My grandfather’s Beetle
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.