OUR CLAS­SICS

Our as­so­ci­ate edi­tor buys an­other Volk­swa­gen on a whim. One show out­ing later, he’s smit­ten

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - News -

We wel­come a new ar­rival to DB’s fleet, and Calum and Nick have been mess­ing with their Austins.

Ihad no in­ten­tion of buy­ing a Bee­tle. I’ve al­ways ad­mired them, but never se­ri­ously con­sid­ered own­ing one of my own.

So what changed my mind? Quite sim­ply, I went to look at one that was for sale and it was love at first sight. Rarely have I seen such an hon­est ex­am­ple of a ba­sic Bee­tle 1200.

A friend sent me de­tails of the car and I made an ap­point­ment to go and see HAY 583L at The Splined Hub work­shop in Oun­dle, the fol­low­ing day. I’d met the clas­sic spe­cial­ist’s Oliver Win­bolt be­fore at car meets in the Northamp­ton­shire mar­ket town and he ex­plained that the car be­longed to his father.

With a lit­tle less than 85,000 miles on the clock, it rep­re­sents for me a per­fect ex­am­ple of the Volk­swa­gen Sparkäfer Bee­tles – the com­pany’s ba­sic econ­omy or sav­ings car. That’s why it comes with just the one sun visor fit­ted, with white plas­tic fillers in the spa­ces where the other would be slot­ted in. Like­wise there are spac­ers where you’d ex­pect to find the door hang­ers. The in­te­rior looks, feels and smells orig­i­nal and all the glass is VW-stamped, just as it should be.

The orange liv­ery is very evoca­tive of the 1970s – the Bee­tle was reg­is­tered in De­cem­ber 1972, just a few months af­ter my T2 camper. Not only does it make a good com­pan­ion for the camper, but that bright orange liv­ery even com­ple­ments the snout of my Rover 200 BRM LE!

HAY 583L – it’s been chris­tened Harry as a re­sult – needed some work do­ing so it made sense to have the jobs car­ried out at Oun­dle be­fore tak­ing de­liv­ery of the car. The jobs in­cluded re­plac­ing the front bumper, head­lamp re­flec­tors and fuel filler cap plus the pas­sen­ger door. The bot­tom sec­tion of the driver’s door also needed attention. As a re­sult of the lat­ter, some re­paint­ing was re­quired in­clud­ing the bon­net. A new bat­tery and cor­rect pe­riod style num­ber plates were also fit­ted, and af­ter a ma­chine mop and pol­ish the Bee­tle was back to its gleam­ing early 1970s best.

Hav­ing passed its MoT, I needed some­one sen­si­ble to give me a lift over to col­lect Harry and pho­to­graph the of­fi­cial hand­ing over of the keys. Un­for­tu­nately se­nior con­trib­u­tor Richard Gunn was the only per­son in the of­fice that day.

With its new bat­tery in place, the 1192cc en­gine en­thu­si­as­ti­cally burst into life and on my drive home that evening I called in at the first Vin­tage and Clas­sic Ve­hi­cles monthly evening meet of the sea­son at Wil­low Brook Farm, near Peter­bor­ough.

The fol­low­ing Sun­day the Bee­tle had its first show out­ing from the Brown house­hold. It took son Miles and his dog Ratty with me to Stan­ford Hall’s VW Show in Le­ices­ter­shire with­out so much as miss­ing a beat there and back. Harry is great fun to drive and has al­ready chalked up plenty of fans. I’m look­ing for­ward to many more ad­ven­tures with the new Brown fleet ar­rival.

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