Thursday, February 25, 2010

1960 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible - Great Restoration Project

As I've written before, I'm not a big fan of the old air cooled Beetle. But, a cool old car is a cool old car - no matter what it is - and this is a cool old car.

This is a 1960 VW Beetle convertible. The Beetle - no matter the year - was never a sophisticated car, but these early ones were insanely basic. For instance, as the seller mentions, there is no gas gauge. When you ran out of gas, you simply opened the reserve tank and that gave you another gallon of gas and about 30 miles to find a gas station.

There was one neat complex touch, however. This car has "semaphores" or "trafficators," as they were also called. These were little lighted arms that came out from the side of the car. They were the predecessor to the flashing turn signal. When activated, an electromagnet pulls the semaphore arm up, a light goes on inside (but does not blink), and when the semaphore is up all the way, a contact is made and the turn signal indicator lights up on the dash. (I had a friend who restored a Morris Minor that had these. Every time I see a modern car with directional indicators on the side view mirrors, I think of that Morris.)

The seller has owned the car since 1971. He states it has been garaged and has spent all its life in California and Georgia.

The car is basically complete, but needs restoration. The 1400cc engine starts and runs, but most likely needs to be rebuilt. The seller say he has all the parts that have been removed (bumpers, handles, insignias, hubcaps, etc.) The brakes and transmission are said to be "excellent". The only thing that is not original on this car is the charging system, which has been converted to a more modern 12 volt setup.

The Karmann built convertibles rusted worse than the hardtop Beetles, but the seller says that this one is rust free, which is a huge plus.

If you start restoring this car now, there's a good chance you could have it ready by late spring / early summer. This is one of those cars that should be restored to its original condition and not modified. It's rare, cool looking in its original form, and would be a great car to take for leisurely weekend drives.

Located in Statesboro, GA, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

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