To pay my way through college I would buy old Beetles and clean, rehab and restore them for resale. This work included engine rebuilds, body removal for pan repair, body, paint and upholstery work.
A few months after graduating from college with a journalism degree, I returned from Alaska seeking cheap, reliable transportation. Two blocks from home was a '61 sunroof Beetle with a dull black paint job but solid body work. With only transportation in mind, I converted it to 12-volt and build a 1600cc engine and installed 4 new bias ply tires. This car looked awful but run reliably for me for four years. It was then I realized that Volkswagen and I were becoming intimate.
A number of years later I was approached about the idea of writing a restorer's book on the Beetle. The idea sparked a fire in me immediately and after five years of on and off work I am proud to present the following work.
Many well meaning former owners have altered their cars, nearly beyond recognition in some cases. Restoring these to their original appearance is often the goal of a new owner and for many, it is not an easy task. Many answers are stashed away in factory manuals. Other answers are seemingly lost to obscurity. Volkswagen was constantly superseding an original item with a superior piece. The result, while frustrating to the restorer, was to improve the vehicle. All changes, including those made mid-year are illustrated here to better assist in accurate restoration.
Subject: The 1949-1959 VW Beetle Authenticity Series. 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959.