By on February 10, 2013

So venerably ubiquitous was the VW Beetle, I wondered for a while whether the sighting of this particular example constituted as something special enough to qualify for another “fifteen minutes of fame”, here on the Bodacious Beaters page.

Here in the SoCal area, for many years after the end of the sales line, the Beetle just kept finding a way to stay in the spotlight.

Initially, many kept them around purely for utility, then the customizing craze got traction, then the restoration angle became popular.

With the sighting of this one, I started to appreciate that maybe things have come around full-circle. That is, people are using them as beaters again—although the emphasis these days has to be on vintage funkiness, and a little less on utility. The passing of years, combined with the previously noted customization era, has no doubt contributed to the attrition of original, fairly stock units; making this mid-sixties example a worthy sighting after all.

I didn’t get to go over it with a fine-toothed comb, but it did appear to be an older restoration; the owner is now over over-paying homage to the Perfection Gods, and getting down to enjoying the car for what it did—and does—best: knocking about town in a low-key and economical fashion.

The license plate mod is typical of what owners were doing to their Bugs back when such informally cavalier freedom of expression was the order of the day. You’d rarely get hassled for such expression by the local authorities, either.

We’ve come a long way, baby—but it’s all right now to re-live that period by such Bodaciously Beaten “touchstones”.

Phil has written features and columns for a number of automotive periodicals and web-based information companies. He has run a successful Auto Repair Business in the past for many years (See “Memoirs of an Independent Repair Shop Owner” on this ttac site). He can be contacted through this very site, or http://www.linkedin.com/

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18 Comments on “BODACIOUS BEATERS and road-going derelicts: BUG ME...”


  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    I don’t know if you can say such an example of the once ubiquitous Beetle a ‘beater’. More like a well loved, well cared for example, I think. A car that old, especially if driven daily, must take some caring and attention to stay in such a good shape.

    • 0 avatar
      Phil Coconis

      Sure I can–when I use the word “Bodacious” as a qualifier! There’s lots of room for interpreting the phrase for which this column is partially named (not to mention the implementation of “poetic license” regarding subject matter).
      I applaud this, or any vintage vehicle owner for attempting to procure utility out of them!

      Thanks for the input!

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Many are still using older vehicles as daily transport and work rigs by choice , not necessity ~

        Not so much in the rust belt but elsewhere in America it’s more common than you might think ,especially with older people and those who actually fix thier own vehicles .

        Carry on then .

        -Nate
        Who doesn’t own a modern car

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    The engine cover and signal lights make that a ’67.

    • 0 avatar
      Justice_Gustine

      The modern headlights, older bumpers and slotted steel wheels (the large 5 lug bolt patter is hiding under those flat hubcaps..) all point to a ’67. Though the bumper mounted back up lights are not seen.

      ha ha, this is a carbon copy of my first car, right down to the Savannah Beige paint.

      The Jack-In-The-Box antenna ball confirms it’s existence on the west coast.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Weimer

        That was the first year of that engine cover (new ~1500cc engine) and the last year for the taillights. ’68 had the integrated backup lights and the shape changed to a flat bottom. If it were that and the 5-lug wheels, it would be a ’68. ’69 had full IRS and 4-bolt wheels. I believe the front turn signals were larger and more squared off on the ’69, too.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        We have Jack-In-The-Box in Ohio now, so that’s not really accurate.

    • 0 avatar
      nikita

      My first car was also a Savanna Beige ’67. The only thing not original is the paint color of the wheels. They were white rims and black centers. Mine also did not have backup lights. It was early production, September of 1966 build date.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    For toodling around town (and not on the freeway) in a mild climate like SoCal, this car is hard to beat . . . but I wouldn’t call this example a beater.

    Assuming that there’s no worries about rust (which there wouldn’t be in SoCal, this car is bone simple to repair and keep running. Fuel economy is probably in the low to mid-20s which is good enough for a modest amount of driving.

  • avatar
    luvmyv8

    Not a beater by any means, BUT nonetheless I can appreciate a well preserved car like this one. Clean, the details are correct and it’s still used. Good find. This car isn’t my cup of tea, but it is to somebody else…. long live the classics.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    Switching the tail-light lenses to the amber European ones was a popular owner mod back in the day . I did the same thing to my 1970 Squareback years ago as soon as I saw a complete pair in a junkyard .

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    My first ride in a bug was as a teen with my college age sister and her sorority sisters, one of whom had just bought a ’62 bug brand new, for $1,252. I was in the back with three of them, my sister the front passenger and the owner driving.

    After ten miles, it ran out of gas, bad news in an American car. Elaine, the owner, reached under the dash and turned a handle, dropping gas from an upper reservoir into the tank. There was no gas gauge, you knew you needed to get gas when it stumbled and died.

    In fact there was only the speedometer on the car. After riding with my uncle in his ’61 Valiant, that was a surprise. Unfortunately, the speedometer on the VW was broken after only 2,000 miles and spun around when the car moved, spinning faster as the car sped up, only to stop at a random number when the car stopped.

    The trip took longer because the girls decided to bet on where the needle stopped, and we came to a complete stop every 1,000 feet or so, in the middle of the road, once on the highway! For a mid-teen, being in a car full of sorority girls should have been a joy, but instead it was a nightmare.

  • avatar
    Dodge440391SG

    I had a ’72 “Super Beetle”. Very well made, and reliable to boot !

    Unfortunately, I was “tboned” by a Buick 225 that ran a red light. There is no side protection in these cars, folks. My left hip was shattered.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    As mentioned , this is a ’67 Model 113 , DeLuxe Sedan .

    I recently sold my old ’67 Savannah Beight to a reader here ~ although I was the 2nd owner , it was a true beater , unrestored and kept on driving even afer being rear ended by some jerk

    He’s rebuilding it now , not retoring as he wants to go faster than the old single port 1600 .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      nikita

      Originally 1500cc. Back then, 53hp (SAE gross) didnt feel THAT slow. It beat contemporary Fiats and Datsuns. I still drive a ’69 Karmann Ghia with its original engine around town and have no trouble keeping up.

  • avatar
    BourbonBob

    I had a roomate at the U. of Northern Colorado who had a fantastic blue/white Microbus. He was from SoCal. The detail (two tone interior/chrome grab bars) was totally impressive.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I only see one paint flaw. This one seems like it’s in great shape!


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