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Paul Ludden, Kass Green, and Jim Lugg
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 1969 Bug

[Part I]

Part I: The History of our Bug- posted April 3rd, 2004

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 $1969.00, ironically.

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 etc. 1969 Volkswagen Beetle

 

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 it.

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]

 

 

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