My grand­fa­ther’s Bee­tle

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Wheels - Atty. Jerome G. Neri

MY brother had my grand­fa­ther’s 1963 Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle re­stored back to its orig­i­nal form and con­di­tion. Not that the car was al­tered in any way, it was just old and get­ting di­lap­i­dated. Ev­ery­thing needed re­pair and restora­tion. It was brought to Volk­swa­gen ex­pert and re­storer By­ron Pi­ramide, the owner of BP restora­tions. The re­sults are great. The car looks like brand new, and more im­por­tantly, runs like a brand new 1963 Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle.

This car has a lot of his­tory in our fam­ily. It was once my mother’s car, and also was used by all of her sib­lings. My mem­o­ries of this car was when it was back with my grand­fa­ther. This was the car he would use to drive to the fam­ily farm in Bar­ili. The grand chil­dren would al­ways want to ride with Lolo in this Volk­swa­gen as Lolo was a fast driver. I dis­tinctly re­mem­ber that with Lolo, we over­took cars but no cars can over­take us. This was in the late 70s to the early 80s.

I en­coun­tered the car again in the late 80s. I was study­ing at Cebu Doc­tor’s Col­lege, so I stayed in my grand­par­ents’ house as it was walk­ing dis­tance to the school. They let me use the Volk­swa­gen in times I needed a car. I have a lot of good mem­o­ries with this car. I took it to the bukid and took it to the beach. At 17 years old any car was bet­ter than noth­ing. The car al­ready looked pretty beat up by then, but be­ing a Volk­swa­gen it was still re­li­able and never broke down on me.

So I get reunited with the car a few weeks ago. A nice “brand new” 1963 Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle. I took it around the block and was amazed. I was amazed at how bad the car felt, as I have been long used to driv- ing mod­ern cars. It is in­deed a 1963. Dur­ing the 80s where it was in worse con­di­tion than it is today, I had no com­plaints. Now I find the steer­ing to hard, the brakes too weak, the en­gine too slow and the cabin way too hot, as this does not have an air­con.

Maybe I’m get­ting old but this per­fectly re­stored car is one that I will not even drive to my of­fice and back be­cause it feels like hell. As it sits right now, its use would be for car meets and car shows.

This car would feel a whole lot bet­ter if we go the resto­mod route. Resto­mod means re­stored mod­ern. Mean­ing the old car is re­stored to look like the orig­i­nal but many parts are up­graded to mod­ern ones, such as en­gine, sus­pen­sion, steer­ing and brakes, to give the old car a mod­ern com­fort­able feel. A lot of purists cringe at the idea of do­ing a resto­mod.

I can imag­ine this 1963Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle be­ing a per­fect daily driver if the restora­tion was the resto­mod route. The down­side of a resto­mod is that

This car has a lot of his­tory in our fam­ily. It was once my mother’s car, and also was used by all of her sib­lings.”

I can imag­ine this 1963Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle be­ing a per­fect daily driver if the restora­tion was the resto­mod route. The down­side of a resto­mod is that the cost would be like that of a brand new car or even more.”

the cost would be like that of a brand new car or even more. But a cus­tom clas­sic daily drive nat­u­rally will have to cost money.

If I were to resto­mod this Bee­tle with money not be­ing an ob­ject (it’s time to fan­ta­size), I would in­stall an EVWest elec­tric con­ver­sion kit to re­place the slow 30hp orig­i­nal en­gine. This kit costs around $18,000. It will give the car a range of 144 km on one charge, more than enough for a Cebu City daily driver. I’ll in- stall an air­con­di­tioner to make the cabin com­fort­able. I’ll re­place the tor­sion bars and the shock ab­sorbers with up­rated ones to han­dle the ad­di­tional power, and, of course, re­place the brakes with four wheel disc brakes. For the steer­ing, a mod­ern elec­tric power steer­ing kit. Other al­ter­na­tive power plants that can be in­stalled in the 63 Bee­tle would be a Volk­swa­gen vanagon en­gine from the mid 80s or a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated Subaru en­gine. This would trans­form this car into a mod­ern ve­hi­cle with that vin­tage look. You get the best of both worlds.

LIKE BRAND NEW. Be­hind the restora­tion of the fam­ily’s 1963 Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle is Volk­swa­gen ex­pert and re­storer By­ron Pi­ramide, owner of BP restora­tions.

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