What Is a VW Type 1? Only THE Car of the 20th Century!
Whether you look through the film archives, popular TV shows, or movies from the last century, you see one steely recurring character popping up everywhere – the VW Type 1, or the Beetle. What is a VW Type 1, and why is it so popular?
Why is it so popular? Just look at it!
Our parents and grandparents bought them because they were economical. We restore them now because they are not only fine pieces of German engineering, but they’re also the cars that haunt our memories and appear in our daydreams. There’s nothing like the sound of a VW engine, and even the three-curved shape of its silhouette is an icon.
Whether it’s hanging on your wall or tucked into your garage (or even on our shop floor), your VW Type 1 is no doubt one of your most prized possessions.
VW’s Type 1 Beetle Really Was the Car of the 20th Century
It’s only the most manufactured car in history.
As the old commercial tagline goes: “A Volkswagen is never changed to make it look different, only to make it work better.” The Volkswagen Beetle is perhaps the most relevant car of the 20th century, surpassing the Ford Model T in production numbers. Yes, Volkswagen has a dark history regarding its relationship with the Nazis during World War II, but it did manage to engineer and build a cheap and reliable car for the populace. In production from 1938 until 2003 (NOT a typo), the original Beetle has rightly earned its place in automotive history.
And as we all know, VW has built not one but two successors. 1997 saw the introduction of the New Beetle. It looked like a bubble and was too girly. But the latest Beetle pays better design tribute to its ancestor. But is it worthy of its iconic name? XCAR gets behind the wheel of the original and today’s car to find out.
Barely driven, found in a barn, original EVERYTHING. Now, that’s a barn find! Most of the stuff we hear about people finding isn’t in nearly such good shape. Usually, it looks more like something you might find in the Airkooled Kustoms boneyard. Dirty, dingy, dusty… ragged, rotten, rusty – just like Oscar the Grouch likes it.
One like this, in pristine condition… probably just needs a tune-up and some fresh fluids.
Quite the rarity!
We’ve got a ’74 Standard Beetle at the shop right now that came in in DECENT shape. Checking out here.
Barely-driven 1974 VW Beetle barn find up for auction
Remember the little old lady from Pasadena who only drove her car to church on Sundays?
Well, Armando Sgroi was an old man from Genoa, Italy, who bought a VW Beetle in 1974 to drive to services when the hills near his home got too tough for him to walk.
According to Silverstone Auctions, it was a very short trip that Sgroi finally gave up for good in 1978, when it was parked in a barn with less than 56 miles on the odometer.
It sat there in its original condition, still with the oil and tires supplied by the factory, until it was recently discovered. It’s since been cleaned up, but unmodified, and will soon be auctioned. The metallic blue coupe featuring a 1300 cc engine and the flat under the trunk floor spare tire of the Super Beetle, as it was known in the United States.
This one isn’t stateside. It’s in Denmark, where it will cross the auction block at the Classic Race Aarhus event on May 28th and is expected to attract bids of around $40,000, about twice as much as a 1974 Beetle in top condition that hasn’t been stored in a time capsule is worth today.
VW’s been in the news for months now because of the whole emissions detection scandal. But there’s a whole area of discussion that applies more to classic VWs than their modern descendants.
The classic VWs have exactly zero computer components – which not only makes them interesting to work on (no plug-in diagnostics), but also makes emissions cheats impossible. An extra bonus? In the event of an EMP, they’ll still be able to function. Probably the same goes for a Zombie Apocalypse.
Also, though, if you look a bit deeper into what drove the whole race to zero emissions thrust – one benefit was to help the environment. While a classic Volkswagen might not be any better in terms of what it puts out into the air, it IS pretty interesting to consider how classic car restoration actually HELPS the environment.
Think about it. What’s the carbon footprint of a modern car assembly plant? What’s it take to produce all those parts, all that plastic, and all the computerized doodads that go into a modern car? That’s pretty much gone with a restoration project.
Could it Be that Classic VW Restoration is the Ultimate in Recycling?
We keep hearing how Volkswagen is looking for ways to “make it up to” their customers. Massive rebate checks probably went a long way toward soothing pissed off consumers who’d banked on better resale value. But maybe there’s more VW could do.
Volkswagen to be sued by Norway fund over emissions scandal
Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption Around 11 million vehicles globally have been fitted with the so called “defeat devices”
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, plans legal action against Volkswagen over the firm’s emissions scandal.
It said it had been advised by lawyers that the company’s conduct “gives rise to legal claims under German law”.
Volkswagen admitted last year that it had installed secret software to cheat US emissions tests.
The move, from one of VW’s biggest investors, is the latest in a flood of legal actions over the scandal.
It faces action from US Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and its own dealers.
Norges Bank Investment Management is worth $850bn (£592bn; €751bn) and has stakes in more than 9,000 companies.
According to the Financial Times, which first reported the story, the lawsuit is expected in the coming weeks. It will be filed in Germany, joining class-action cases which are being prepared there.
“Norges Bank Investment Management intends to join a legal action against Volkswagen arising out of [the fact that] the company provided incorrect emissions data,” the statement said.
“As an investor, it is our responsibility to safeguard the fund’s holding in Volkswagen.”
Volkswagen has put aside some €16.2bn to pay for the emissions scandal.
Last month the German carmaker reached a deal with US authorities in which it agreed to offered to buy-back almost half a million vehicles and provide money for a fund to help develop cleaner car technology.
The Norwegian fund recently announced action to clamp down on excessive executive pay at the companies it invests in, as well as encouraging oil firms to report more on the risks of climate change.
The planned legal action against VW is part of the fund’s wider strategy for its investments to be “much more ethically and environmentally conscious”, said Christian Stadler, professor of strategic management at Warwick Business School.
However, he added, it was also a part of its campaign for minority shareholders to be given more of a say in German corporate governance.
“It has had disputes with Volkswagen for many years over its governance, as the Porsche family are effectively able to do what they want; as the largest shareholder, they really only have to consider the State of Lower Saxony, which has a 20% holding, and is where the company is headquartered.
“In Germany, minority shareholders don’t have much of a voice, which is something the fund has campaigned against before, as 4% of its equity is in Germany,” added Prof Stadler.
“It will not divest in Volkswagen, but wants to working towards changing its corporate governance structure.”
When She Found Out 40K Facebook Users Had Watched Him Caress Mabel During Winter Storm Jonas, She Nearly Lost It… But She Totally Saw It Coming.
A Post by Princess Patina
It’s not every day you find out that your husband-like being has drawn the rapt attention of a crowd a quarter the size of Huntsville, Alabama on Facebook. But it happened during Winter Storm Jonas at Darkside Central, headquarters of Airkooled Kustoms.
A video Spook shot of Miss Mabel’s shiny new hood has gone viral. People all over the world are watching – and re-watching – a jazzy little ditty showing off the black on black on black mirror-like shine that is her paint job… on her new hood.
New hood? Wait. Didn’t the krew JUST finish building her, like, a few months ago? Isn’t this the 1959 VW Beetle Ragtop that won the People’s Choice award at the Ultimate VW Build-Off in Vegas in October?
What happened that she needed a new hood? We know about the whole table-in-the-trailer-rubbing-off-paint incident that happened on the way to Vegas. We know about the subsequent bullet holes painted onto the right rear fender (by the guy who quite literally invented those bullet hole stickers some folks have).
But a new VW hood? That’s news.
Well, yes, and no. You only have to hang out at the shop for about three minutes before you’ll discover a whole new level of OCD unknown to most of the rest of the planet. What looks PERFECTLY… perfect to normal humans is often enough to make an AKK krew member puke with dissatisfaction.
Honestly, I can’t tell you what was so horrifyingly objectionable about Mabel’s hood – even though I’ve asked. There was something about the lines of the hood (that, by the way, came from the factory!) that disturbed Spook’s delicate aesthetics so deeply that he vowed not to rest until this atrocity was made right.
Classic Car Restoration Isn’t for Slackers
Rework. Not a lot of fun when it’s on a client’s car restoration (because it’s on the shop)… a whole lot less fun when it’s on a resto that’s already been marked “Out the Door”. And yet, casting aside all offers of bacon or evil cookies, Spook – as typical – torched “good enough” entail?
• WEEKS to find a good hood. It’s a four-tab hood, which is kind of rare.
• Prepping the new hood, getting it into sealer = 6 hours
• Bodywork on the new hood (the NEW hood, folks!) = 8 hours
• High build shoot and cut = 10 hours
• Sealer = 1 hour
• Cut sealer and prep for color = 4 hours
• Shoot color and clear = 6 hours
• Hand cut (and DA cut) FOUR stage polish = 30 hours
[Oh, that’s a little eery – the labor hour count comes to 59 hours. 1959 Dub. Spooky.]
Granted, all of that except the bodywork, cut, and polish, Spook ran in process with other jobs, but still.
No wonder he turned on some jazz and showed off his handiwork. I use this gorgeous hood as a shop mirror (you know, before we start a Periscope video – a girl’s got to know there’s no bacon in her teeth!). I can see why SO many people have watched her little 48-second debut. Sure beats watching more coverage of Winter Storm Jonas, don’t you think?
We’re checking in on the Airkooled Kustoms shop this morning to watch Spook shrinking metal on Willie, Kaden’s Bug. The Bug is back from blast. The first thing we do when we get vehicles back is to shoot them in sealer to prevent rusting (which can happen practically overnight if it’s not sealed immediately).
The Bug’s in really good shape, body-wise. It really only has a few areas of rust that need metalwork – as well as a prior dent-causing incident on the driver’s side behind the door. It was repaired before. Whoever did the repair did an okay job (although it wasn’t complete). So, now Spook is using his favorite dolly and hammer plus a shrinking disc on his DA. He’ll spend hours and hours persuading the vintage steel to get back into alignment. Did you know steel’s molecular structure steel is crystalline? Therefore, it’s really just a matter of heating and cooling and tapping away at the steel to get it back into the structural alignment it had originally.
It’s noisy work! One Periscope viewer said it was kind of like being at a dentist appointment from hell – and that’s about right! Very noisy. The guys are used to it though, and it’s the best way to get the job done.
Trick question: Is this how modern cars get body repairs?
Of course not! Most modern cars are made out of molded plastic 🙂 Old-school VW restoration shops do it the old-fashioned way. So more of what’s needed to repair a dent is a plunger and some hot water. Just kidding – we’ve got major respect for modern auto body repair experts. It’s just an entirely different medium to work in.
Spook also spills the beans about some Tech Talks planned for the upcoming Low Down in Dub Town event. It’s at the shop on October 17, 2015. We’ll get them on Periscope as well for our friends who are too far away to come out to the show.
On the way out, we get another parting glimpse of Miss Mabel. That fine lady’s getting some final touches before she’s loaded up and hauled out to Las Vegas for the Ultimate VW Build-Off, which runs October 1-4, 2015.
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Watch what 00Dub is about to do to the 1959 VW Beetle wiring harness for Miss Mabel, Airkooled Kustoms’ entry into the Ultimate VW Build-Off in Las Vegas, October 2015.
Expose most folks’ wiring, and you’ll see what looks a lot like rainbow colored spaghetti. It’s understandable – after all, not too many people like working with invisible shock juice. Easier to just hook it all up as best you can and then forget about it (until something comes unhooked or shorts out).
Even though electrical work isn’t 00Dub’s favorite part of a VW restoration, his Zen Master demeanor makes him well-suited for it. In fact, one look at how he sets up this wiring harness could be a lesson in “doing it right” – words we live or die by here at the shop.
Wonder if he lines up pasta like this before eating it?!
Miss Mabel is about two-thirds of the way complete at this point. As with all restoration projects, every phase of the build has lots of small details to finish. With most projects that come through the shop, it seems like the point of paint ‘feels’ like the project’s just about done (at least to everyone who’s not working on it!). That’s probably because it’s such a visible milestone.
Still so much more to be done, and the build already has more than a thousand hours in on it. Thank goodness we started with a solid core. With some projects, the core is in such bad shape – mostly rust and bad prior ‘repairs’ – that significant body work has to be completed before any progress can be seen. We’ve had vehicles come in that looked like Flintstone mobiles (no floor), others that had bizarre body work done in the past (cement? Mexican newspapers? and of course, BONDO). The cores that come up from Florida or other coastal environments with salty air show the worst damage from rust – but no matter where they come from, if they’ve got rust issues that haven’t been addressed appropriately, there’s going to be some serious body work ahead to save the vehicle.