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Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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After Devastating Fire, Restoration Begins on One of the World’s Oldest Beetles

Posted June 25, 2015 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: Beetle fire restoration volkswagen

For much of the latter half of the Twentieth Century, comedians compared the ubiquitous Volkswagen Beetle to the cockroach-both of them so hard to kill, they'd likely survive the apocalypse when nothing else did. Indeed, neither the devastation of World War II nor an extensive industrial park fire could snuff out one of the world's oldest Beetles, which is now poised to go through its second major restoration.

The fire four years ago in Hamburg, Germany, sent toxic smoke pluming into the air and took out a go-kart track, furniture warehouse and a number of small businesses.

What's in store for this 75 year old Beetle?

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Re: After Devastating Fire, Restoration Begins on One of the World’s Oldest Beetles

06/28/2015 11:08 PM

A 75 year old beetle looks different from this one.

Round headlights, no oval types.

The size of the back window can show more about the age, but unfortunately it doesn't show well. This could be a end '50 or early '60 edition, perhaps not qualified for retirement yet.

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Re: After Devastating Fire, Restoration Begins on One of the World’s Oldest Beetles

06/29/2015 5:27 PM

As can be seen in the inset pictures, there are 4 easy cues as to the era or approximate age of this beetle.

1. The split rear window.

2. The shape and design of the rear panel cooling vent louvers.

3. The small round bullet tail lamp assemblies.

4. The tear drop shaped license plate light.

Early model beetles had a 25 hp motor and a 6 volt electrical system.

I thought early model beetles had semiphores mounted on the door pillars.

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After Devastating Fire, Restoration Begins on One of the World’s Oldest Beetles

06/30/2015 4:22 PM

My friend had a split rear window beetle and it had the semaphores. It lacked a gas gauge but had a reserve valve. It lacked horsepower but other than a voltage regulator problem, would always start after sitting for months at a time during the Rhode Island winters while we were deployed. He had taken it to the local VW dealer for the regulator problem, and they tried to convince him it was not worth repairing. They "replaced" the regulator and generator and when he asked why the charge light was still coming on, they explained it was "static from the road". I told my friend that there was nothing wrong with the old generator as I had flashed the field and it had picked up immediately. We got in the car and drove to the dealer. The waiting room was filled with customers. I asked, probably louder the necessary, who had told my friend about the "static in the road". The service manager answered "I did, why, who are you?" I explained that I was an aircraft electrician and that I was aware of the cars value and how it appeared he was pulling a fast one. The dealership replaced the regulator and the original generator without cost. Several customers got an education that day.

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