A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £23,060
According to his 'birth certificate' (sourced from Stiftung Auto Museum) 'Bertie the Beetle' began life on the 19th of August, 1963 and was despatched from the factory to a destination in Ramsgate some four days later. Since then, and up until our vendor purchased the car in February 2011, we imagine this little Beetle has led a life of ups (partial renovations in 1989 and '92) and downs (on SORN between 2001 to 2008). Our vendor had always intended to create a 'show car' and, although when he purchased 'Bertie ' for £3,360 it was in sound condition, he decided that the time had come to fulfil his ambition and carry out a no expense spared, bare-metal, nut and bolt restoration, and so commenced the next two years in pursuit of perfection. Despite it being in reasonable condition, the original shell was replaced with another from a 1963 Beetle and any sub-standard panels on that were swapped for brand new German-manufactured ones as was the floorpan. Pro-Strip in Nottingham removed all the old paint and anything organic and the vehicle then received a phosphate coating. All bolts, washers, and trim have been replaced in stainless steel or chrome and all seals, grommets and sundry fixings were also renewed. The vendor had a clear idea of how he wanted the interior to look and Bernard Newbury (Auto Interiors) was commissioned to create something special. The seats and panels are trimmed in Red Leather with matching map pockets and gear lever boot. Scarlet, deep pile, wool carpet is fitted throughout, including the parcel shelf, under the bonnet area and the bespoke spare wheel cover. The headlining is finished in a cream coloured wool-mix fabric. Matching polished-aluminium switches and knobs have been fitted across the interior, and the dashboard is finished off with a retro 'Old Timer' digital radio and speaker. The seat frames and runners were powder coated in black and the seat adjusters fitted with polished aluminium knobs. Daniel Wharton of 'Reichspeed Aircooled' at West Stockwith undertook a complete engine rebuild, boring it out to 1641cc, fitting twin Weber 34 carburettors, stainless steel silencer and Theo Dekker exhausts, deluxe heat exchanger kit, Petronix 11 ignition kit and a Flamethrower 11 coil. The suspension has not been forgotten, having been overhauled and rebuilt with new axles, new front and rear shock absorbers, tie rods and king and link pins along with a lowered ride height, narrowed front beam with new beam plates and adjusters, and chrome torsion arm covers. Disc brakes are fitted at the front with a new master cylinder, copper brake lines, hoses and stainless steel brake hose clips. All external trim was replaced and new items fitted in either stainless steel or chrome including Albert swan-neck mirrors, stainless steel bumpers, and over-riders. As you can imagine this was not a cheap exercise with the parts bill alone coming to in excess of £20,000, never mind the labour. Our fastidious vendor has compiled a six-page detailed (very detailed) breakdown of all his costs and this is in the history file along with a number of old receipts and inspection reports dating from the early eighties. This is not a car that has been restored as a faithful 'original, nor is it a 'Custom Car Special', it's more one man's vision of his idea of the Best Beetle in the World. Have a look at it and if you like Beetles, you'll fall in love, and if you don't like Beetles you will still feel a twinge of admiration. Try and find another one as good as this. (Photographs courtesy of Paul Knight from Ultra VW magazine).