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!