From the Ashes
I've been interested in Beetles since I was a small boy and always wanted to own one. A few months before I turned 21 I wrote off my Subaru and decided to buy a Bug as my "if didn't buy one now, I never would" car. I'd only just finished university and didn't have a job yet with my degree, so I couldn't afford anything very good. So I bought a rusty 1973 Super Beetle for less than $2500. This car was dodgier than I realized and the engine caught fire after I'd had it for only three days. Luckily, I put the fire out quickly and the damage was minimal. I fixed "Phoenix" up and drove it around for a year. I started a job as a scientist with my degree in March 2014, and after a few months of saving I took Phoenix to a paint shop to fix the rust and paint it. Sadly the painter told me there was more rust than car and that it would cost at least $10,000 to fix the rust and paint it.
He advised I take my $10,000 and buy a better one. I took his advice and went hunting for another Beetle. In the year I spent driving Phoenix I learnt a lot about Beetles, but I knew I wanted a 1973+ Super Beetle. In October 2014 I found a yellow 1975 Super Beetle that I liked on www.carsales.com.au for $9900 and located about 400 km away. After talking to the seller on the phone and deciding it was worth the trip down, I arranged to pick it up the following weekend. I talked my parents into driving me down to check it out. I test drove the car down once we got down there, bought it and drove it back home without incident.
When I bought my 1975, it had already been restored. It was a relatively stock looking Super that had been repainted bright yellow (GM/Holden "Devil Yellow") instead of the original Wattle. Inside it had racing buckets, a gauge panel mounted where the radio had been, a hidden radio in the glove box and speakers mounted in the rear "door" cards. In the engine bay, it had a reasonably stock engine with dual 34 Webber ICTs and a serpentine belt kit which I've since removed. Since then I've slowly upgraded it into my ideal daily driver. I like Beetles because I like the shape and the simple design, but I also like mod cons and I enjoy adding them to my Super Beetle. I've added a heated rear window, power aerial, intermittent wipers with wash and wipe, automatic headlights, central locking, remote activated boot release, LED footwell lighting, kick panel mounted front speakers, heads-up display GPS speedometer and even air conditioning. As far as air conditioning goes, I installed the Gilmore Enterprises kit produced in America. They didn't make an RHD kit so they specially designed an RHD evaporator (the only part different for an RHD car) for me.
Although I installed the Gilmore kit, I installed eyeball vents instead of those supplied right into the dash to better integrate the system into the dash. I also relocated the air conditioning fan switch into the position of the stock fresh air fan switch and the thermostat switch next to it where the cigarette lighter originally went. I've also added LED strip lighting inside the stock speedo, added backlighting to all my switches and installed a 380mm wood grain steering wheel. I built a centre console for extra gauges, a screen for a future reversing camera, and added carbon fibre look vinyl to my switch panel, gauge panel, centre console gauge panel, and to the glove box strip. Performance wise I've added a Kamei style spoiler, strut brace and upgraded my headlights to 100/90 H4s which I ran through relays. In the future I'd like to wire up rain sensing wipers, reversing camera and long term possibly cruise control.
I don't get out to many shows as I work Sunday and most VW shows are on that day. No trophies yet, but do I belong to the Gold Coast Dub Club and attend their show every year. I also like to attend the biennial weekend long Volkswagen Spectacular, which is the largest VW show in Australia. I'm also a part of the Super Beetles Only! Facebook group and AussieVeeDubbers online.
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