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Dave's 1978 Super Beetle

In high school, my first car was a '59 Ghia. It was too much work for me to tackle and I ended up totaling it anyway. Next I bought a '76 Bug in lime green. Loved that car! But my future wife didn't enjoy riding in it because it was lowered. I sold that one before we were married. My wife loved Bugs as well. She had a '67 in college, but it met an unfortunate end with a semi one icy morning on the way back to WSU. We've always talked about our love for VW Bug. Ten years later we were teaching overseas in West Africa with our twin eight-year old boys. When we were home visiting for the summer, we started talking about how fun it would be to have a convertible Bug. That's all it took for me! We were off to find our dream car. We located this '78 in a nearby city. It had never been wrecked and was all original, including the engine. It had been sitting outside neglected for quite a few years. After closing the deal, we finally had our dream car. We only had a week left in the states before heading back to Africa for another school year. We knew exactly what we wanted to see happen with this car. My parent's neighbor stored it in her garage for us the first year. My dad did the disassembly of the car and delivered it to the painter. He documented this entire process because he didn't think I was going to be able to put it back together again. The painter had the car for about four months. We weren't in a hurry since we weren't home. He took the car down to bare metal and started over. I ordered parts online from Africa and had them shipped to my parents' house.

The timeline for the painter was to have it finished by the time we got home in June. I picked up the car with my dad when we got home and I drove it back to the house freshly painted with no windows, lights or anything. I spent the rest of that summer putting it together (thank goodness for my dad's pictures!). Two days before we left again (our last year in Africa) an older woman backed into the car in a parking lot, smashing the rear fender. My life was over! Every time my wife wanted to drive the car it involved a long lecture about how and where to park it, and no it wasn't for sale. My dad took it back to the painter and he did his magic on the rear fender, and life was good again. Our goal of the car was to keep it looking stock. We wanted it to look as if it just came off the assembly line in Germany. Besides the paint, it also received new pans, and disc brakes up front for stopping power. The engine is still original. I pulled it out to clean it, replaced all gas lines from the tank to the engine, had all the engine tin repainted, and had the transmission rebuilt. The interior looks stock as well. The seats were torn apart and rebuilt, and new covers installed. The carpet is a German square-loop. The convertible top was completely taken apart and redone with all new materials as well. I'm not sure how much money we have into it now, but it's worth every penny. My dad had a great time with this car and enjoyed watching and participating in the progress. He recently passed away, and at his funeral there was a picture of him sitting in this car, stripped to nothing as he was taking it to get paint in freezing temperatures. This car means more to me now because of him.

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