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Frank's 1976 Super Beetle

This was not a restoration project that I was looking for.  If found me.  This VW Super Beetle Convertible had been a member of our family for over 15 years. It was originally my daughter in-laws college transportation car. It went into rest and disuse in early 1990, shortly after it brought my daughter in-law Kristy and my son Eric back from their honeymoon.  From that point on it sat around in various family garages for about 11 years (the last of these being mine).  Eric had always intended to make this car his restoration project when time and assets permitted. As the vehicle sat around collecting dust and taking up space, my wife began applying more than a little pressure on me to take a more affirmative stand to bust Eric’s Super Beetle loose from our garage. So at about this time I came up with the idea of making it a joint restoration project since I would shortly be retiring from my job with Boeing Satellite Systems  (formerly Hughes Space and Communications) as a project engineer.  I would just help him out a bit just to get things rolling. My son liked the idea and my wife was pleased, so the restoration was started in about mid 2001. About six months into the project, there was a friendly disagreement between Eric and myself regarding the amount of effort and cost that should be spent on the restoration. Also, Eric had become very involved in his career building, which had to limit his involvement in the project.  Circumstances being such, we agreed that I would buy him out. As it turned out, this would not be an easy or cheep restoration.  In addition to TLC the car would also require substantial expenditure in order to restore its mechanical reliability and roadworthiness.  I learned that with enough money you could pretty much move mountains or even restore a dead vehicle. This little baby and I have been through a lot together.  Our relationship could be described as a love hate marriage situation.  I can’t count the times that I thought I wanted a divorce.  But I just could not give up on her. I just kept plugging away at it a buck at a time with many, many trips to my mechanic and the parts store not to mention many hours out in the garage with my little honey buggy on jacks. I hated her for a long time but the day did come when I began to love her.  And today I love her a lot.  I now have the pleasure of driving her around town, to the beach and on extended Sunday cruses with the wife who also has grown to love her.  In late September, this year, I did not hesitate to drive her down to San Diego and back.  She was a real pleasure on the road where I was able to maintain speeds up to 75 MPH with decent acceleration.  This proved to be good enough to keep up with today’s high-speed freeway traffic (bare in mind that this is a 1976 stock VW).  I must admit that it always gives me a thrill when I catch other drivers staring at my baby out of the corner of their eyes or as it happened once when I was driving it about my neighborhood, a kid about 12 or so shouted out from the curb “cool car man!”  Then there was the time I was coming out of Stater Brothers market and there was this VW enthusiast jumping all around her like a kid in a toy store.  Yes sir it’s times like these that make everything that I put into this restoration project worth it.

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