Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Summer Project - 1965 VW Beetle: Part 6

"Now that is, by far, the rustiest bug I've ever seen."
The Optimist smiled, shaking his head before bending over to crawl inside the carcass of the Volkswagen Beetle. He pulled out the rotting back seat and searched in vain for any last salvageable part.
"Nothing," he pronounced.
That body, picked clean many years ago, was too far gone.

The previous afternoon, my brother Rob called to tell me he was helping his father-in-law clean out one of his barns, and there was a pile of salvaged parts from an old Volkswagen up in the hayloft. Did I think Tom would be interested?
"Interested? Thrilled is more like it."
"Well, some of the stuff is rusty, and I'm not sure what year it is, but he can have it all for free if he takes the lot."

The next morning we pulled up the driveway of the Jerome's 175 year old farmhouse in Strongsville, and were greeted by Rob and his wife's' parents Jim and Val.
Jim, retired from a long career as Strongsville's fire chief, spends his time these days traveling with his wife and tinkering with antique cars.
The old 1966 Beetle was a restoration project that seemed like a good idea a number of years ago, but eventually was abandoned in favor new adventures.

"Pull the truck back there." Rob motioned to a large barn at the back end of the rustic compound.
Climbing a steep staircase to the second floor, we walked carefully through two dusty rooms filled with the remnants of a bygone agricultural era.
Stacked in a far corner, illuminated by sunlight streaming through the open door of the hayloft, we could see a pile of doors, window glass, fenders, bumpers, a deck lid, wheels, and the unmistakable curve of a beetle hood. Many of these pieces were formerly attached to the skeletal Volkswagen in the woods.

To save repeated trips up and down the treacherous staircase, Jim brought around an old tractor rigged with a front end loader, the scoop plenty big enough to carry even the largest pieces. One part after another came down, and in no time, the truck was filled.

When we got the load home that afternoon and sorted through the stack, we found a few parts that Barney, our '65 Bug could use.

"We'll have to make some room in the garage" said The Optimist with a dangerous gleam in his eye. "You never know what we might need for the next Beetle project."

To be continued...
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1 comment:

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