This is a type 1/13 Limousine (as told by the Wolfsburg Museum!) that went out of th production line on August 19th 1959. This was an Export model for Greece.
It's been bought by the Spain Royal Family, whose domestics used it for several years, in Spain.
Then one day, Marie Messia de Lesseps, Countess of Bavière and Bourbon (gosh!), moved to Villefranche sur Mer, taking Elvira wih her.
Unfortunately, this dear lady did not have great driving skills, and Elvira's wings had to go through some difficult years!
A VW enthusiast, who lived in the same town, found this 59, which was then still in a pretty good shape. He finally manage to persuade Marie MdLCoBaB (making it short) to sell her car. He re-did the interior, but a few years later (a birth and a moving later, actually), he couldn't afford keeping this vehicle.
This is when I appear in this history, buying this car in 1994. I used it as a daily driver for a year, to go to the University in Nice (40 kilometers back and forth). All that with it's original, never rebuilt, 36HP little engine... Until I finally put Elvira in my garage, giving it a new beauty along years, as money comes in...
Original condition :
Here are 2 pictures "before". The first one was taken at the Draguignan meeting in 1997. The 2 others were taken in August 95, in Corsica, facing the "Iles Sanguinaires" (Bloody Islands) at sunset (this is at the end of the Ajaccio gulf ; they're called "bloody" because those islands turn dark red at sunset during the winter).
So, that was my beetle when I bought it!
The interior looks like new, the body has almost no rust...
But the engine is really tired, the external paint, burnt by the sun, looks flat, the original "export" bumpers were replaced by single-blade models... Plus, it's been dropped, the wheels are not the crrect color, etc...
So more work to do!
I'll only do an external paint, for several reasons:
- the orignal interior paint looks like new, even it's 39 years old!
- I like this interior patina look...
- an moreover, I can't afford a full body work!
So, after disassembling all the exterior elements(bumpers, lights, glasses, etc), the Beauty is sanded and primered, as you can see here.
Inside of the opening will get its black coat as well (VW (Schwartz L41) : hoods, doors...
The only real metalworking will b the reparation of a rip on the front hood, which is usual on those models : there were only one single stand to keep the hood opened, which you need to unlock to close the hood. If someone tries to force-close it... You got a rip on the hood's side.
The body shop did a great work here, you can barely see the repair.
Here is the result after several layers of black!
Yummy, I love this bumper-less dragster look...
Voila, I still need to give back the fuel tank and wheels their original Peal White (PerlWeiss L87) color (I hate this ugly vanilla color). But I can already start reassembling the beast!
The Big Reassembly after the paint job!
Putting back the bumpers have been difficult, the "export" renforcements keep annoying me..
The rear lights required lots of patience as well to find the original place...
In short, after a few hours spent struggling with the spare parts, Elvira is back on the road with its lights, bumpers, ID Plate (made by Etablissement Maillefaud in Paris, just a free ad for their fantastic work)...
My beetle had been dropped down in the past... So I re-highered the suspension to give it back its original looks.
But I kept the nose a few centimeters lower that the back, to give some rake, just because I prefer this look!
Here we go, I already removed the wheel, shock absorber, the transmission/brake drum assembly...
In 3 steps, how-to-higher-a-suspension :
We take apart the plate hiding the torsion bar (4 very tighten bolts)
Here we see the torsion bar and its grooves : I need to remove the suspension plate without moving the torsion bar...
And voila! The only thing left I've got to do is reassembling, shifting by 1 groove up! (you can see on this picture the torsion bar in its tube)
This is a "2 in 1" Motometer gauge : fuel level (with a reserve light) and oil temperature...
I bought it totaly NOS, in 2000, on eBay : complete in its original box, never mounted! For a 50 years old accessory, this is pretty rare!
So, some paint and 2 holes in my tank later, I finally have a nice jauge on my dashboard!
Just one more accessory : a Smith tachometer.
It was not that easy to understand the way it works : by induction!
Anyway, now it works perfectly... I got all the tools to keep an eye on my little engine!