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