This Month's Feature VW
 

That 70's Project

Volkswagens have been in my family as far back as I can remember. My dad had a 1966 Savanah Beige Beetle, and all 3 of my older siblings had Beetles from various years. So when I went away to college I decided to buy a 1971 Beetle. I loved that car and drove it everywhere. Unfortunately when you're in college beer money is more important than car care. As a result, I drove the poor little Bug into the ground. Flash forward....

A few years ago I was feeling nostalgic (and turning 50) and decided it was time to get a VW back in the family. After getting the go ahead from my wife the search was on. It was not as easy as I remembered to find a decent Bug. There weren't many entry level Bugs in my area and the ones I did find were total basket cases. As a result I had to broaden my search. So I contacted my brother in San Jose, California. He always said "Bugs are everywhere out there. Within a week he found a "nice" 1970 project Bug for me, and shortly thereafter "Heidi" was on a trailer heading to Florida. Talk about anticipation.... When she finally arrived I was really excited but also a little bummed about the condition.

I guess my brother and I had different opinions about what was a good deal. When my "Heidi" (as I call her) arrived she sported a badly faded red and white two-tone paint job that needed to go. In addition I discovered there was at least a half inch of bondo filler on the driver door and even more behind the pillar that my brother missed.

What's worse the luggage tray was riddled with rust and the engine badly needed a rebuild. After seeing this I took a deep breath and promptly bought John Muirs "How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Complete Idiot" and I got to work...


Since that first week I have basically done a frame on restoration of the car. All the rust was cut out replaced with donor parts. The interior was gutted and sealed with POR15. I wasn't a fan of the Cal Look windows so I put vent windows back in the doors and rebuilt the window regulators. I also rewired, and reupholstered everything.

She has been resprayed to her original Elm Green and undercoated for daily driving. The old engine was rebuilt and slightly updated to a 1641cc. I decided to keep it a single port to help avoid overheating in the hot South Florida conditions. I also added some modern features for comfort. Some of which are; Scat front seats, retractable seat belts, Retro-sound radio, LED lighting and some fun colored interior accents too. I know I've left off a whole lot of what I've done but I wanted to keep my information brief as possible.

Since I've finished restoring Heidi a whole new world has opened up to me. I have entered her and won many trophies at local car shows. I get to relive the joy of younger years by driving an air-cooled bug once again. But best of all, I've found a new VW family by joining the VW Goonies.

They are just a cool group of car enthusiast that all have one thing in common. Love for everything VW. I'm trying to think why it took me so long to get back to my VW roots.

Chris Walsh

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