My Baby

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Last June I bought a 1973 standard (as in not a Super, but also manual) Volkswagen Beetle off Craigslist. It was “fully” restored in around 2007, albeit poorly (more on that later), and have been working on it since I got it. It’s my daily driver at this point, mostly because it’s my only car. It came with all the receipts of the “restoration,” the original bill of sale, and other goodies.

It’s got a 1600cc dual-port, carbureted, air-cooled engine that produces about 50 horsepower. I’ve had it up to 87 miles per hour and it was a terrifying experience. No air-conditioning, no diagnostics, no airbags. It does have three point seatbelts and a collapsible steering column though!

If you know about aircooled VWs and you take a look at my engine bay you’ll notice a couple things wrong. I’m running a mechanical advance (009) distributor vs a vacuum one (034) with my 34-PICT 3 carburetor. This pairing results in a terrible “flat spot” during acceleration. I push down on the gas and the car doesn’t go anywhere for a few good seconds, then all of the power suddenly appears and it jerks forward. This makes merging onto interstates particularly harrowing. I’ve also got a paper element air filter vs the oil bath filter that originally shipped with my Nov. 1972-manufactured Beetle. It’s definitely more stock than the chrome air filter that was on it when I bought it.

Won 2nd place at a car show the other day.

Like I said the car came with all the receipts of the restoration, and it was a cheap restoration. I’ve been working on bringing it back to as close to stock as possible. The front fenders on it were $69 a piece from JC Whitney. Those have gotta go, even if it means the paint job is mismatched. Same with the bumpers; they’re Chinese reproductions that rust super easily. Also another small issue: it’s rusting from the inside out. When this gets really bad, I’m going to have it all sandblasted down and taken care of, then repainted all in one fell swoop.

The car is a lot of trouble, but it’s so fun and it brings a smile to my face every time I drive it. I hope to own it for a long, long time.

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