My wife and I have always told our two children since they were very young that if they could read they could do anything… and we believe that. I will be again putting this adage to the test in my own life with the restoration of a 1966 VW Beetle that is currently resting comfortably in my garage. I say “again” because there are other things I’ve attempted in my life that I probably had no business doing but was able to meet the challenge of with some degree of success. So, although I have no practical experience or expertise in this arena I am passionate and resourceful and I’m looking forward to both the challenge and the reward of attempting to do virtually every aspect of this project myself.
Why now? Why this car? Great questions! This past September (2011) my son Cole turned 15 and as this milestone approached the discussion about a driver’s permit, driving instruction and cars came up a lot… if not between Cole and us, definitely between my wife Lynn and I. Neither Lynn nor I were of the mindset to just go out and buy Cole a car when he turns sixteen. We did not have cars bestowed upon us at that age and we are not about to do it ourselves. We bought our first cars with money we had saved from various odd jobs we worked in our youth. But, it seems to us at least, to be more difficult for kids to earn money these days and frankly at this juncture we are more interested in our kids focusing on their school work than out working a job. That time will come soon enough. So, we thought a project car would be a great way for Cole to earn the vehicle through some sweat equity. The hope being that there would be a higher level of respect for the vehicle if he put some blood, sweat and tears into it versus it just appearing on the driveway one day.
My appreciation of VW’s started twenty plus years ago when I purchased a 72 VW Beetle… it was Corvette Yellow, lowered, smoked glass one piece windows, 5 spoke EMPI wheels with a custom interior and great sound system. Sadly, a mere six months later I was struck by an uninsured drunk driver. After having all the body work repaired I was just six blocks away from the painter’s shop when I was struck again by another uninsured motorist. This time the car was totaled. The replacement was a 69 Beetle that was a stock restoration painted California Day-Glow White… it was hard to look at in the sunshine. This little ride lasted a total of about 9 weeks before I hit a patch of ice one cold winter morning on my way to work, slid through a chain-link fence off an embankment hitting a tree and then landing in a swollen creek. Underwater, in the dark with sub-freezing temperatures was a rude way to wake up! Needless to say this car was totaled as well. But I would not be deterred… I then worked my way through a Rabbit, GTI, Jetta and Passat over the next 10 years.
So what little I know about cars I know about VW’s. Although I did not spend much time, if any, working on my own cars back then I was surrounded by friends and associates that did… I witnessed a lot and was always a little envious of their aptitude for the work. So my comfort level… if you can describe it that way, is with Volkswagens. Thus, I set off in search of a car to restore as a project that Cole and I can work on together. The story as it unfolds will be detailed in this blog as a way to document our experience and to perhaps inspire or deter future “D0-It-Yourself” folks from attempting a restoration themselves. Wish us luck!