It now looks better than new.
The Volkswagen Beetle is one of the most iconic cars of all time, so we were a bit surprised when the company announced it would end production with a Final Edition model with no plans for a successor. However, given the popularity of the Beetle nameplate, we wouldn't be surprised if it eventually makes a comeback as an electric car.
Classic Beetle examples are becoming quite desirable and VW knows how loyal some customers are to this legendary nameplate. That is why the company decided to restore a red, 1967 model which was bought new in Riverside, California back in 1966.
The 1967 Beetle was named Annie by its only owner Kathleen Brooks, who has used the car for daily transportation for over 51 years clocking up over 350,000 miles in the process. That's enough to circle the Earth 14 times.
VW heard Brooks' story and wanted to thank her for her loyalty by restoring the car at the North American home of the Beetle, the factory in Puebla, Mexico. The restoration has taken 11 months as 60 Volkswagen employees and trainees converted the car back to factory specifications and added a few custom touches to commemorate Brooks' dedication to her Beetle.
“We often hear stories of dedicated Volkswagen owners, but there was something special about Kathleen and Annie that we felt we needed to honor,” said Derrick Hatami, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Volkswagen of America. “The original Beetle launched our business in the United States. This isn’t just a Beetle, it’s a member of her family, and after all the time our employees have spent with this special vehicle, we feel Annie is a part of our family as well.”
Brooks, a three-time cancer survivor herself, works with breast-cancer patients and survivors, providing comfort and cosmetic care during treatment and recovery. Throughout everything, she says her Beetle was “always there for me. I’ve said many times she and I are so much alike because she’s old, she’s faded, she’s dinged, she’s dented, she’s rusted, but you know what? She keeps running. And as long as I take as good care of her as I can, she’s going to continue to run.”
Over the 11-month restoration, over 40% of the Beetle's parts were replaced and 357 pieces were refurbished. The team even went through the painstaking process of recreating the stickers Brooks had added to the body and windows over the years.
VW even added a few upgraded parts including disc brakes from a later Beetle, an AM/FM/Bluetooth stereo meant to look like the original unit, and upgraded suspension. Of course, the engine was completely rebuilt, as was the transmission. Even the seats received a custom touch, with the words “Kathleen” and “Annie” embroidered in a classic VW font over the new leather.
“When Annie arrived, our team members quickly understood the connection Kathleen had with her car and embraced this project wholeheartedly,” said Steffen Reiche, CEO of Volkswagen of Mexico. “Restoring this car posed a number of challenges, but also provided a demonstration of the dedication we put into every Volkswagen we build.”