Over time, I’m learning never to say never and never to say always—when it comes to some of the knotty problems which we of the 1967 Beetle Community confront. Oh, yes—a lot of the time there WILL be an explanation for what appears to be a radical problem. But—what about those other situations which seemingly have no quick answers? Hummmmm!
The latest paradox arose when Eric copied me with a message which he received from Reader Justin Heath. Justin said:
“Hi Eric, It’s been a while since I’ve asked you about some ‘67 trivia. I’ve recently acquired an American spec Right Hand Drive (RHD) ‘67 Beetle. Unusual? It seems so… Very cool story about its travels. I’ll get into that later. But first, I wanted to ask about the ‘67 Rear View Mirror. I know that some ‘67 Rear Views had their stems painted black and the mirror head had a black plastic backing. Was this for the entire run of ‘67 VINs? Or (let’s say) did early ‘67s come with the chrome-stem/aluminum-head Rear View? Finally… is the black/black Rear View Mirror ‘67 only, or did that style continue into 1968?
After some initial exchanges, Justin added:
“When I acquired the car, the owner claimed he was the fourth owner and the car came with some detailed history. It was shipped to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) from the Factory, then spent time in Malaysia and Indonesia before coming to Nor-Cal around 1980. It was originally owned by a college professor.”
During the brief research I’ve done, I’ve been told that there were a few select RHD markets that had the option of either Euro or American Spec ‘67s. Thailand and possibly Japan being just two that were named. I have no idea how to confirm this….but it makes for fun head-scratching moments.
I asked about the Mirror because I’ve seen the black/black ‘67 Mirror on more than one occasion. In my case, this RHD Bug was in need of a Rear View Mirror since the one it came with was bad. I found a RHD black/black Rear View on eBay UK, so I bought it. Knowing how hard it is to find RHD parts in the US, I jumped on it regardless of its color…it was for RHD!”
Eric commented that his ’67 Beetle has the black-stemmed Mirror with the black plastic back, and further explained that it was his understanding that the car came from the factory with the present Mirror.
I wanted to say:
“I’ve never seen a black/black Mirror for 1967 Beetles.”
Eric provided a photo of his car’s Mirror.
Then, he produced a comparative photo of the chromed (bright) version and the black/black version of Mirrors.
No denying the fact that there were–and are–black/black Mirrors!
You know, you see your own car day-after-day and you begin to believe that YOUR car is the only one out there which exhibits the Wolfsburg stamp of approval.
I looked again at Todd Van Winkle’s 1967 Standard Beetle Article. Sure enough, Todd makes a point of noting his black/black Rear View Mirror!
Furthermore, Justin sent a photo of the black/black Mirror which he purchased through eBay UK.
Knowing, now, the basic history of Justin’s car (not destined for consumption in the USA from the Factory), plus the facts about Todd’s Standard Beetle, I began to think that perhaps the black/black Mirror was specific to Standard Beetles, and for versions of the ’67 Bug destined for markets other than for the USA.
Based upon these “factoids”, I thought, perhaps, the black/black Mirrors were created for those other markets and ultimately became a Dealer replacement Mirror.
There was the nagging thought about that plastic backing of the black/black Mirror.
From the photo which Justin sent of the Mirror which he purchased from eBay, the backing strongly resembled the backing for the ’68 and later Beetle Rear View Mirrors!
Why would VWaG come out with a Mirror with a plastic backing when it already had the bright Mirror in use for years 1965-1967?
What would any of this have to do with RHD ‘67s?
I called David Brown of Pennsylvania. You’ll recall that David only recently retired from the active VW Scene but VW still runs hot in his blood! I put David to thinking on the subject. He told me that, indeed, he has seen the black/black Mirrors but had not put much thought into the “why” of them. He opined that perhaps the Mirrors were from the Mexico or Brazil plants and came to be used as replacement Mirrors for ’65-’67 Beetles.
I let all of this ferment. Then, I decided to dig a bit—I have boxes of parts sitting which I rarely open. I dug through my Mirror boxes and what to my wondering eye should appear, but a black/black Mirror!
I cleaned it as best I could. Then I pulled a good representative bright Mirror from the pile.
I examined and compared the VW Part Numbers. All of my bright Mirrors were: 113-857-511C.
The black/black example was numbered 111-857-511P
Both examples show the VW Logo. But, the Manufacturers’ Logos are different. The bright Mirror sports a manufacturer’s Logo of a U within a carat. The black/black Mirror sports a raised rectangle in which is a circle around the Logo reading “hohe”.
Armed with the new “evidence”, I again called David so that we could discuss it. And, again, no real solution came to the fore. But, as David always says—our discussion “got the numbers flowing again…”
Here’s what he wrote after this last phone conversation:
“Hello JK , It was good to talk to you about the Mirrors, got the part numbers flowing again, lol. I was able to find some references to interior Mirrors in those New and Replacement Parts listings that I mentioned to you.
Supplement 11/68 to the Type 1 Parts Book lists 113-857-511C as being superseded by 111-857-511P ! Other than remaining Dealer stocks, this would be the replacement Mirror for ‘65-‘67 Sedans and is what is called for in my VW Parts Book of that (‘68-‘70) era.
By this I would guess that the Standard Standard should have a normal chrome stem with aluminum case as should all 1967s.
I have not found an introduction date for the 111-857-511P in the Book but am quite sure that it was after 1967 production ended. David”
Where does this leave us?
I thought, based on the limited information which has surfaced, that Beetles from 1965 through 1967 left the Wolfsburg Factory with the bright Mirrors (113-857-511C).
Then…Volkswagen authorized replacement Mirrors (for ’65-’67 Beetles) from 1968 onward were black/black Mirrors.
I knew that this suggested conclusion was going to spark some discussion. If it did, I hoped that we could learn more about the elusive black/black Mirror.
Subsequent to having written all of the above…..nagging questions remained.
I tried flipping all of the 113-857-511C bright) mirrors which I have. Yes—it seemed that by rotating the mirror so that the long part pointed the opposite direction, the bright mirrors could be used for either Left Hand Drive (LHD) or Right Hand Drive (RHD).
To test this, I sat in the passenger’s seat of my personal 1967 Beetle. I rotated the Mirror.
No matter how much I adjusted, I could not see the complete rear windshield without craning my head to the left. This is counter productive, of course, because at that point, a person sees his own face!
Therefore—I theorized that there must be bright Mirrors specific to the LHD and to the RHD Beetles.
On the other hand, the black/black Mirror, which I had at hand, has a different socket which allows the mirror to be rotated and aimed so that it can be used with either LHD OR RHD.
I sat on this Article, and it was a good thing. Shortly, I received further information from both Justin Heath and David Brown.
Justin wrote: “I worked on both the bright Mirror (which came with the car) and the new black/black Mirror (from eBay UK). Here are the results:
Black/Black Mirror: 111-857-511P The stem socket DOES allow for full range of motion to suit either RHD or LHD cars when the Mirror Head is spun 180 degrees accordingly.
Bright Mirror: (has two part numbers) 114-857-511C / 112-857-511E When the bright Mirror Head is spun 180 degrees, it DOES NOT allow a range of motion to see out of the rear window from a LHD driver’s perspective. However, it does have proper full range of motion from a RHD driver’s perspective. Some lube in the stem socket freed it up from being stuck (as I received it) and allowed it its full possible range of motion.
It is unknown if the bright Mirror is the same Mirror that has stayed with my car from birth. It simply is the Mirror that was in the car when I purchased it.”
Then, David Brown discovered additional information from his Parts Manuals:
“There are, indeed, separate LHD and separate RHD bright Mirrors listed. There are more differences between them than just the pivot position. 112- is a Mirror for the 111- Standard RHD Beetle. 114- is a Mirror for the 113- Deluxe RHD Beetle. So, the RHD Standard and RHD Deluxe Beetles BOTH used the same bright Mirror.”
- Presumably the 113-857-511C bright Mirror was the factory Mirror for all LHD 1967 Beetles.
- Presumably the 112-857-511E /114-857-511C bright Mirror was the factory Mirror for both RHD Standard and RHD Deluxe Beetles.
- Presumably, the black/black Mirror was a replacement Mirror issued which could replace either LHD or RHD Mirrors for 1965-1967 Beetles regardless of their country of destination.
As we hear from more 1967 Beetle Owners, hopefully we will be able to add to this Analysis and to understand more fully the styles of Mirrors used for 1967 Beetles.
I want to thank Justin Heath for permission to use his name, his discussions and his photos.
David Brown’s input always is appreciated. Thankfully he has conserved “ancient” Volkswagen documentation.
My wife, Neva, patiently photographed until I was satisfied.