Joe Sherlock’s L41 Black ’67 Beetle


Sent over by a reader of, Joe’s L41 Black ’67 Beetle is a keeper for sure. Don’t you agree? (Credit: Joe Sherlock)

The Keeper: Our family’s record for length of car ownership goes to our black Volkswagen Beetle sedan, which I purchased new in March 1967 and sold in June 1995. I traded my ’63 Corvette Sting Ray for it and had to put up an extra $310 to get the new Beetle.

The 1967 Volkswagen featured a larger 1493 cc. engine with 53 horsepower. It would do 0-60 mph in a little over 16 seconds. It was the first Beetle with single-unit (non-glass covered) headlights as well as backup lights in rectangular chrome pods.

It also had a 12-volt electrical system and a dual brake system. The heater system was better than the ’63 model; the car even had a center dash defroster outlet – a feature introduced in the 1966 models. 1967 models featured push-button door locks, replacing the 1930-style swing handle found on earlier models.

Our 1967 Beetle was probably the most durable car we’ve ever had. We kept it for 28 years, the longest of any vehicle we’ve owned and registered it in four states during its time with us.
We purchased it in Pennsylvania. When we moved to New Jersey, the Beetle came with us. We brought both of our newborn kids home from the hospital in it.

I took the car on many business trips. I remember a winter drive to Agawam, MA where I gave a talk at a Society of Plastics Engineers meeting. After a few post-lecture rounds of drinks at the bar, I walked to the parking lot and found that my VW Beetle cranked so slowly that it barely started. A few minutes later, the radio announced that the local temperature was minus 22 degrees. But the little Volkswagen eventually fired up and I chugged back to my motel in the crisp snow.

We towed it across country when we moved from New Jersey to Oregon. I piloted my VW Scirocco, pulling our VW Beetle behind with a tow bar. Once we passed Chicago, I felt pretty lonely – very few ‘furrin’ cars. It seemed like every vehicle in Nebraska was a big Ford LTD. Or Chevy Caprice. Upon our arrival in Corvallis OR, the 1967 Bug was used daily for errands and such.11-08-67vwstkr

After some detailed cleanup by me and a fresh professional paint job to cover paint which was worn away in spots, the car won first place in its Class at the 1983 Oregon State University Concours d’Elegance. The class was ‘Imported cars with original POE price of less than $3,000’.

My kids learned to drive a stick shift with the 1967. My son used it as his high-school and college commuter vehicle.

In the late 1980s, the Corvallis Historic Auto Club scheduled a Memorial Day Trip to Mt. Hood. I had planned to take my 1957 Continental Mark II on the trip but I was having some electrical problems with it and decided to take the Beetle instead. Our tour leader had a Model A but suffered mechanical problems enroute and asked me to take over the tour. And so, the little Beetle lead a parade of old cars up to Timberline Lodge where we stayed overnight. By the time we arrived, it was snowing like crazy. Overnight about four inches of new snow fell. No problem for our Volkswagen – it loved snow. Just like all Beetles. I could crest almost any snowy hill in a Beetle, either by partially deflating the rear tires or placing a couple of hefty friends in the back seat.

When we moved to Washington state, our trusty Beetle came with us.

Over the years, we put over 156,000 miles on our Volkswagen. We never rebuilt the engine (it did have a valve job at 88,000 miles – 6/77). The original clutch and pressure plate lasted for over 130,000 miles.
In the summer of 1995, we sold the 1967 Bug to a collector for more than we paid for it new. It was by far the most cost-effective vehicle we’ve ever owed.

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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. Nice! I would have never parted with it!

  2. Great story, particularly the part about towing the Beetle with a Scirocco from New Jersey to Oregon. Ah, youth. I can’t imagine doing it these days, unless you took back roads all the way.

  3. The 1967 I bought a few months back is from same dealership, will double check in morning. I noticed that the invoice has on the lower left side of the invoice. There were no websites back then so wondering what that is about? Great story and I am happy to say I enjoy driving mine.

    1. That’s because his story was posted on that site. This was sent to us by a reader.

  4. Great Story!!

  5. Classic story! A joy to read and quite the history. Thx for sharing…

  6. Joe…I love this story. What great memories your family has with this car. As always–this Beetle was an official member of the family. It strikes a chord with me, too, since I once owned a black ’67 Beetle with the brick red interior and a crank-back sun roof. Are you going to get back into a ’67 Bug anytime soon? I sure hope so! jay salser

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