Jon Hilsabeck’s 1962 Volkswagen Deluxe Sedan
The search: For some time, I had been looking for a vintage Volkswagen project car from the 1960s. Last summer, I found a red ’62 bug stored in a barn on a family ranch near Sattler, 15 miles west of San Marcos. It was bought three years ago from a producer in L.A., where it had been used as a prop in a movie.
Upgrades: This original VW had some limited restoration over the years, including minor body work, paint and interior work. Since many old VWs have been radically modified, my goal has been to keep this bug in original stock condition with correct vintage parts. One exception was the red horn button made by Steve Scott of Central Texas Autowerks, an excellent resource for old VW parts. The only other change was the addition of an aftermarket chrome tab on the glove box door. Everything else on the car is original VW stock.
Past experience: In the 1960s and 1970s, I owned seven different VWs. At the time, these were very practical, low-cost and easily maintained vehicles. Once, I bought a ’64 VW from a University of Texas student for $300. Although it was in fair condition, the engine had been disassembled in pieces and put in a cardboard box. I towed it home and rebuilt the motor in my garage spending $200 for parts. One summer, I bought a ’62 VW van for a Colorado family vacation, and upon returning to Austin, I sold it for enough to pay for the whole trip.
Uses: At 30 miles per gallon, this bug has some practical utility for short distance errands in town and occasionally to the campuses of St. Edward’s University and Concordia University where I teach business and health care administration courses.
First car: When I was in high school, I paid $1,225 cash for a new black 1960 VW from CB Smith Volkswagen in Austin. The car had no accessories, so I added an outside mirror and an AM radio.
Club: Austin Air Coolers VW Gang. In October, I participated in the VW Harvest Show event at the Williamson County Park in Cedar Park where this bug attracted a few VW enthusiasts. Recently, a man and his wife followed me around a shopping center parking lot. When parked, he asked if he could just take a look at my VW and smell it. He said it smelled just like his old ’63 VW. As a remembrance, he still carries his original vintage VW key on his key ring. It seems that some people can never let go.