He then spent $40,000 restoring it to its former glory.
Cars hold a lot of sentimental value for many people, so imagine being reunited with a car that was an important part of your childhood after 38 years. That's what happened to Lynn Pfenning, who spent the last 38 years tracking down his father's cherished 1967 Volkswagen Type 3 fastback and four years painstakingly restoring it back to its original glory.
Pfenning's father purchased the Brunswick Blue Type 3 fastback for $2,200 in 1967 to replace his 1965 Volkswagen Beetle, which was wrecked after he hit a cow while traveling home from their grandparents' house in rural North Dakota. "Growing up, my job every Saturday was to wash and detail the family car before church," Pfenning said.
Eight years later, his dad sold it to a local farmer who then gifted the car to his son, who was also a friend of Pfenning's. After Pfenning's friend graduated from high school, the Type 3 fastback was used as a utility vehicle for several years before being stored in a barn for around two decades. Pfenning worked at an automotive plant for 20 years, but he became determined to track down his father's original VW Type 3.
"Over the years, we may have gone our separate ways, but I always kept track of that car," said Pfenning. "I would check in every five or so years to see if he was willing to sell me it," but the owner refused to part ways with the car. This changed in 2013 when he contacted his friend to find out if the car was available to purchase. After some haggling, Pfenning reacquired his father's VW for a fraction of the asking price.
Since the car was left abandoned in a barn for several decades, the car was in poor condition. The fastback suffered a lot of abuse as the previous owner used it as a farm vehicle to round up cattle, causing damage to the doors and crushed the nose. The engine was also severely damaged due to a hidden mouse nest that caught fire and damaged the car's cylinder heads. Failed windshield gaskets also caused the floor pan and transmission deck to deteriorate.
Bringing the car back to its former glory required an extensive restoration job that cost nearly $40,000, but that's small change compared to the VW enthusiast who spent $140,000 restoring a Golf GTI. All of the rust was cut out and replaced with new metal, and all the nuts and bolts were replaced or refurbished.
The 1.6-liter flat-four engine was rebuilt to a more powerful 1.8-liter and a custom tweed interior was fitted. As a finishing touch, the car was given a new coat of Candy Brandywine paint, a popular color found on 1930's era hot rods.
Pfenning completed the restoration project in July 2018 and entered it in the North Dakota State Fair, where it received first place for best antique car. His 83-year-old dad was in for a shock when he was reunited with his fastback. "He couldn't believe it was the same car," Pfenning said. "He smiled the entire parade - which lasted nearly two hours - yelling, in his distinct German dialect, 'It's a Volkswagen, and I bought it brand new!' He was so excited." Since then, the car has been entered in several competitions and received more awards.