Passing The Baton – A Vintage Sun Distributor Testing Station

Flash Back to 2016. David Brown, a Volkswagen Trained Technician who worked at several VW Dealerships in Pennsylvania, was contemplating retirement. David had left Volkswagen of America years previously to establish his own air-cooled shop. As a result, he had acquired tools and inventory and was working on customers’ vehicles and was selling parts OnLine.

About that time, he received a request from a customer who wanted a rebuilt Distributor specific to his 1970 Beetle (VW 113-905-205T/Bosch 0-231-137-035). David did not have one available at the moment. He contacted me to see if I might have one and if I would be willing to rebuild it for his customer.

I had the makings and did rebuild the specified Distributor. The deal was to ship to David who would test the part on his Vintage Sun Distributor Testing Station. The long and the short was that the Distributor met the operational criteria. David completed the deal by installing the correct points, condenser, rotor and cap and sold the piece to his customer.

David began teasing me about “your” Distributor Test Station—as he called it. We laughed back and forth—David lives about 1500 miles from me. One day, out of the blue—David showed up in our town—with the Machine. This further cemented our friendship. And, I became the Conservator of his 1940’s era Distributor Test Station.

I lovingly cleaned and polished every part of that Machine. My wife, Neva, made a sterling cover for it. It became a wonderful museum piece!

Fast forward here to two years ago. I had had major surgery and was in declining health. I stopped buying parts-lots and began drastically thinning what parts I had on hand.

We Salsers have numerous local VW Friends. Two of these stood out as possible future Conservators for the Distributor Station. They visited our house one day and spotted the Machine. I watched them become drawn to it as to a magnet! They asked to be able to examine it. I could see it in their eyes! They would make great Conservators!

With David’s consent, I approached this father-son team (Father-Kurt Troeger and Son-Adam Troeger) to see if they wanted to take on the Machine. They did. We ran the Machine and noted the problems it had. The son (a grown, married-with-children and with some hefty degrees under his belt) had the place for the Machine and the expertise to repair it. He researched parts and found a provider of kits for upgrading Vintage Sun Distributor Test Stations.

Thus began the “resurrection” of this vintage museum piece into a modernized and completely viable Test Station.

David Brown and I are proud to see the Historical Test and Calibration Station continue to contribute to The Volkswagen Community.

This Sun Distributor Testing Station has become the subject of subsequent projects. In future installments on, one of these projects, relating to 1967 Beetles, will be discussed in detail. Stay tuned!

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. That’s really neat! I’ve never seen one of those before!

    1. Hello, Todd–It’s great to hear from you–it’s been a while, hasn’t it! This machine is an oldie. It was too good to “junk” and was well worth the effort and dollars spent in its renewal. On the very top is a “roll-a-dex-like affair”. By turning the knob on either end, the specifications for tuning cars/distributors from as far back as 1947 can be viewed as one works the machine. While those specs are not pertinent to Bosch/Volkswagens, they furnish a colorful backdrop for this great machine! That said–the machine CAN be used with many of the older American cars such as Studebaker, Buick, Chevy, Ford, etc., etc. good old American vintage vehicles. As well, the machine can be used to test Speedometers. Stay tuned for a couple more articles which involve this machine. jay

  2. Such a great story. These tools are so unique.

    1. Eric, Brother–Thank you for your great editing assistance, as always, in the publication of this article! jay

  3. Felix Madrigal July 22, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    Hello Jay/Neva and family. Jay, you and your VW friends/experts are amazing. Thanks for another fine article. Please continue to be careful and safe in this TX heat and pandemic(s). Aurora and I continue to be blessed with good health. Take care.

    1. Felix–It is so good to hear from you and to know that you and Aurora are doing well despite the illnesses which encompass us these days. Keep taking care of that Fine, Black 1967 Beetle, Felix! jay

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: