1955 English registered from new (1/3/55)
Original Engine number 1-0977079
Present Number - 1-1081740 (June 1955?)
Found in a Lockup in Letchworth Garden City 16th January 2020
It had been there since 1998 other than moving outside for a bit around 10 years ago.. it has done 10 miles since it last passed an MOT in 1998.
The previous owner had had it since September 1995 and had covered jut 1300 miles in it in the 3 years he used it.
It is painted the wrong colour it was Strato Silver and has been Red since at least the 1980s, However the colour appears to be Garnet Red which was a slightly later 50's Volkswagen colour and suits it well..
There is plenty to do but I will put it back on the road as soon as I can and slowly put it back to near stock
The fuel in it is 4 Star and 25 years old.
The car comes with lots of history and a list of old owners.
Stood here under a cover in the previous owners neighbours garage... even the owner hadn't seen it in 10 years..
A couple of pics - One showing the original Strato Silver paint
A couple of pictures from the late 1990s from the previous owner -
A photo posted by Just Kampers from the 1980s, the owner was a Mr hickey
Loaded up to come Home 17th jan 2020
Petrol Tank Time - The petrol is 4 Star Leaded and has turned back to Crude oil in 25 years... Getting the old stuff out the tank is going to be a challenge..
Oil Change time, I'm guessing its not been done since the early 1990s..
I found a 6v Battery to see what works..
Discovering some interesting hidden wiring - Extra switches and more
I know its not important... but swapped this out for an OG paint item and cleaned the strap..
Everything in the engine bay is painted black -
A fire wall made from wood...
Picture from Pre 67 VW forums - JollyChuffy - VW Action 1978 - How cool?
26/1/20 - I've been talking to a guy in Australia (R Keeling) via Facebook who bought the car in 1965 when it was only 10 years old. He used it to commute from Berkhamstead To Hatfield he said " I was a draughtsman with lee Valley Water in Bishops Rise" and commented that "Can remember it was not the best, needed a bit of work" ... and that was when it was 10 years old.. he sold it to buy a newer model..
He sent some further comments.. Can't remember much about the car, as I mentioned I bought it privately, it was sold in part exchange for a 63 beetle. Deal was done with Doves in Croydon, family friend. They produced the fast back TR4. Can remember deliberately running out of petrol to see how the reserve worked. Didn't know there was an off position as well. Walked to get fuel! Can remember smelly heater, strange handbrake, hang over from the earlier cable brake model. I Replaced the front wheel bearings. Got it stuck in the snow once! Had a look here for pics no joy, only have a few UK ones. Can't remember prices, paid perhaps £150, not sure, a new mini was £499, I can remember that.
27/1/20 - I've just got off the phone from Mr Muhlhaus who purchased the car in 1976 and sold it in 1984. He tells me he found it on a farm near Crawley in the corner of a field and it had been used for storing Hay. He had a 1957 already and purchased this one. It was a runner so he drove it home with help from a work mate (He worked in leatherhead) The car was badly painted gold at the time. He used aerosols and painted it Damask Red as this was the colour of his other car and he had left over paint. He made a custom Fur Interior, he got the black and white fur from Kingston - it was him that removed the original wool headliner and rods. He used to read custom car magazine for ideas! He fitted the fibreglass wings and had handles rechromed near Walton Stn Surrey. He used to go to a VW meet at Stafford Show Ground in it (VW Action?) and has some pictures to send me. He also thinks he has a folder in the attic full of information of jobs done. Apparently he wrote his other beetle off and then lost the love for VWs and sold this one.. In an email he told me it was called Siegfried.
More to come..
29/1/20 - I just got off the phone to Mr Hickey who owned the car twice in the 1980s.. The Car was called Siegfried, He bought it from an advert in custom car in August 1984 (from Mr Muhlhaus above). Siegfried had a book with him at the time with all the service and journey information in him - This has gone missing but was still with the car in the 1990s as he spoke to a later owner about it. The car got rear ended at a roundabout in Farnham and the insurance were being a pain so he sold it in 1998 to Mr Clegg who didn't use it so Mr Hickey got it back in 1989 it hadn't been repaired. when he sold it in 1990 it went to a trader. The car was also hit whilst parked at some point in the passenger front wing - a witness left a note saying it was 2 nuns who spoke no English. They were from Mount Alvernia Hospital, he tracked down a more senior nun who said they didn't think it mattered as it was just an old car.. they eventually paid for the repair in cash and it was repaired by a guy called Authur Carr... he fitted the odd steel wing that is on the car.. Arthur had a blue oval himself. The car has a standard looking interior at this time. He remembers paying £800 for it (Found for sale in Custom Car). it came with a load of spares including a 1650 engine and NOS parts. He used the engine in his camper. Memories include breaking down on the day of purchase. Calling the RAC and the RAC man fishing pyjama bottoms out of the fuel tank .. He went to lots of shows in the car and also had a 1957 23 Window split and a Split Devon Torvette camper.
Picture sent in by Mr Hickey - from the 1980s
10/2/20 - Email from Mr Muhlhaus who purchased the car in 1976 and sold it in 1984.
Thinking back to when I got
Siegfried, my office colleague (who had an A40) wanted to recondition its
gearbox and I was looking for a second, even older Beetle than my 59, so the
idea was, I buy it, lend it to him and when he was up and running, I'd get it
back. It just had to be a runaround, nothing special while he was using it. For
the life of me I can't remember how we discovered the car, but perhaps it was on
the way back from a breakers yard at Pease Pottage, near Crawley, that we used
to visit once in a while. When I see him again in a few weeks, I'll ask him but
he may have forgotten as well!
popped down to see it in Horley one extended lunchtime and decided it was just
right, and a project for me when I got the car back. I didn't pay much for it in
January 1976 (maybe £150) but obviously I don't remember! It was being used as
a chicken coop.
first thing we did was change the crossply tyres for radial. When I finally got
my hands on the car, I started the restoration, or more precisely, customising,
as that was what I was into at the time. I remember a girlfriend of the time
moaning because I spent more time under Siegfried than I did with her! I
couldn't really argue seeing I was doing something to the rear suspension, lying
flat on the floor by the nearside rear wheel with her looking down at me.
Needless to say, she didn't last much longer after that!
some point, I changed the electrics from 6 volts to 12 volts, because I'd done
this on my 59 and found it was a vast improvement. The body was fairly sound
with the usual rot along the door bottoms and wings. It had been sprayed, rather
amateurishly, with a gold paint but colour beneath was a steely blue-gray. I
replaced the wings with fibreglass ones and had the car resprayed in August 1977
with Damask Red, a British Leyland colour by Terry Bartlett, who ran a small car
repair business in Leatherhead. He used a two pack paint, maybe supplied by me,
in which case the paint came from Went's of New Malden. (I chose that non-VW
colour only because I'd sprayed my 59 that colour myself.) I remember the paint
spraying date of August 1977 well because I went down after work one day to
inspect progress and heard on the radio in the guy's paint booth that Elvis had
died. I later put on a crossflow exhaust pipe and cruising lights on the number
plates, then customised the interior with black & white fur. That might all
sound ghastly but I was then a thirty-something avid reader of Custom Car and
Hot Car magazines, and I wanted a look that was distinctive but not too
wild---unlike my 59 which I chopped and turned into a Bug!
said just now the colour below the gold was steely blue-gray. Well, I've just
discovered my log-book. Not the very original one from 1955, which I've never
seen, but the one which covered my era of possession and which starts off at
1966. At that point the car was silver!!! It was then owned by a Patrick Ernest
O'Connor, who apparently moved around from Croydon to Brighton to South Norwood
to Crystal Palace before selling the car to a Carol Wellington of Mill Hill in
1970. It then went to a Nicola Elizabeth Leigh of Oxted in 1971, then to Michael
Anthony Collins of Horley in 1975. My pal Ian became the registered owner on Jan
28th 1976, followed by me. However, that date is unknown to me because it'll be
in the logbook which I surrendered to the guy I sold the car to in mid-1983. Nor
do I remember who he was or when it was but you can find that out yourself, I'm
sure.The car had become "blue" in September 1971, the time of Nicola
Leigh, and went gold in 1972 during her ownership. Interestingly enough, the
engine number was 1-0977079 in 1966 but had become 1-1081740 by the time I
bought the car in January 1976. Presumably, the engine had been changed by Mr
Collins, because the date stamp says 28-1-76, which is when my pal Ian became
the registered owner. We certainly didn't do an engine swap on this particular
standard spare parts I used Driftbridge Garage on Epsom Downs, where the guy at
the parts department was incredibly helpful, even photocopying pages from his VW
parts book for me. For mechanical issues that I couldn't resolve myself or with
my pal's help, I went to Gandalf's Garage in South Nutfield (I think their
speciality was camper vans, though). Another place I used a lot for spares
was in Acre Lane, Brixton, but I can't remember the name. Was it Vee Wee? I'm
sure these places don't exist now! I also communicated with an enthusiast on the
Isle of Wight who came across to England every so often. I bought some vintage
spares from him. I think his name was Dave Boon. I discovered him through
scanned a few colour pictures of Siegfried that I will email to you shortly.
I've also found a page of contact prints for a reel of B&W film with shots
of Siegfried in its gold livery. I don't know if anybody locally can make prints
from my film, because the contact prints are way too small to be useful to you.
Leave that with me, because there may be a way using my computer scanner.
I sold Siegfried because I'd basically lost interest in him! I'd written off my 59 (ie, my Bug) just before Xmas 1981 and I was so disappointed that I set my sights on the American look and got myself a RHD American car (South African, actually) that I'd seen advertised in Exchange and Mart). This Valiant Barracuda became my new project car and Siegfried had to go. I got a Vauxhall Magnum to replace my wrecked 59 as an everyday car.
Custom interior inspired by Custom car Magazine from the 1970s
I like how you can see the car has twin indicator stalks.. one for the replacement indicators and one for the original trafficators
VW Action 1978 - Original pictures are cool!
I donít like the burgundy carpets but hated the hard slippery plastic heel pad even more... Zoe picked it off.. and I removed the glue..
So the headlining is rubbish, no rails to hold it up... no surprise if you look at the pictures of the old fluffy headliner from the 70s
Peeled the carpet back to find heater vents present and correct
Cool NOS mini / BMC lamp bracket
Rear brakes but no oil flingers? The front has been modernised too..
Clean Carb, Distributor and Fuel pump - all stripped, cleaned and rebuilt - Black paint removed...
Holes in the tunnel after I removed this weird accessory .. I've still no idea what it was for?
Double sided orange flashing LEDs for my Traficators - 6volt
New Mud Flaps and 3rd brake light
Pulled all This spare wire from the car, mostly indicators and fog / reverese light wiring that had fallen out of use..
Even the hand brake knob is black paint..
Mice lived here...
Using my patio cleaner jet wash attachment to clean the fuel tank
The old fuel line turned out to be tiny bore brake line.. it is now running the correct diameter and has grommets through the bodywork
Back together... He runs!
17th Feb 2020 - Well it moves... not on all cylinders but a good 2 maybe 3...
VW heritage brand new HT leads... literally falling apart as you fit them... why do people sell this utter crap?.... do they not use them themselves? ...
I have now installed genuine 40 year old? plug caps and he purrs.. I had really hoped we were past the 1990s attitude of selling any old shit..
18th Feb 2020 - 1st petrol stop in 25 years
1st break down in 25 years -
First drive, went for petrol. Went the long way home. Broke down. Fuel tank blocked... found a water bottle and some old straps in a ditch and made my own temporary tank to get home!
So after the fuel blockage and concerns of how bad it was... I pulled the fuel reserve tap and filter... hardly anything to see dirt wise... but the tap was blocked... blew it out... and very little of note came out but definitely blocked so I refitted it and have had an electric pump running all afternoon taking fuel from under the tank and pumping it through a filter and back into the top... many hundreds of litres... the tank is near full and has been tipped in all directions... and this is all I get out of it... hopefully I wonít have the same problem again... we will see!
24th Feb 2020 - So the fuel pump packed up when I started it today... only to squirt fuel the moment I removed it... I pulled it apart and put it back together with instructions from this old book and prayed... did a few tests with an electric 12v pump to check things over
24th Feb 2020 - gave him his first wash and Took him to Hitchin Meet for a bit - 12 almost trouble free miles - (The trafficator fuse blew)
26/2/2020 - Dropped the gearbox oil... Managed to get out about 200ml... put back in nearly 2000ml.
A Trip to the Co Op during lock down..
New "old" Number plates..
May 2020 - Email received from Mr John Muhlhaus
"I scanned both sides of the logbook. The last entry (Ian Roberts) is my pal to whom I lent the car for a while. I don't have an A3 copier so the scans are slightly cropped!"
"I also enclose a set of contact prints from when I finally got my hands on the car, taken in the yard behind my flat in those days. You see it in its gold orange-peel paint which must've been done by spray can or something, it was so amateurish. The new fibre glass wings are there in their original unprimered condition. My neighbour's cat loved the car as a sunny sitting place!"
Old Green log book from the 60s and 70s VBH577 - A copy.. would be great to re-unite the car with the original.
Wingfield Classic car show August 2020
Out and about.. Leighton Buzzard way...
H Town classic car meet - Another 27 miles tonight with a brave motorway sprint in the dark... itís becoming happier to be driven with every turn of the key...
January 2021 - Tim stumbled across a grainy picture on theSamba.com .. it was my car.. so with some investigation I found this little lot in slightly better resolution.. - Of Great western Street aylesbury 26th October 1956 collected by tony wells then shared by Ron Adams in Flickriver - Link here - https://www.flickriver.com/search/western+street+aylesbury/
The car is in a couple of the pictures, by the station. The street no longer exists due to demolition for a multi storey carpark entrance!
VBH577 Parked up in Great Western Street Aylesbury on 26th October 1956 near the Bucks Herald Printing Office and Railway Station. The pictures are a cracking find!
Page sponsor -