1969 Volkswagen Beetle
In April of 2004, when she was a grad student, Lis got a 1969 Beetle to drive around as her normal car. At the time she wanted that was cheap, fun, and easy to work on, so the Beetle fit her needs well. In August of 2006 we got married, and at that point she decided she was grown-up enough to replace the Beetle with something a little more modern. We decided to keep the Beetle, clean it up, and have it as a nice toy car. This page is here to document its life.
Lis is the third owner of this car. It was originally bought in 1968 from a dealer in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a princely sum of $1900. The original owners were just as much of packrats as I and kept every receipt from every expense related to it, including the original car receipt, their loan papers, thirty years worth of oil changes, and lots of other general maintenance.
Eventually the original owners passed it on to their children, who moved it from New Mexico to their home near Bellevue, Nebraska. There they kept it for several years until Lis bought it from them in 2004. Along with the car she got various extras, including all of those receipts, a tow bar, a car cover, and a box of random spare parts. It was like a perfect Beetle Starter Kittm
. Lis took it with her when she moved to the Chicago area in the fall of 2004, and it now has a place of honor in our garage out in the suburbs.
One of the reasons Lis got the Beetle was because she was a poor grad student at the time and knew she could con me into helping her fix anything that went wrong with it. She was right, and I have carefully documented each of the procedures we have performed. Note that these are not step-by-step how-to documents. We used John Muir's great book on how to keep your Volkswagen alive as our guides, and these pages document what we saw and fought with during our work.
- Tech Specs - A quick reference to some collected useful information such as torques, sizes, and pressures.
- Beetle Door Handle Replacement - The Beetle needed a new door handle, so we replaced it.
- Beetle Generator Replacement - In September of 2005, the generator in the Beetle died. We gave it a new one.
- Beetle Master Cylinder Replacement - The brakes broke in the Beetle in November of 2005. Putting in a new master cylinder fixed them up nicely.
- Beetle Rear Wheel Cylinder Replacement - The brakes started breaking again in July of 2006. It was time to finish the master cylinder job by replacing the rear cylinders.
- New Paint - In October of 2006 we decided the Beetle needed to have something done about its mismatched paint and slowly forming rust problem.
- Hubcap Cleaning - After getting the Beetle painted, the wheels looked terrible. First order of business: cleaning the hubcaps.
- Horn Fixing - Long ago, the Beetle's horn stopped working. I finally took the time to track down the problem.
- New Muffler - The muffler on the Beetle was on its last legs, so I decided to put a brand new one on.
- Distributor Overhaul - I couldn't tell how long it had been since the distributor had been touched and the points were very pitted, so I decided to do a preemptive overhaul.