This here is my partner in crime and I love it. We’ve seen so much in our lifetimes, from sunrise at the Wild Coast, to endless sand dunes on the West Coast, to the Southern most point in Africa. In short, we’ve seen most of what Southern Africa has to offer, together.
It all started on 18 June 1959, when my grandfather traded his 1939 Ford in and purchased his first brand new car. Being a military man, it was in his nature to be disciplined and that everything should be in order. So saying this, when the car finally got handed over to me in 1994, it came with all the early service booklets and priceless information about the car’s early years. Click here to view the payment records sample.
My dad remembers the first day this beetle became a member of the family. He was 8 years old and was pleasantly surprised when he saw mom and dad pull up at school in a shiny pastel green beauty .Years later, as a student, he borrowed the car one evening and so a new life cycle began, as it never got returned.
Time passed by and “old faithful” was replaced by newer makes and models, which certainly did not have the same character. There she stood for over a decade, patiently waiting for the next chapter .So it was no surprise that the day I got my driver’s license she was there, proudly sporting a new ink blue colour and a much, much stronger motor. It was exciting times for an 18 year old kid. The only downer with all this was that the excitement only lasted a few kilometers at a time, as the engine had serious overheating problems. OK maybe I did have too much adrenalin in my veins, but for every negative, there is a positive. I was put back on the path of Werner Alker , a beetle Guru to say the least .Werner hooked me up with a 34 hp engine and more importantly taught me the history behind my car and also what my car can do for me . It was around this time that Werner and I entered the first ever African Beetle Marathon. This event changed my relationship with my beetle completely. We became one.
My life however jumped in a different direction in 2000, when a life changing adventure arose in the form of a ’59 Kombi and not my beloved ’59 Beetle .These travels kept me out of South Africa for the next 10 years and once again my Beetle had to scrub nest in the Barn.
It’s 2010. I’m back in South Africa and all it took to start the 50-year-old lady up again, was some clean petrol and a new battery. For its 50th anniversary, I decided to do a trip from Pretoria to pretty much wherever she takes me .We ended up spending a lot of time on the Transkei’s pothole-infested roads and slowly worked our way to Cape Town, before heading back up the Coast again.
After 16 years of loyal service to me, I’ve decided to give her a make over. And to say Thank You, I’ve decided to put most of the blood, sweat and love into the restoration myself, with Werner’s experienced help, of course. I have grown with this car and learned that it doesn’t take much to enjoy life.
I will keep everyone updated with the restoration project, but as for now I’m leaning towards taking her back to the original pastel green colour. It’s always been an everyday car and not a show piece and, therefore, not original in all aspects but definitely standard. I’ll probably keep the cars matching 30 hp engine wrapped up in storage and put a little oomph back in there.
As my old man once said “If this car could talk, we would probably all be in jail now “