My 1970 Beetle was a "Wunderbug" by Leifring Industries. This was a standard Beetle that had a replica of a 1937 Ford nose grafted on.
I believe a previous owner installed the kit rather than repair a dent in one of the quarter panels. (The fiberglass panels covered the dented sheet metal).
I am unsure of the exact mileage of the vehicle. The odometer read 51,000 miles, but I didn't know if it had been around once or twice. So it could have been 151K or 251K. The engine, I was told came from a 1972 Super Beetle. Reportedly it had 60,000 miles on it.
The Wunderbug was a fun project car. Over the ten years that I owned it, it seems I replaced virtually everything on the vehicle.
Even the interior was completely done over.
Once you looked past the nose job, it was quite a nice looking vehicle. Actually with the '37 Ford nose, it kind of looked like a PT Cruisers grandfather!
I drove the VW year round. Even during New England winters. The heater was mediocre at best, the defroster virtually non-existent.
The rear main seal developed a serious leak, and over the past few years I owned the car I had to carry a quart of two of oil on board. At times oil dripped down like it was coming from a faucet that needed a washer.
My Beetle at times ran like a new car, other times it refused to hold idle in damp or rainy weather. It was a typical older Beetle; temperamental, but filled with charm and personality.
I knew the vehicle well enough to drive it anywhere, even on interstate trips.
I kept a well stocked toolbox, complete with any parts that I might need in the vehicle at all times.
Many evenings far from home where interrupted while I replaced that part, re-set the timing, rewired this or adjusted that. However I knew the Beetle would never leave me stranded, and it never did.
It was slow. It was loud. It was hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
The cockpit seemed to almost always be filled with the faint smell of gasoline.
Your nose almost touched the windshield and your fingers hit the dash as you drove. Instead of an airbag, you had a ten-gallon gas tank mounted in front of you in the trunk.
It drew a crowd wherever I parked.
Motorists followed me for miles to ask if I would consider selling it.
Everyone had a story about their old Beetle, and lamented selling it, asking "Why did they stop making these anyway?"
Driving the Beetle always brought me back to a simpler time. The wonderful sounds took me back to my teenage years when I owned my first Beetle (a 1967 model).
The Volkswagen Beetle - It was basic transportation with the emphasis on basic. It was a personal amusement park ride. It was easy to work on, and cheap to fix. It was a time machine. It was arguably the most significant vehicle of the 20th century.
Why DID they stop making these?