I purchased my Volkswagen Beetle brand new in 1972 for $1999 when I was an Airman at Bergstrom AFB, in Austin, Texas. I never intended it to be a permanent fixture in my life. It was cheap and the thought was that it would hang on long enough to get me through the Air Force and then through college. Now, thirty-four years later, I can proudly say that the VW has served me very very well. Now, it is in need of major work (mechanical and cosmetic) and I am faced with the agonizing decision of whether or not to get rid of it or to spend thousands of dollars to restore it. If money was no object then there would be no question about what I would do.
For the pass five years I have been taking my VW to a place on Columbia Pike. Iíve spent thousands of dollars for what I now know to be shoddy work. This year alone Iíve spent around $3,000 and the car is still running badly and the braking is precarious. These issues have prompted me to vow to find another garage and to evaluate whether or not I can afford to keep the VW when in fact I am in need of a reliable second car.
I planned to take the VW to a place recommended by a tote truck operator named Jose. Then I spotted a beautifully restored red VW Beetle parked at my neighborhood Safeway store. I waited for the driver to come out of the store. When he or she did not, I walked into the store and asked one of the managers if she knew whether or not the restored VW belonged to one of the employees. She did not know. She volunteered to get on the PA system and ask for the owner of the red Volkswagen to go to the Starbuck counter. The owner came forward. He gave me the name and phone number of the garage that did the restoration on his car. I telephoned and was impressed with the two men I talked to. I could tell that this was the real thing: Real Volkswagen People.
On June 17, 2006, John and I droved my yellow í72 Volkswagen Beetle to VW Restorations & Customs in Manassas, Virginia. We were very impressed with the owner Paul Suplizio. It was clear that Paul knew Volkswagens. He pointed out mechanical problems I was having before I had the chance to tell him about them. Many of the problems had to do with improper repairs and equipment done by the other shop. He correctly pointed out that there was no need to talk of cosmetic restorations before the mechanical issues could be addressed.
Major among the mechanical issues is that the VW Frame Head was rusted and in some spots, rusted through. Paul noted that the master cylinder had been recently replaced. He said that it should have never been replaced with the frame head in its current condition. He also noted that the brake shoes were incorrectly installed. That accounted for the braking problem I was having. The list goes on. I decided then and there this guy knows his stuff and that I should try to save my baby. So I told him to go ahead and write me up for the mechanical stuff. Later, if the mechanical repairs go well and the VW is operating like new then I will try to find the funds to deal with the cosmetic restoration.
I will use this page to chronicle the repairs and hopefully the cosmetic restoration of my Canary Yellow 1972 Volkswagen Beetle.
On June 23, 2006, I received a package in the mail form VW Restorations and Customs. Inside were photos documenting the mechanicals issues and some of the repairs.
April 2008, I stumbled upon Lee's Auto Body & Paint. Young Kim, the owner, gave my 36 year old VW a quick once over. A couple of weeks later I took it back for a more through going over and a written estimate. I felt that the price Young Kim quoted was reasonable or at least less than my research found I would have to spend elsewhere. Although, I must say that I am questioning whether or not I'm being overly sentimental and foolish to spend so much money when I can afford to just purchase a new car. But, I love that car and have the feeling that Young Kim and his people will do a good job of restoring the body. Photos.