Eric Shoemaker of Air-Cooled Artifacts recently received a Reader’s question that we discussed.
Eric sometimes will copy a question to me for consideration. This one had me stumped.
The Reader remarked that he had purchased his 1967 Beetle new. With it had come an Aluminum Tag.
He described the Tag and the 6 numeric digits which were stamped into it. Not only that, but the Tag also was stamped with the VW Logo. There was a hole punched through the Tag at one end.
“Of what possible use could this Tag be?”.
Immediately, I thought of the Tags which came with Factory Carburetors—which mostly have gotten lost or tossed along the way. But—I had no way to compare the numerals stamped into one of them with the Reader’s Tag’s numerals.
I told the Reader that I would check with someone who likely could explain the reason for the Tag.
And, I did just that.
I contacted David Brown, whom I call “my go-to parts expert”. The response was immediate.
“Hello, JK. I am betting that the numerals on that Tag are the last numerals of the Chassis VIN (Vehicular Identification Number). I recall those Aluminum Tags from dealing with the new cars when they were delivered to the Dealers by the auto-carriers. (Having the VIN Tag on the Key Ring) made it easy to match the Keys to the cars upon delivery, new car prep and so on.
I used to find these Tags still on old key rings. Apparently many folks didn’t know what they were but did not dispose of them. Most Dealers probably left them on a ring with the new car Keys. I had a bunch of them at one time but now (?)—don’t know if I’ll find even one of those.”
I asked the Reader to check the 6 stamped digits against his ’67 Beetle’s VIN. He was ecstatic, telling me that the 6 digits matched exactly his car’s VIN.
With this information in hand, I contacted Richard Marcoux who has two 1967 Beetles which have not been restored or even modified. Did he have one or both of these VIN Key Tags?
Imagine my delight when Richard responded in the affirmative! He did have one Tag which corresponded to the VIN on his 1967 SunRoof Edition Beetle.
We discussed the Tag. Richard agreed to help with this article by sending photos of the Tag.
Richard measured the Tag. It measures approximately 10mm wide and 44.45mm long. The Tag has a hole in one end for fitting onto a Key Ring.
As you can see from the photos, there are no hyphens or spaces between the digits of the stamped VIN.
The complete VIN would read 117220xxx (the X’s take the place of the final three obscured digits of the Key Tag in the photos). The 117 indicates that the car is a Type 1 Beetle, a Sedan and is Year 1967. Richard’s other Beetle’s VIN begins with 157 (1 for Type 1 Beetle, 5 for Convertible and 7 for year 1967).
With this definition in hand, I contacted Volkswagen Key Expert, Jody Sauvageau.
Jody and I discussed the Key Tags. Jody did not have any of the original Tags but knew immediately what they were. It was good to touch base with Jody.
I went to The Samba and found several sellers who offer Key Tags for sale. However, none of their Tags was from a Beetle—they were from Water-Cooled VWs, etc. and were shaped a bit differently and bore 7 VIN digits instead of 6.
I also found one seller who can make a Tag if a person sends the VIN. Again, these duplicate Tags are shaped a bit differently from the Original German Beetle Key Tags.
I found no vintage Beetle Tags. I had hoped to lay my hands on at least one Original Tag. Sigh!
Perhaps most of these Key Tags have been discarded. But, if you have one—consider yourself fortunate. Beetle Key Tags appear to be quite scarce!
My appreciation for the Reader who approached 1967beetle.com with the initial question.
David Brown, VW Parts Analyst: Thank you for taking time to provide answers and more!
I was happy to speak to Jody Sauvageau. Jody not only knows Keys, he has a striking example of a 1967 L633 VW Blue SunRoof Edition Beetle.
And to long-time friend, Richard, Marcoux—Thank you for putting your Key Tag to
the ’67 Viewing Public!
Good article, JK!
Eric..Thank you so much for your editing work! You always make the Articles look so good! jay
一流の情報、ジェイ・サルサー。当社の 1967 ビートルには同じ ID タグが付いています。
Thank you, Akari, for taking the time to read the Article and then to comment. Unfortunately, I am unable to read Japanese and do not have a translator at hand. I apologize for my failure here!!! Stay with us at 1967beetle.com jay
He said “Top notch information, Jay Salser. Our 1967 Beetle has the same ID tag”. Thanks Google translate :-)
Hello, Tim–thank you for translating Akari’s message for us! It ‘s good news that Akari has the Key Tag. He’s apparently one of the few who still possesses such a Tag. Tim, you keep up the good work there at the Volkzbitz Solex Carburetor Restoration Shop! jay
Hello, Akari…Tim Robson at the Volkzbitz Solex Carburetor Restoration Shop translated your message for us! I am so happy to hear that you have a 1967 Beetle and that you have the Key Tag with the car! That’s special. So far–you are the third person whom we know who has one of these Key Tags. Thank you for replying to let us know! jay
As always, an incredibly informative and interesting article, Jay. I wish someone was making reproductions of this! Any information about the thickness or type of metal? It looks like a piece of thin tin? Obviously pretty strong, to have survived so long on a key chain!
To elaborate – perhaps the mayerial is the same as the carburetor tag?
Hello, Harry–Thank you for your comments and questions. Yes, the Tag is of aluminum, and, as you say, thick enough not to easily bend. This one, at least, has stood the test-of-time! I do not have a handle on the thickness–but, it’s bound to be a metric number. The Carburetor tags were of different metals over the years. More on this coming soon. VWoA/VWAG frowns when it sees its Logo being reproduced without authorization and will threaten to sue. Maybe this article will jog some memories and some of these will surface to be sold as collectibles. jay
Very interesting article!
Hello, Todd! It is good to hear from you! I trust that all is going well for you there. Keep driving your 1967 Beetle and thank you for reading and commenting! jay
1967 VW Beetle was my favorite . That was the year I went to work for VW.
Hello, Jan…thanks for reading and commenting. Wow–what a neat history you have! jay
Respetamos tus escritos aquí en Colombia, Salser. Muchos, los imprimimos y compartimos en nuestras reuniones locales de Volkswagen. Dios los bendiga y les decimos gracias nuevamente.
Lo siento mucho, el inglés no es bueno.
Izan, of Colombia, South America, comments: “Here in Colombia, we respect your articles, Salser. We print them to distribute at our local Volkswagen gatherings. May God bless the efforts of 1967beetle.com–we thank you!” I reply: ” Sus palabras me honran, Izan. Siento solo una parte muy pequena del Mundo Volkswagen. Cado uno de nosotros contribue, no cierto? Estoy muy bendicido por conocer tantos Volkswagonistas. Juntos, podemos avancar el hobby!” Translated: “Your words honor me, Izan. I am only a small part of the ‘Volkswagen World’. Each of us contributes, right? I am very blessed to know so many Volkswagen hobbyists. Together, we can advance the cause of our our hobby”. jay
Great job Jay!
Hello, Jody…thank you for your encouragement and suggestions. It was great to speak with you by phone just the other day! Keep up the good work there! jay
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