinkered with it and did things to keep it on the road, one of which was to cut a hatch in the rear parcel shelf to get to the starter terminals!!

He had a crash and the front quarter had to be replaced (all done by VW) The clutch cable guide needed to be replaced and so VW cut a hole in the central tunnel to re-attach it.

After around 14 years of ownership he sold the beetle, it had done its job and at the time was looking like an old car alongside renaults and Morris Itals!!!

The car was sold and forgotten for a while, but like all good cars my dad always wondered where it was and what happened to it.

Featured ’67 Beetle — Matthew Keen

I myself never forgot his beetle and in 1989 bought my own beetle, I did heater channels and quarter panels, the works. I wanted it black like my Dad’s old car but was told not to as it would be the worst color to paint as it shows up all the imperfections, I painted it red.

In the summer I bought the car we had a brief but amazing meeting of chance, at a show we saw my dads old car, it was still black at the back but in primer at the from. A quick chat to the owner and two pictures and off it went, so many questions but the guy was on his way home so we didn’t stop for long.

Years and years went by, I sold my beetle in ’96 and thought my days with beetles was over.

Featured ’67 Beetle — Matthew Keen

However…. In 2004 I went to Stanford Hall, while there just looking around at all the cars I came across VW Heritage stand and found an interior swatch my amazement at the time I found that I could buy Indian red interior and panels. Now this was always a stumbling block for me, you see I had always hankered after building a replica of my Dad’s car but the interior was always an issue. The interior is the bit I remember from my earliest memories, to get that wrong and it would not be like my dads car…but now it was possible.

That year I bought FPR936E a white 1967 1500 Deluxe. Over the next 4 years I restored the car to my fathers original spec:

Red Interior
US Spec Bumpers

When complete, I took a picture of it in Hounslow which is in the exact place my father took a picture of his way back in ’67 when he had just bought it (outside my Grandparent’s old house)

Featured ’67 Beetle — Matthew Keen

I had put a few forum posts up over the years asking about my dads car OPL505E wondering if it had survived, I lost hope when the DVLA record showed that the car was last taxed in ’96. I thought that was the end…Until last weekend. I received this email

Hi Matt,

Hope you are well. I have been trying to track you down. I just found your email address.

I used to own OPL 505E. I am the guy in the picture at Santa pod talking to your dad (the pic with the green circuit board graphics). Give me a call as I have a few bits from OPL you may want to put on your replica if you still have it!!


Wow, I gave Jason a ring straight away and had a chat about the car.
He had it for a few years and spent his early twenties making it into the car he wanted, it ended up green with shaved door handles. He remembered the hole in the rear parcel shelf and the hole in the tunnel as VW had not replaced the whole cable guide thus making clutch cable a time-consuming affair.

Then he said, “I have a few bit left of the car!!” He had the original gearstick with the wooden gear knob that my dad had bought all those years back!!”

Well today the bits arrived along with the gear knob. After a day of sympathetic restoration the gear knob is looking how I remember it all those years back.

Featured ’67 Beetle — Matthew Keen

To think of the journey of this piece of my family history has gone many miles and come back home, thanks a million!

Thank you, Matthew 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. Great story, and I love the recreated photo. It gives me an idea…

  2. RHD ’67 Beetle! Once again, a great story. I tell every VW but I know about this site. I was at a show last week, and a few other ’67 owners are well aware of your efforts. Keep it up!

    1. Thank you!!!

  3. Another great historical story. Now if I could just find my dad’s 1960 type2 bus!

    1. Ha! You would be a dangerous man if you still had a trailer.

  4. Oh man, what a heart warming story, filled with emotion and real love. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I remember i forgot my teddy bear on the back seat of the uncle’s ’67 lot of years ago, I would enjoy to find the guy who bought my uncle’s beetle as you lucky guy turn the earth over to find your wood stick knob. I like your kind of history and goal. Nice story

    1. Agreed. It’s a great story! We hope to feature more like it.

  6. Many thanks for the write up, here is a link to the gear
    and a picture of my finished car

  7. Also just so you guys know this was no easy restoration, here is the picture of the car after I cut out all the rust

    and a picture of the 67 only rear inner wing suspension mount I fabricated from sheet

    1. Matthew,
      What did your restoration run in terms of final cost?

      1. well it was over 4 years and I did all the paint,bodywork upholstery and headlining myself so it was just materials, I would say about £2500 all in

  8. all I need now is a pair of half decent original vw towel rail bumpers…anyone got a pair?

    1. Not NOS, but there’s always Wolfsburg West.

      1. I think I would probably go for harrington group stainless bumpers when I save up enough

        1. The quality on those isn’t great. Also, I think they are made in Vietnam. The WW bumpers are spot on.

          1. I have yet to see a harrington one close up, maybe someone with them could do you a feature like the ww bumper review

          2. I’m working on one!

  9. question for anyone who knows, the interior of a 67. I am a little confused as to weather the basket weave covered the whole seat or it it was just the centre section, I cannot for the life of me remember from my childhood if my dads seats were like this [IMG][/IMG] or like this
    can anyone help me out?

    1. Matthew,
      From the factory, they covered they whole seat.

    2. Also…. Wolfsburg West is the only place that offers the correctly wrapped seat cover. They are produced for them.

  10. grief here is another 67 with the basket weave stopping before the top, is this one incorrect ?–26288_9.jpg

    1. Matthew,
      I’ve asked a few other air cooled guys about this to be sure. Now, I’m seeing stock cars that have both.

  11. Check your Owner’s Manuals. Mine shows the basket weave pattern covering the entire seat back (where one’s back rests) and going over the top portion. For Manuals that came in German cars to the USA check pages 6 and 13. Page numbering may vary with editions but the photo illustrations probably will be the same. jay

  12. Amazing story. I have a UK RHD 67 in black with US Spec bumpers (black interior though) sitting in Houslow (West London) outside my work right now! When I first saw your car I honestly thought it was mine.

  13. my car as in a new book by Horst A. Friedrichs, see the similarity!

    1. Very cool!

  14. Now in 2019, OPL 505E is alive and very well. I am the current owner and it is still very much loved

    1. Good to hear from you!

  15. Richard Hollingswirth January 26, 2019 at 4:22 am

    Hi Eric, just came across this story of OPL505E.
    My wife brought the car from a garage and we had it for a good few years.
    I worked with Jason and we sold it to him.
    We had a lot of fun and enjoyment with ‘her – Beatie’.
    We may have a few pictures etc if you could put us in touch with Matt.

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