KEO 201

Beetles were the first love of my life. After passing my test, I learnt to drive in my father’s 1960 Beetle, caught the bug and, after a brief flirtation with a Triumph Herald, eventually bought my own in 1971. I found her lurking in the middle of the forecourt of a second hand car dealer in Preston, Lancashire. After a short test-drive, the car was mine in exchange for £220 and we have had many adventures together since. She was originally registered in Barrow-in-Furness as KEO 201 and I never had a reason to sell her. She is a 1963 model, factory fitted with a Golde sunroof, first registered in England on 10th May 1963. She was originally painted Ruby Red but had been repainted in a deeper colour which I later identified as Burgundy Red.

During the 1960s and ’70s I used to spend my summer holidays in North Wales, camping near the little village of Morfa Nefyn. I got to know the whole of the Lleyn Peninsular very well and a particular attraction was a place we called The Deserted Village – the old quarrymen’s village of Porth-y-Nant. The road down to the village is very steep and rough, a mix of bare rock and looser stuff. It is quite a climb on foot, dropping perhaps 750 feet in about half a mile, that’s an average of about 1 in 3½ or 30%, with several hairpin bends.

Well I thought it might be a bit of fun to try the Beetle down there one day, so two of us drove down there and spent an hour looking around and I took this photograph. And yes, we made it back up again with both of us in the car, first gear all the way! I went back the following year with my sister but I noticed the year after that the local authority had erected a sign forbidding vehicular access.

 

Deserted Village

I entered her in the inaugural Norwich Union RAC Classic Car Run on 25th May 1986. This culminated in a few laps of Silverstone at speed! The picture below is of Copse Corner which now looks rather different.

Copse Corner at Silverstone

These next two photographs were taken 10 years apart. The car has been rebuilt and looks as good as new!
1986
On the way to Silverstone in 1986
1996
Newly rebuilt in 1996

If you’re wondering what those round shiny bits are behind the rear side windows, they are air vents! They were offered through Safer Motoring (later renamed VWm) in the early ’70s and provided a form of through-flow ventilation that the factory eventually introduced on later models.

Interiorspacer Engine Bayspacer It was rebuilt in 1995 by Volksfarmers – Bryan and Jane Terry. The picture on the left shows the interior, taken in 2000. The additions include a Blaupunkt radio fitted in 1972, matching pull switches below for the rear fog and reversing lights, and a wooden parcel shelf fitted before I bought the car. The map reading light for the front passenger was used in earnest on many a treasure hunt throughout most of the ’70s with my little sister doing a superb job at the navigating. The gear knob I made from a turned wooden knob inset with a Wolfsburg roundel taken from a key fob. Note the matching door panels, we took the same colour panels from a left-hand-drive car and merged left and right features with my originals to give a pull-handle and a pocket on both sides. The carpets and seat covers are new. The picture of the engine bay on the right was taken in January 2011 for my agreed value insurance record.


Bond Car  

Footnote:

I’d “Die Another Day” for this number plate!

This page last updated 6th June 2011 © J S Rastall

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