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My 1967 Notchback...a Long Story

Phil Shirley

This story starts back in 1989 when I was in college. My father was a High School Principal. He had been at the school for many years and had made sure that the school had a great Auto Shop. He also made it possible for folks to donate their cars to the school as a tax write off.

Every year my brother and I would work on our cars in the shop on weekends or during school breaks. One Christmas break, my brother and I went to the school to work on our car. When we turned on the lights, there was a "different" car among the others in the shop. It had a VW logo on the front, so I knew it was a Volkswagen. I had restored a 1974 Super Beetle during high school and was familiar with some VWs, but I honestly had never seen a VW like this. It was complete and in good shape. The keys were in it so I started it up and it ran fine. So I asked my dad about it and he told me the owner just donated it the day before. I asked if there was any way I could buy it from the owner. With a little horse-trading by my dad, I became the new owner of this strange (to me) VW.

I took it home and began cleaning it up. I still had no idea what model it was. A couple days later my dad brought home a folder full of papers that explained everything. Inside, was an owner’s manual. I found out it is a Type 3. Then I realized I was the 2nd owner. The man we bought it from had purchased the car in Germany back in 1967 from Otto Glockler VW Dealership. Inside the folder were all the original documents (in German), information on the ship that the owner put it on to bring to the states and some maintenance invoices. It was awesome to see all these old documents from this car.

I drove the car for a couple years until 1991. I had a winter beater so this guy stayed away from salt! In 1991, I moved from Illinois to California and my buddy and I drove the Notch out there. It took several days, but we made it.

Two months after I moved to California, I was making a turn and a guy slammed into the front left side of my Notchback. It was a very sad day. While waiting for a tow truck I also found out my dad had had a heart attack back in Illinois and was waiting to have bypass surgery. For the next year and a half, I had the car sitting in my friend’s back yard until the day I decided to move back to Illinois. I used a tow dolly and brought my Notch back after five SLOW days of driving.

I began to dismantle the Notch and get ready for a rebuild. I had obtained the parts needed and began the process of repairing the pan, repairing wheel wells and also getting it ready for paint.

In 1994, a new job, getting married and starting a family really slowed down a project. The Notch followed me around for two moves and many years. It was always sitting in a garage and served as a constant reminder of my favorite car.

Today as I work on rebuilding a 1978 Convertible, I am slowly gearing up to give the Notch the restoration it deserves. I almost sold it once many years ago, but being the 2nd owner of this classic is so cool to me. My brother also told me I could NEVER sell it. My two boys think it is a really cool car and I told them I might let them drive it once it is done, but they have to learn to build their own Bug first!

It is so fun to see Type 3s in the magazines and also at the shows. 2014 was our first year at Funfest for Air-Cooled VW and it was great to see a nice Notchback. My wife and boys could finally get an up-close look at what we would be working on. Hope to see more this year. I have always loved VWs, even when I did not know what I was buying.

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