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Unkle Bob - Owner: Todd Getty

Spring of '21, in the midst of Covid, I stopped at an estate sale on my way to work. I went into the small basement workshop first, the kind of room with one light bulb hanging from a wire with a pull chain switch, to hunt for "guy stuffs". While looking through the dimly lit shelves, another fellow turned to ask me "do you know the name of this tool?" I didn't know what it was as it was non VW related. After a short discussion he asked me "are you into old air-cooled VWs?" I was baffled as I had no idea where that question came from and by the look on my face as he pointed at my Covid mask... which had a VW Bus front end image. We shared a laugh and he told me "I have an old VW that was my Uncle Bob's." We exchanged numbers and over the next several months had a text string "bromance" and random calls, before he invited me over to meet "Unkle Bob" his VW Thing.

1972 Volkswagen Thing

At that time he asked if I was interested in purchasing it. It hadn't been registered since 2011 and upon further discussion he hadn't driven it since 2010. It was left to him in his Uncle's Will as he was the only relative that showed interest and always enjoyed riding in it as a kid when visiting. Uncle Bob bought it for his wife Nancy here in Portland and it was driven daily and later towed behind their RV in retirement travels around the PNW. When Vinnie received the car, he and his cousin (a fleet body and paint specialist) did a complete paint job to it, replaced the top and seat covers but never addressed the mechanical needs. Unkle Bob was driven very little after that. Fast forward to June '21 and after coming to an agreement on price, I tow bar'd it home and he followed behind and we rolled it into my work shop. After giving him a tour and assuring I'd keep him posted on its progress, he left and I put it on the hoist, tearing to see what it needed and start the LONG punch-list of repairs. Complete new brake system including OG master cylinder, hard line front to rear, four wheel disk brake upgrade (Ghia style front/Porsche 944 rear) and a CNC turning brake installed and used for hydraulic E-Brake. I installed a all new 2" narrowed beam, tie rods, ball joints, TRW steering box and Karmann Ghia spindles. I lowered the rear one spline and installed all new bushings.

Flat Four Engine

Next was new KYB shocks on all four corners and new Continental tires mounted on 16x6" and 16x7" Porsche Fuchs. A four-wheel alignment was done by my "lil' brother" Beau at Stuttgart Autotech. I did get the original engine and transmission running, but the engine had very low compression across all 4 cylinders and the transmission popped out of 2nd and reverse gears. After a few local trips on these worn out OG parts I knew they had to go. I built and installed a balanced and blueprinted 1835cc engine with dual Dellorto Twin 36mm carbs, 043 40x35 valves, Scat C35 cam, DPR C.W. crank, along with a ProStreet 3:88 transmission, a Super differential with a heavy duty side plate, built by German Transaxle of America in Bend OR.

VW Thing

Now that my Thing was running like a champ I installed new LED headlights with incorporated turn signals, "bubble style" LED taillights from Brazil and LED bulbs throughout the car. I also replaced the worn out shift rod bushing, rebuilt the pedal assembly and installed new clutch and throttle cables, mounted a NOS Formuling France steering wheel, Autometer 5" Tach with shift light, rubber "bar mats", located and mounted a real VW Thing roll bar and added a Gene Berg shifter, phew. My Thing really drives and stops very nicely now and best "Thing" of all, is the miles of smiles as we're driving it! I recently met with the previous owner, who also followed along on the rebirth, approving all of the mods and upgrades, and took him for a long cruise He was SO happy about all the changes, and excited at how much power it has and how well it stops compared to the way it was.


Rosebug - Owner: David Fosberg

"Rosebug" is our 1972 Standard Beetle that is mechanically bone stock with her original 1600cc Dual Port engine. She also still has her original Autostick transmission, which so many snickered at and swapped out for manuals over the years, but is nowadays becoming harder and harder to find.


1972 Volkswagen Beetle

The AutoStick has no Clutch Pedal but it does have a floor-mounted Gear Lever. When the driver moves the Lever, it activates an electric solenoid which operates a vacuum clutch servo that disengages the Clutch and allows the driver to move the lever into different gears smoothly and without a pedal engagement because there isn't one.

Flat Four Engine We found Rosebug on Craigslist last summer for sale down in Los Angeles, which is 1,000 miles from our home in Oregon. We loved her Bahia Red paint and Horizontal Blinds along with stickers that reminded everyone who may follow behind that "Slow Is All I Know". We decided to make an adventure out of the entire experience by flying one-way to L.A., picking up the Beetle, and then driving Rosebug home along the famous Pacific Coast Highway.

VW Beetles

It took us three days, with some amazing scenery, where we encountered numerous smiles and several roadside fixes, as well as a mysterious "dancing radio" inside the cabin whenever the wipers were tuned on. We've created a YouTube Documentary of our Trip with Rosebug, which you can find at: https://youtu.be/0JqSGk5OlPQ. Rosebug continues to bring joy into our lives and to those that see her on the road or parked alongside local Drive-ins and Car Meets. If you would like to follow Rosebug, be sure to check out our YouTube channel called Cruising In Classics as well as our Instagram with the same name: Instagram: @cruisinginclassics and on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/@CruisingInClassics


My VW Story - Owner: Paul Gagne

1959 VW Bug

My name is Paul and I'm from Edmonton Alberta Canada, and this is my VW story. Like most, my obsession with VWs started pretty early. They were everywhere when I was growing up, and I was always attracted to them. My aunt had one when I was a kid, and like most I loved riding in the parcel shelf lol! I remember my early teen years picking up copies of Hot VWs and VW Trends magazines, and being drawn to the Cal Look and custom scene, particularly with the DKP cars. When I turned 15, I bought my first Beetle, which was a custom '66. De-chromed, tinted windows, louvered fenders man it was a beauty! I didn't have much money, so I opted for some salt flat discs and it was killer. I was hooked! I drove the car as much as I could in the short summers we have to enjoy it! I would park the Beetle in the winter, and drive various cars, which would lead to the age of the muscle car for me. Subsequently, that took over my love for speed, and racing so I sold my Beetle. Over the years, I would wander in to magazine shops and pick up the latest speed mags etc, but I would always pick up Hot VWs or VW trends to see what was going on in the VW world. I started to notice all the big motored lookers, running bigger and badder engines, and running faster and faster on the track, which, again would lead to me getting "bitten by the Bug".

Mexi Beetle

I had to have one. So I picked up a '59 Beetle, and started planning. I had my friend Ralph Peterson, come by and have a look at it. To my dismay the car needed way more work than I had thought. So the hunt was on again. This time for an Oval Window Beetle as I had always wanted one. When Ralph found out I wanted an oval, he offered his Oval up at the time, and I jumped on it! I finally had an oval, and a rag top at that!!!!! The parts buying and planning started immediately after getting the car home. Which brings me to the '56 oval you see here. The car has evolved over the many many years of ownership, and is continuously evolving. The car has a set of true 4 1/2, and 6 inch Fuchs with slicks, and also runs a set of Erco Porsche pattern 4-1/2 and 6 wheels with slicks as well. It has lowered spindles and a narrowed 3 inch beam, to give the car the stance it has now.

1959 VW Beetle

The interior, is caged, with tan leather, on the seats, and a custom dash filled with gauges to monitor all the vitals. The most noticeable feature in the interior, has to be the JCL vertigate shifter. Everybody that looks into the car is full of questions after they see that, ha-ha-ha. The engine in the car started as a dual port 1600 with a set of Kadron carbs, which eventually evolved to the monster you see here now. Which is a 2332cc built by my buddy Darren "Kroc" Krewenchuk. It's full of goodies such as, Demello full circle crank, Scat h-beam rods, Web 86c cam with Schubeck ceramic lifters. A ported set CB street eliminators, as well as ported Scat trak tall manifolds with a set of Weber 48 IDA's on top, which propels the car to mid 12 second passes at over 100 mph. Now you can imagine with the power this motor makes, the transmission had to evolve as well. After breaking a couple of them, I had my buddy Evince Chichi give me a hand with this one. It's a White Rhino cased swing axle, with a host of goodies from Weddle, and also has a Quaife differential with sway away short axles, and a 4.10 ring and pinion. Future plans on the car, include some more custom lightweight tricks, and possibly an even bigger motor. Although, it will have to wait until I finish my '55 convertible.

ProjectOne - Owner: Marco Gabellini

Mexi Beetle

This is the story of a Mexican Beetle. In the 90s a group of boys decide to embark on an adventure from Ravenna (Italy) to Niger. Five motorcyclists who are passionate about enduro, followed by a 1982 Mexico Beetle. Starting in Tunis, the story of our Beetle continues across the dunes of the Sahara desert. The boys find themselves alongside of the participants in the Paris Dakar, a one-of-a-kind experience. Given the cost of transport by ship to Italy, and considering the very low value of the Beetle, it is decided to leave the Beetle in Tunis.

1982 VW Beetle

It seemed easy to sell the VW in the Tunisian capital. The Tunisian authorities decided that this was not possible, forcing the owner to ship the Beetle back home to Italy. It was going to be scrapped when Marco Gabellini, the founder of AutoEra and Slow Racer's Club, decided to save the car given its crazy history. After fifteen years of abandonment, it was brought back to life and restored, honoring its past. Upgrades include racing seats, 3-point belts, sports exhaust, raised suspension and studded tires. Thus 'ProjectOne' was born. Daughter of passion and dedication, which gave this Volkswagen a new life as a rally car from the 80s.


It Began with a Bug - Owner: JC

1970 VW Beetle

JC is a long time staff member of JBugs, but for him, Classic VW is not merely a profession, it's a way of life. His upbringing was closely tied to VWs. His father used to drive a VW Bug as a taxi driver throughout Mexico, sharing tales of his journeys with JC and praising the Bug's ease of maintenance. Thus, when JC set out to find a vintage car to restore, his father persuaded him to begin with a Bug. In 2017 with help from his dad, JC found a 1970 Bug for sale in a nearby city.

1970 VW Bug

The engine was not running correctly and the brakes didn't work at all, but the body was in good shape. It was a good place to start. JC bought the car and got to work. He started by upgrading the engine, transmission, and suspension by adding some performance parts. He installed a disc brake kit from JBugs. The transmission was upgraded with a Rhino case transmission with longer gearing for higher speeds. This of course was complimented with a 2110cc engine with dual 40 Dellorto. He ran that setup for a few years until he decided to go back to a stock 1600cc engine with a single 34 pict carb. JC has accessorized his Bug inside and out. On the exterior a fog light has been installed for foggy mornings when he leaves to go camping or to a VW show. On the interior, he has installed LED lighting, which he says has been extra helpful when looking for tools in the dark, and fitted his Bug with upholstery also from JBugs.

Standard VW Beetle

The interior is a stock off-white perforated headliner accompanied with a black basket weave seat upholstery and standard charcoal carpet. JC now plans to take it a step further and give his Bug a fresh coat of paint in the near future. He is also looking into updating the interior of his car to match the new paint job. All the hard work JC has put into his Bug pays off when he gets to show it off to his friends. JC loves to take his Bug on camping trips with all his friends who also own VWs, where they can showcase their beloved cars. He has also purchased a 1972 Bay Window Bus to elevate his camping experience.


T34 Perfection - Owner: Lee Hedges

Type 34 Ghia

HISTORY: Volkswagen built mass production vehicles with progressive refinements each year but maintaining the general designs over decades. The result of this plan was twenty-one million VW Beetles & thirteen million Transporters were built. In stark contrast to this plan, the Karmann Ghia Type 34 models had a limited production quantity of 42,505 over a short eight years. Coachbuilt by hand at the Karmann factory in Osnabruck Germany, only 28 T34s were made per day. Styling of the T34 was done by Sergio Sartorelli at Carrozzeria Ghia in Turin Italy and had a controversial beltline design, quad front lights, and round rear lights. Thin pillars gave a 1960's cockpit design that was an emerging trend in both European & American sports cars. As the most expensive VW models, T34s were fitted with the most current technology available in those days, with more comfort & convenience features than the austere Beetle & Bus models. For the first time, T34 models featured a 1500cc engine that propelled it to 100mph, unheard of for a traditional VW. Never officially sold in America, T34s were brought into the USA privately by gray-market car dealers, military service personnel, and tourist deliveries in Europe shipped back to America.

LEE HEDGES: Thirty-six years ago, Lee Hedges bought his first T34 in 1987 and immediately volunteered to organize the scattered T34 owners around the world. He founded the first T34 club, called the Type 34 Registry, with the intention of registering each one with its chassis number, owner info, & restoration history. Then in 2011 he founded T34 World (www.T34World.org) which has become the one source for T34 info & resources worldwide. Today there are 1785 chassis-registered T34s in T34 World. Although first impressions were split amongst VW fans, these days T34s at the top of most VW owners list of dream models to own. Having collected T34s for 36 years, Lee now owns three T34s in his collection: a Sea Blue 1962 Coupe (the world's oldest T34), this Ruby Red 1962 Cabriolet, and a Cherry Red 1965 RHD Electric Sunroof.

DISCOVERY: This Ruby Red 1962 T34 was first discovered in 1999, sitting in a yard with horses in Sylmar California. It had been parked in 1972 and stored outside with the driver's window down. The horses had eaten the dash pads, seat upholstery, and even the paint off the tops of the fenders. Lee first inspected the chassis number & body number to discover it was #0 001 776. In 1999 it was the world's oldest known T34 and today it's the sixth oldest. How it got to Southern California is a mystery, as the previous owner did not recall much from 1972 when he bought it. The roof's rear pillars were rusty and the body had been painted gold, but otherwise it was relatively complete, but not running. He had the T34 towed back to San Diego and began the disassembly phase. Having already owned another T34 Coupe, Lee decided to convert this one into a Cabriolet. T34 Cabriolet's were first built in late-1962 and only fifteen were built before VW halted production. None of the fifteen Cabriolets were sold to the public and only six survivors exist today, all in Germany.

Razor Edge Ghia

CONVERSION: The conversion process was done by a metal fabrication shop in San Diego with experience creating Carson Top vehicles. Chassis rails were strengthened with solid steel bars welded underneath. The roof was removed, and a metal lip was created around the rear edge to prevent water getting in. The windshield frame was modified to mimic the original T34 Cabriolet design. But because Lee lives in sunny warm San Diego he chose not to have a folding top designed, instead choosing to have a roadster design. Over the past twenty-four years this T34 has remained structurally solid and has 15,000 miles added to the odometer.

Red Karmann Ghia

UNIQUE FEATURES: 1962 model T34s have some unique features not seen on later model years. The front nose emblem is a cast metal rectangular emblem, the KG script is placed on the left-rear panel (vs the decklid), and there is a KARMANN script & small Ghia shield fitted to the left-side panel under the pop-out window. A push-button lighting control switch was used from 1962-64, a collectible design element. The 90mph speedometer was used in 1962-63 as the single sidedraft carburetor 45hp engines were used. An elegant cloth/vinyl interior design was offered in 1962-63 as well, creating a comfortable & cool driving experience.

RESTORATION: Lee disassembled the car himself and stripped it to bare metal to discover the areas needing work. He found only a few areas with rust which were cut-out & welded with fresh fabricated metal panels. Prior to the internet no repair metal panels were available for T34 owners. After the top conversion phase, he had a local body shop finalize the body & paint it Ruby Red, the original color. NOS seals were purchased from Lars Neuffer in Germany during a vacation in the summer of 2000. Bumpers, hub caps, and all other plated parts were triple-chromed by Bill & Steve's in Bellflower CA. The stock early 15" rims were powder-coated Pearl White. BF Goodrich 165R15 radial tires were found at Coker Tire with thin 0.75" whitewalls. And the stock upholstery was created by amigo Pedro Sainz in Silver-Beige & Silver cloth to give the elegant interior design. The engine was built by VW Paradise in San Marcos CA as a 1600cc assembled with 1962 parts to be as authentic as possible. The restoration was completed in a year and over the next couple years this Ruby Red T34 was featured in several VW magazines including Hot VWs Vintage Special, VolksWorld, & Let's Play VWs.

OPTIONS & ACCESSORIES: Personalizing our VWs is a fun part of the process and Lee wanted only stock accessories that would have been sold at the VW dealerships in 1962. For tunes he found a 1962 Blaupunkt Frankfurt AM/FM model with German LMU pushbuttons & matching gray knobs. To keep things organized he found an ivory Kamei asymmetrical under-dash parcel tray with nylon netting. The full-circle bent horn ring was offered for early Type 3s & Beetles so Lee added it for added elegance. For safety he added front lap seat belts, having survived a 2000 crash in his other T34 Coupe with only lap belts. For better visibility driving he added dual "cat's eye" side mirrors to both sides, usually only added to the driver's side, having found a RHD mirror in Norway. And lastly, to provide all the tools needed while driving he bought a round plastic Hazet tool kit.


Living the VW Dream - Owner: Tony Gallegos

Volkswagen Thing I was raised in the Volkswagen community since the age of five. I the first car I rode in when I got adopted was a VW Squareback. I was introduced to a Bay Window Bus with lots of memories and multiple Bugs and Baja's along the way. As I grew up I too purchased many VWs, including a 13 Window Bus, and a 1966 Bus that I gave away to a family who needed a bigger vehicle and didn't have the money. I don't regret it at all because it went to a good cause.

VW Type 14

After a 10 year break I was gifted a 1973 Super Beetle that my mom and dad had been working on for 10+ years. I added my custom look to it and planned to never sell it. However, I would trade it for a Bus or something that would get me closer to owning another Bus. I want my kids to have the same great VW childhood I had. I posted my Bug for trade and that where I acquired this 1974 Thing. This Thing is like my life. It was awesome in the beginning and has aged very well because it still has a little kick left inside. It has it scars and shows it's abuse like me, but in the right setting it can become something even greater. My wife and kids have done that to me and I'm hoping I can do that for the Thing.

Volkswagen Safari

This might be a lot of work for me but I have a dream to eventually get back into a Bus for my family to enjoy. My daughter at 11 has already helped me put in a motor in my 1303 Super Beetle and my boys love sitting in the backseat without car seats while I drive around the neighborhood. While I passionately wait for the time someone will trade, I will work on the Thing and renew as much of its life as I can. This Thing is actually growing on me, but my goals remain the same.


Walter - Owner: Al Atkin

1972 Super Beetle

The two kids you see standing in the sunroof of their brand new 1972 VW Super Beetle are Al and Nancy Aitken, 24-year-old newlyweds. We bought this Super Bug in February of '72 from the VW dealership in Kailua, Hawaii when I was at Kaneohe MCAS flying F-4J Phantom fighter jets with the U.S. Marine Corps. We paid $2,000 for it. We had just moved to Hawaii and owned an Opal GT two-seater car. We had a problem, we knew since we lived in Hawaii, friends and family would be coming to visit, and we had no way to pick them up at the airport with only two seats. So, we went looking for a four-seater and found this yellow Super Beetle. In the 3 years we were in Hawaii, we drove it all over the beautiful island of Oahu and sure enough, friends and family came to visit. The first to visit us were Walt and Betty Sweetman, friends of Nancy's parents in California. We picked them up at the Honolulu Airport and Walter immediately fell in love with our yellow Bug. We stuffed all their luggage under the hood and behind the rear seat. Walt insisted if we ever wanted to sell it, he wouldn't hesitate to buy it. Almost three years later, I received orders overseas. We shipped our yellow Bug home to California where Nancy and our daughter stayed and drove it until I returned. While overseas, I bought a four-wheel drive utility vehicle, and I returned to California after a year planning to take delivery on the four-wheeler in Las Vegas. We sold the Bug in the summer of 1976 to Walt and Betty and they paid us the same $2,000 for it, and we asked them to call us if they ever wanted to sell it we said might want to buy it back. We drove the yellow Bug from California to Las Vegas with Walt & Betty, took delivery on our four-wheeler and drove it to Texas for our next duty station while Walt and Betty drove their yellow Super Beetle home to California.

1302 Super Beetle

Walter loved his yellow Bug. He and Betty moved with it to Sun City, Arizona, and before long everyone there knew of Walt and his yellow Bug and they featured newspaper articles about the two of them. Walter tinkered with his Bug constantly keeping it running, preventing corrosion, and even adding air conditioning to beat the Arizona heat. We stayed in touch with each other as Nancy and I continued to move all over the U.S. with the Marines, including two more overseas deployments. We exchanged Christmas cards and letters as the Sweetman's kept us up to date on the condition of Walters little yellow Bug. Finally 31 years later in April of 2006 they called us and asked if we were ready to buy our VW back. We said yes, flew to Los Angeles, rented a car, and drove to Sun City. We bought it back from them and you guessed it we paid them the same $2,000 for it. We drove it from Arizona to Virginia, and I started a complete restoration that month with Nancy's help. Our intent in the restoration was to return the yellow Bug to its same level of newness it had when we first saw it on the dealer's showroom floor in February of 1972. Over the course of a year or so, we took the car completely apart including taking the body off the chassis. But as a result of other commitments and obligations, it languished lonely in our hangar for 12 years until the summer of 2018, when I finally began in earnest restoring every part, every nut and bolt, every system, until I completed the restoration in March of 2022. The complete restoration took us almost 4 years working on it almost every day during that time. I started with the chassis, replacing portions of the pans where the battery sits and replacing the bottom half of the frame head to correct a rusted-out hole. I had the chassis sandblasted and painted at a local VW specialty shop known as Skyline Auto Restorations in Madison, Virginia. When I got it back, I began building it back up with all new brake lines and master cylinder and new sound deadener. All of the suspension parts were sand blasted, painted in Chassis Black and all new original style bushings and bearings were installed. I exchanged the original transaxle for a newly overhauled identical one and replaced the old non-original engine with a new Scat long block engine that I built up to a turnkey engine with the original carburetor, oil bath air cleaner and all original but restored engine tin. Because our Bug had spent most of its life in Arizona, there was very little rust. So, Skyline Auto Restorations did the minor body work, extensive paint prep and finished with an immaculate polyurethane finish in the original Saturn Yellow paint. I installed a completely new wiring harness and restored every system to its original new and working condition including the fuel tank, the charcoal canister with all new vapor lines, the rear window defogger, and even the original obnoxious-sounding ignition buzzer. When finished with the electrical and all systems, I placed the body back onto the chassis and completed the final assembly testing the lighting and other systems to ensure they all worked as per the owner's manual just like they did when new.

Yellow Super Beetle

I had pre-bought many new aftermarket parts, but soon discovered they typically did not fit correctly or were made of inferior materials compared to the original German parts. So, I ended up restoring about 90% to 95% of the original parts. And for those original parts I couldn't re-use I replaced them with new out-of-stock (NOS) genuine German parts. So, this restored old yellow Super Beetle is pretty close to totally stock with a few exceptions that I made for safety. I replaced all four drum brakes with disk brakes, I replaced the old generator with a new alternator, and I added a new side-view mirror on the right side. Then I replaced the old black carpet with new oatmeal carpet, I reupholstered the old black vinyl seats with new tan vinyl, and I installed a stiffener rod between the front shock towers to eliminate the notorious Super Beetle shimmy. But otherwise, this old Bug is now at the same level of newness it was when we saw it on the dealer's showroom floor in February of 1972. Nancy and I are now 74 years old, Walt and Betty have moved on, and our VW Super Beetle has turned 52. So, let me introduce to you our "new" old yellow Super Bug we've named him Walter.


Hermann - Owner: Vincenzo Enrico

VW Mirco Bus Deluxe

Hermann was acquired in 2000 from a landlord for $250.00. It was abandoned in a rental property by a former tenant. It left the factory in Germany as a Mango/Seagull Grey Standard. Although not terribly rusty the roof was caved in and the rear lower corners were crushed as a result of the transmission being removed by dragging the body over the loose transmission. The steel used to transform a Standard Kombi into a Deluxe came from a wrecked factory Deluxe. All of the mechanical work including engine, trans, suspension, electrical, welding, and body work was done by me with help from a couple close friends in my home garage. I had the seat upholstery done by a local shop over stock seat frames.

VW Bus

The engine is 2276cc with all the go fast goodies you could think of. I tinkered with Hermann on and off for many years, but I really got into it after my wife died in 2017. While working on the build I sent Hermann out to be media blasted. That shop ended up warping almost every panel on the bus. Instead of replacing the lower 6 inches of the nose and rocker panels I ended up replacing the entire nose and both long and short side panels. It also added two years to the rebuild of the body.

Volkswagen Bus

The roof had to be repaired and both rear corners. They were all warped from improper media blasting. In the end though Hermann straighter and had less filler than if I'd welded partial panels in. The front suspension is an off the shelf unit from Red 9 Design in the UK. The rear is some pieces from Coolrydes Custom in the US, and a bunch of custom made parts and engineering by me to make it all work in a Bus. It has Wilwood four piston calipers on 11 inch modified Mustang rotos up front (drilled and slotted) and CSP rear brakes. All 4 corners are coil over Shocks. No more old torsion bars. It has a small Brazilian brake booster and electric vacuum pump to supply it. Working on the Bus really helped me with grief and kept my mind busy. Hermann was completed in 2020 and he only goes out when the weather is sunny and warm. I'm very proud of what I accomplished in my home garage. If you'd like to see more photos and information check us out on IG @hermanndeluxebus


My First Car - Owner: Jon Gerardi

Karmann Ghias

Shortly after I turned 16 years old, I remember buying an Auto Trader book and looking for a car to buy with the money I had saved up from working my first job. It was there that I saw a Karmann Ghia for the first time and thought it looked like such a cool car. The sports car look and slick body detail, I fell in love with the design of it. Fast forward a few months and I found someone selling a 1972 Karmann Ghia online outside of Trenton, New Jersey. My dad agreed to drive me roughly four hours to go get it and buy it. Little did I know at that time it'd be a nice restoration project that would take a few good years to fully complete. When I first saw that 1972 Ghia in person in 2005, the passenger's side headlight was crushed in, the front nose was dented in and rusted, and there was no floor pan at all on the passenger side. You could literally see the road and ground beneath you if you looked down. After we towed it back from New Jersey, the restoration project began. My dad and I knew we had to do a lot of work, and it started with the rust. We cut out both floor pans on the passenger and driver's side to replace. Next up was the rocker panels and replacing the entire lower section of the body from the passenger front tire to the back, across the engine and back to the driver's front tire. I also needed to buy replacement chrome front and rear bumpers.

1972 Kamann Ghia

Replacing both rocker panels and all the lower sections required a lot of welding, sanding, and body filler. Who knows how many cans of Bondo my dad and I had to go through to get it all fixed and sanded. After we got it sanded and done to get it inspected, we spray painted the repaired sections a red color to try to blend it in. You can see what area was painted by us in the photo of me at my senior prom. Thankfully the engine and transmission didn't need much work aside from replacing a few engine parts, such as the carb and air filter. The gas tank needed completely replaced as it was rusted from the bottom. The gas line was also replaced at that point. We had to plate sections of both the engine compartment and front hood, and replaced a lot of mess that was the wiring compartment.

Old Karmann Ghia pic

After I graduated from college in 2010, I finally got the car professionally painted, in addition to replacing the entire interior carpet set, headliner, and redoing the dashboard to put in a wood dash. The headliner was replaced with a white one, and the carpet was black, as were the new door panels. I also had all four wheels powder coated white to give it a white-wall look. The final little touches came years later. The matching chrome trim across the bottom of both the passenger and driver's side, the "KARMANN GHIA" chrome script on the rear hood and the beautiful chrome VW hood badge.


Pearl and Audri - Owner: Lee Hedges

VW Squareback EARLY VW 1500 VARIANTS VW 1500 DEVELOPMENT: Volkswagen was a three-model company in the 1940's & 50's with the Beetle, Transporter, & Type 14 Karmann Ghia. All of these models shared the same 1100cc motor which produced a pitiful 36hp. In order to expand their worldwide growth, the VW executives knew they needed a 1500cc motor in a completely different design, more modern with more features, more comfortable, and with more storage locations than the two-compartment models. By 1961 the new models, kept secret from everyone, were seen during testing on the roads. Called the VW 1500 series, it included a Sedan (Notchback), Wagon (Variant), Sports Coupe (Karmann Ghia T34), and two Cabriolet versions of the Sedan & Coupe. They were all officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 1961 to the public.

NEW ENGINE DESIGN: The biggest surprise with the VW 1500 series was the new engine design. Called a suitcase or pancake format, the traditional vertical fan shroud of the Beetle & Transporters was eliminated allowing cooling from a center boot at the rear going directly into the cylinder tins. The oil cooler was rotated 90 degrees, laying sideways under the tin. The carburetor was a side-draft format, allowing the flattest engine possible. The main benefit of the new flat engine was providing a third storage compartment for all models which greatly improved the load for larger families & commercial needs. The engine was hidden under a pivoting trapdoor, locking at the corners & providing heat-resistance with thick insulation. Driving this new engine was quiet & smooth, and it allowed better acceleration & faster top speeds. The first engines fitted in 1962-63 were a 45hp 1500cc with single carb and 6 Volt electrical system generating a top speed of 87mph. Variants were called Squarebacks in America once they were added to the VW dealership models in 1965 with the launch of the Fastback. VW was sued over the Variant names because the Plymouth Valiant had already been selling since 1959. The Squareback & Fastbacks were marketed together beginning in 1965, so most Americans call all Type 3 wagon models Squarebacks.

EARLY VARIANT RARITY: The VW 1500 Variant models were delayed until March 1962 so production in 1962 was limited. In factory photographs it appears only 1-2 Variants amongst 15-20 Notchbacks. VW 1500 models were not officially sold at American VW dealerships in these early years. The majority of those here now came in through the European Tourist Delivery program, US Military Services export program, & the gray-market cars sold by dealerships with connections to slightly-used models in Europe. These days early 1962-63 Variants are extremely rare, and most are rusty & beat due to harsh use. The Early Variant Registry documents every 1962-63 Variant and only 85 are known worldwide in 2023 & only 29 of these are in America.

LEE'S 1963 VARIANTS: Lee Hedges has been restoring & collecting vintage VWs since the mid-80's. He's best known for his involvement with the Type 34 models over the past 36 years, but he's owned Notchbacks as well in the past. These days his collection includes two stock 1963 Variants. "Pearl" is the Pearl White L87 one with chassis #0 115 485 built on 09 November 1962 and was originally sold at a dealership in Goslar Germany. It's currently the 16th oldest Variant worldwide and one of the nicest stock restored ones. It was brought into Nebraska USA by a US Air Force serviceman in 1963. "Audri" is the Gulf Blue L390 one with chassis #0 157 193 built in February 1963 and was an Exported model outside of Germany. It's currently the 35th oldest and is unrestored, living in Kansas USA and owned by a mechanic in the early-70's. Audri has been lovingly preserved in unrestored condition.

  Type 3 Volkswagen

PEARL WHITE 1963: Pearl was discovered on eBay in the summer of 2017. It was listed as a 1964 model but had a mixed combination of parts making it hard to see what it really was. Lee saw it and confirmed the VIN numbers with the seller, clarifying it was a 1963. He bought it and gave his longtime amigo Pedro Sainz the opportunity to own it. The Variant was shipped back to San Diego in sad condition. Interior was gutted, body was several shades of gold & gray primer, and it wasn't running. Pedro got to work building a new stock engine to 1963 specifications in his unique style of perfection. Returning it to a reliable daily driver allowed him to drive it to the Prado Show in Southern California with Lee's 1963 in 2018. It sat for a couple years while Pedro restored his 1968 T34 Coupe, then he had the bodywork done in the summer of 2021 by a local shop. Four coats of acrylic enamel Pearl White L87 was applied by his buddy Francisco by November. Then Pedro created the stock interior in Salt & Pepper cloth to perfection. Stock 15" early rims were painted two-tone in Clay Beige L479 & Pearl White L87. By the summer of 2022 he had completed every aspect of the stock restoration. With a new 1962 T34 Cabriolet restoration project ready, Pedro asked Lee to sell the Variant to fund the T34 restoration in October 2022. Lee couldn't allow this amazing Variant to get away so he immediately agreed on a price and brought it into his collection. Having survived a serious accident with bias-ply tires in 2000, Lee's first change was to add the BF Goodrich 165R15 radial tires with thin 0.75" whitewalls to give a safer driving experience. The only other thing he added was a Kamei under-dash parcel tray.

Volkswgen Variant

GULF BLUE 1963: Audri, the Gulf Blue 1963, was discovered on eBay in September 2015 in Ellinwood Kansas, listed by the grandson who found his grandfather's Variant stored in a locked garage, claimed to have been there since 1975. Odometer reading was 54,648 miles. The eBay auction ended at $2000 and was transported to Imperial Beach California to the new owner, Jack Fisher. Jack got the poor white repaint stripped-off by hand, revealing the original Gulf Blue L390 paint in decent condition. Having been stored for the past 40 years untouched in the garage, the brake & fuel system needed to be addressed. The 15" early rims were painted the stock Royal Blue L393 & white two-tone colors. Jack made it into a reliable daily driver and enjoyed taking it to work as a chef in San Diego. Lee & Jack are long-time amigos so when Lee saw it he instantly fell in-love & offered Jack an offer he couldn't refuse. Lee's Lotus White 1968 T34 Electric Sunroof with Automatic transmission in trade for Jack's 1963 Variant. The patina was so perfect, the interior so original, and most importantly it drove really well. Lee added a small fortune in NOS parts to make things nicer & had the cloth front seat bottoms replaced. Period correct accessories included a full-length wood-slat roof rack, Kamei under-dash parcel tray, Sico bud vase, rubber bumper guard set, Bosch blue-tip antenna, & full circle horn ring were added for personalization. A Blaupunkt Frankfurt T-series AM/FM radio with connection to his smart phone for modern tunes keeps everyone happy inside. Lee's thrilled to have two of the coolest early Variants to drive & enjoy, one fully restored & one unrestored. They share space in his 1960's style air-cooled workshop in northern San Diego CA along with three T34s, a Light Gray 1963 Double Cab shop truck, and his 1967 BMW R50/2 motorcycle. He's always up for visitors from around the world so reach-out to Lee if you'd like a fun adventure while visiting San Diego.