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  • Writer's pictureFrank Oles

1978 VW Beetle Convertible

This is the story of our Beetle Convertible. Never could I have imagined we'd be cruising around in Beetle Ragtop, yet here we are! Thanks to a very generous gift from my Uncle Jim, meant to be shared amongst my family, my sister and my parents, we are VW people again! Thanks to an extra garage space, it lives at my house most of the time. The real story begins with the 1964 Beetle project my father and I have been working on for the past 10 years. Seeing the trials that we have been through, my Uncle kept his eyes open for a running Beetle we could enjoy right away. A neighbor of his in Hinsdale had this Beetle parked in her garage since the 90s, and he kept inquiring about purchasing the car. It previously resided at her summer home in Florida, where it was lightly used, acquiring just under 10K miles in its life on the road. A curious bit of history - according to her, the car's original owner was none other than McDdonald's own Ray Kroc. As a real estate agent, she acquired the car as part of her real estate commission on a deal with Ray!

We brought the car home on March 31, 2012. It was a nice, clean, running and driving car. 90% original paint. Clean convertible top and interior. A real time capsule!

This is how the Beetle sat the first time it rolled into our driveway. Most Super ride very high in the front, and ours was no exception. Sorting the ride height was high on the list of priorities. Stock wheels would be put on a shelf, soon to be replaced with something with a bit more flair.

Interior was clean and presentable, save for a few spider webs. Check out the 8-track player. A new belt and it was soon in service, cranking out the 70s tunes like it should.

Aside from some high idling issues, the motor ran but was due for a service. Injectors, belts, hoses, and just about every rubber item was due for replacement.

Floorpan was super clean and remarkably free from rust, save for a small patch directly underneath where the battery is located, under the back seat.

Soon, it would be time to get to work on this car to make it safe and reliable. Vintage cars can take you places no modern car can. We look forward to all the new adventures with the newest member of our family.

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