Is it worth restoring a '67 Beetle?

I’ve had my 1967 VW Beetle in the garage for 14 years. A mechanic checked it over and says the engine is in surprisingly good shape, but it’ll cost a bomb to restore. I’d have to have the tires made specially, according to my mechanic (who is all for it, really).

Should I do it? I’m only the 3rd owner; my grandfather gave it to me in 1985. He bought it in um, 1969? 1970?

I am all for restoring a 67 Bettle and I am also all for staying very far from a mechanic that says tires must be “specially” made. Can you put that statement in contex?

Yeah. They don’t make that size tire anymore; it’s non-standard. I trust this shop; I’ve been using them for over 10 years now. They’ve never tried to get me to do anything unnecessary to my car, and have often tried to find less expensive alternatives to replacing say, the entire AC on my Jeep.

They don’t mind explaining to a woman what exactly they’re doing and why. I’ve seen under my car when they have it up on the lift, and Steve or Jay will happily take time out to explain fairly easy maintenance or repairs I could do on my own and not need to come into the shop to deal with. They used to work on the Beetle before it got taken off the road; they’ve known the car a while.

There is a company, Coker Tire, that may have the tires you need for a VW. The URL is COKERTIRE.COM. Also, there is a place in Springfield, Ohio–

I would recommend you pick up an old car publication at a bookstore. Hemming’s Classic Car, Cars & Parts and I think there are even publications for old VWs. Your mechanics may not be up on parts availability for 1967 VW’s–I don’t think many roll into their shop these days.

Coker tire has eight choices in the correct OEM size for you, so tires will not be your biggest challenge.

Unless your funds are relatively unlimited, need to do a quick analysis of the costs in restoring. For example, you will likely have $800 in tires alone after purchase, ship, mount & balance.

If you’re willing to spend the money you can get anything you need for a '67 Beetle, including tires. These cars are incredibly simple to work on and keep running. A rusty floor pan would be the biggest problem, but you can get a new floor pan if necessary, and any other body part.

Get a copy of Hemming’s Motor news and look at all the places that sell VW stuff. Also try some VW enthusiast sites on the Internet. 1967 is a good year to have. You’ll see when you start doing some research. This would be a fun weekend car.

Purchase a copy of “How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive.” It’s the best book I’ve ever seen for air cooled VWs. Even if you don’t do any of the work yourself the book will explain how everything on the car works and how to keep it going. Plus, it’s very entertaining to read.

They still MADE air-cooled bugs in Mexico until just a couple of years ago. You could DRIVE or trailer the car down to Mexico, drop your car off at a restoration shop, take a bus to a resort destination and enjoy yourself on the beach for a week or so, come back to a “like new” car…For a FRACTION of what it would cost having it done in the States…Any parts used would be new FACTORY VW parts!

Think outside the box…

Are you going to restore it? Or, have someone restore it for you?

There are companies that specialize in vintage VW parts. Getting parts including tires is not a problem. This is an easy to car to disassemble and reassemble after sandblasting the paint down to bare metal and fixing all the rust etc. Then you reassemble and paint. All the interior pieces can be purchsed if the current panels are not repairable.

This is a good project car for a hobbiest. To do it right a professional could make the car like new, a concourse winner. Your current mechanic is showing his ignorance about vintage VW’s. I’d suggest you scout around for a mechanic that really knows these old cars and he’ll know the sources of all the parts you’d need.

You need to decide to what level you are going to “restore” it? Making it road worthy and functional should be easy. New tires, basic motor work, getting the brakes working and flushed with fresh brake fluid is about all there is to it.

Things that take you to the next level is getting new heater boxes installed and all the tubing that goes into making the heater and defroster work. The heat boxes sit on the motor near the exhaust manifords. They get rusty and inefficient therefore no heat in winter. If the manifolds are rusted out and leak then you can get exhaust pumped through the heat vents directly into the car. For warm weather use you just close off the heater and no problem. If you intend to drive the bug in winter you’ll mostly likely need to replace the heater boxes.

If this a dollars and cents thing, absolutely not. Find a restored bug. It will cost a lot less. But restoration is rarely about the money. If you really like the car and want to have some fun, do what you can yourself and hire someone for the rest. If you consider it a hobby and it appeals to you, enjoy your new pastime.

To get fancy old-timey bias-ply tires, you’ll need to go to Coker, but I was able to just walk into the big tire chain here and buy a set of four modern-style radials for my '69 Beetle as recently as three years ago. And they were surprisingly cheap, too, like $40 a tire or something like that!

Don’t worry about the engine, they’re cheap and easily found. The condition of the body is what’s important. Floor Pan rust can be replaced without too much trouble, but it can bely heater channel rust, which makes things a lot more involved.

Other than the rust, old Beetles are usually pretty easy restorations because they are still the #1 most produced vehicle in history and parts are plentiful and cheap. Your mechanic is right that it’ll be expensive to restore it to perfect concorse d’elegance showroom condition, but just to get it to the point of being a nice old car you can drive around in shouldn’t be too bad. (Assuming no serious rust)

I do not agree with your mechanic about the tires or possibly costing a bomb to restore. Parts for these cars are generally cheap and just about everything on them is easily serviced.
Unless it’s eaten alive by rust weevils it should not be a big deal to have this thing on the road.

Maybe some brake work, fuel system work, new battery/tires, and two of the most important and often overlooked things on them; replace ALL fuel lines (many of these cars have burnt to a crisp because of this oversight) and the generator drive belt. A broken generator belt leads to severe engine overheating and a fried engine pretty quickly.

Another thing that should be inspected is the engine thermosat and air flaps in the fan shroud. These can quietly stick closed and also fry an engine. Many people have simply wired them open to prevent this, although it does take a bit longer to get more heat into the cabin, although “heat” is a term that is debateable.

The '67 is actually a desireable year to own and is often considered the “Cadillac” of the old air-cools since that was the year the horsepower went up.

I think you should restore it. But like others have said, your mechanic isn’t the guy to do this job. He wants to charge too much and isn’t really informed on the issues involved. Find a better and more reasonably priced way to do this.

No Rust Is A Must. The Rest Is History.

Where I live, a 67 bug would have disintegrated by now, whether stored, driven, or otherwise. I don’t know where you live. Pay careful attention to the floor pan (Except directly under the battery. A little rust there is normal) and the areas that retain the running boards and heater ducts. If all is well, then it could be worth restoring. Lots of rust? Forget about it.

Since you know much of the car’s history and possibly its sentimental value to you, this could be a good learning project for you. Obviously you’d like to give it a go or you wouldn’t be asking about it. Since " . . . Steve or Jay will happily take time out to explain fairly easy maintenance or repairs I could do on my own and not need to come into the shop to deal with." , you will not be going at this blindly and may be able to do much of the work yourself, saving money. You must not be in a big hurry and must be driving something else. Perfect!

I think this is one of those situations that you won’t really know until you try and if you don’t try, you might regret it later on. Go for it.

P.S. I have owned and operated a Sea Blue 64 Bug (bought used), and a Clementine Orange 71 Super Beetle (purchased new with sunroof for $2350), both of which were driven (until they disintegrated/wore out) into the ground.

[i]OK4450, Remember Too, Besides That 1500 Engine, They Went To A Much Needed 12 Volt Electrical System And Plain Old Headlights (No Goofy Covers).[/i]

What kind of shape is the body in? If it’s OK, all the rest is easy, probably one of the easier 1967 cars for you to restore. Parts are plentiful, there’s a thriving owner network (there may be a club in your area), you can find out answers to just about anything (try Do you want to? Do it! It seems like a neat family heirloom. Will you make money on it? Probably not, but that’s usually the case.

p.s.-I don’t know what your mechanic’s talking about - Tire Rack has Kumhos in your size, $45 each.

My sister has had her Vw for so long none of us wish to discuss. Look on Ebay for a book called the Idiots Guide to Volkswagen. (it’s just flat out a fun read) but…more importantly you can do the rebuild yourself. Just for safety sake…might email me (is that possible on this site???) to make sure I gave you the right name. I bought her the book for Christmas way, way. way back…(might want to iclude another way there…lol)…point being, you can make this a workable, loveable car (Oh…and having worked in a detail shop, I can tell you first hand that the paint is easily buffed (becareful not to go to deep).