|Update Nov 2017:
Herman is finally getting a full restoration! After 11 years of daily driving, salt, sun and 120,000 miles he was retired of his winter duties and will be a summer car only now. He will still be Chris's daily driver in the summer, but he is going to be shinny again. However, the only area that will not be refreshed is his interior paint. We wanted to keep some of his character.
Herman is a very early 67 beetle (vin #117002513) I purchased in December of 2002. Plans were to restore him someday, but during the winter 2006-2007 I really wanted to have a beetle to drive instead of my truck. After doing some searching and coming up with nothing worthwhile I decided to use Herman. I replaced his rocker panels and floors, put all new brakes in and gave him a tune-up. Attention was played to rust proofing Herman and not worrying about looks. A good heater system was also devised. Who says a bug heater doesn’t work if setup correct? One weekend in February 2007 we hit 14 below, my truck wouldn’t start, but Herman did. He had no problem heating up his interior, sure it didn’t get ?hot? inside, but it was comfortable considering it was -14 outside. The key to a good heater is ?German? heater boxes and good air flow.
As of February 2014 Herman has 203452 miles. In addition to being driven all winter by me he is also driven all summer by Chris. She does home health care. Last summer alone she racked up 15,000 miles on him. Very little money has been put into Herman over the last 5 years. Herman represents what the beetle was built for, honest cheap reliable transportation. He isn't shinny and new, he is what he is and doesn't pretend to be anymore. For a 40 plus year old car Herman has done very well.
In addition to using Herman as a daily driver I also use him to test different parts and rust proof coatings. His top coat is just plain tractor paint, but under that he has several different types of primers. During the Wisconsin winters the roads get covered in salt which is very hard on a cars body. Each fall I take Herman’s fenders off and inspect for rust. Any bad areas get cleaned and recoated. The best coating I have used so far is Master Series. Second place, in my option, is Eastwood Rust Encapsulator and third goes to Por-15.
Will Herman ever get a shiny coat of paint? Maybe, but for now we will continue to use and enjoy him every day as he is. He will, however, stay stock and keep his 67 only parts.
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