|My 1969 Volkwagen Beetle Engine sits in front of our garage as my father and I get
ready to install it; the final task in our restoration of my Dad's first car.
My Volkswagen Odyssey: Restoring my Father's
Part I: The History of our Bug- posted April
In the summer of '69
my father had save up enough money to purchase his first
car. He was attending Claremont Men's College in southern
california and was quickly falling in love with my mother.
Being the smart and savvy economics major that he was,
he decided to purchase a Savannah Beige Volkswagen Beetle.
His purchase, from Econo Motors in Pomona, amounted to
Well my parents married and began their travels
in the Bug across the United States. They ended up putting
about 130,000 miles on it traveling four times cross country
as well as using it to commute to work in the young southern
california economy of the 70's. The Bug did well, rarely
having an problems and in 1974 it gained a younger sibling,
a 1974 Super Beetle 'Sub Bug' special edition. During the
later seventies, Volkswagen came out with a number of special
edition volkswagens to keep sales up. Most of the special
editions entailed having sport rims, special colors and a
few special accessories i.e. upgraded radio, speakers, speedo
After twenty trusty years, my parents decided
to retire the bug and let it sit for seven years in the brutal
California sun. Thankfully little rust ever stuck to the
car but the heat did its damage as time wore on.
1997 - The restoration begins
In the summer of 1997 after my freshman year
of college at UC Berkeley I came home for the summer. My
father and I had decided to began restoring his first car
to drivable status. We began by removing the engine and sending
the long-block in to have the cylinder heads redone and new
unleaded seats installed. We used CarCraft in Riverside,
CA for all of our engine work that we couldn't do. They are
a great company and the owner, Ed, is a former thirty-year
employee of Volkswagen, so he is quite knowledgable and enjoyable
to talk with.
For the interior work, we focused on the seats
and gauges. We got all of our upolstery material from a shop
in Corona, CA and did the seat work ourselves. We kept everything
original style and kept the original headliner in there,
although it was cracking quite a bit under the rear window.
For all the suspension and brake work, we got
our parts from Rocky Mountain Motorworks and Wolfsburg West.
Wolfsburg has recently moved to Corona and we now use it
for all of our aircooled volkswagen parts. Its a great company
hands down and really sticks to keeping everything OEM.
Well all this work came together quite nicely
and I was able to drive the car up to Berkeley successfully.
The car was quite a big hit there and I had lots of fun in
Stay Tuned! I will be writing Part II and Part
III very soon.
[Part II: The Incident- The Bug Comes Home]
[Part III: The Last Restoration Begins]