First wash

There are several layers of paint. The whole car was (poorly) painted light blue. Below that in certain areas like the fenders and rear end is a dark purplish blue. The gray that is peeking through everywhere is the factory paint, which is Zenith Blue, color code L639, hex code #9eafba, RGB 158-175-186, and CMYK 15-6-0-27 (thanks to – The Great Big Sortable Table of Volkswagen Beetle Colors 1949-1979).

There are various levels of surface rust around. From what I was told, this was a Texas car and has the expected sunburn on the horizontal surfaces. The first wash was an exfoliating one, with CLR and a blue Scotch-Brite non-scratch scour pad from the grocery store. I was hoping this would remove loose rust and paint.

After all, loose paint is a quitter that I don’t want on my team.

The light blue paint was much thicker in some areas, like the rear deck lid. In other areas like the roof, it came off easily with the scour pad. The CLR water in the wash bucket was a matching light blue at the end of it all.

I used the blue non-scratch scour pads because I wasn’t sure how aggressive to be with it, but now in hindsight, I wish I had gone with the regular scratchy green pads to get more of that old mess off.

Speaker hutch

The car came with a tape deck and one four inch speaker in the dash to the left of the steering wheel.

I bought a couple of cheap Alpine 6x9s (Amazon link), traced and cut out a template for the space behind the rear seat in a flattened cardboard box, and then cut and screwed some plywood scraps together. Cut a couple of pieces of white metal gutter guard from Lowes to use as speaker grills and covered the whole deal in a saddle blanket.

I replaced the Sony cassette player in the dash with a cardboard blank…

Why Philco?

…and installed a cheap Boss head unit (Amazon link) in the glove box.

The car came with a single 4″ Kicker speaker mounted in the dash to the left of the steering wheel. I left that in place and connected front left and right speaker wires to it.

Speaker wires were run under the carpet to the luggage compartment behind the back seat, connecting the speaker hutch.

I was expecting them to rattle, but they don’t actually sound too bad.

Bringing her home

My sister rode with me to check out the car and follow me home in the truck. When we got there, the owner had mounted the stock steel wheels and hubcaps…

…but the Empi wheels and tires from the listing images were thrown in on the deal. I didn’t realize until later that although the tires looked like they had zero miles on them, they were dry rotted and had been sitting a long time. Two of them had 2008 manufacture dates.

We stopped for Chinese food on the way home. What a strange pair…

She got me home without any issues. 82 mile drive uphill just about all the way.

Tallulah Beetlebug

I haven’t ever named a car before and I don’t really refer to the car by that name. Usually, I just say “the beetlebug”.

I am supposedly a distant relative of Tallulah Bankhead, and the more I have learned about her and the more I learn about this car, it seems like a fitting name (and the more I like them both).

Photo by Carl Van Vechten –

Anyway, here are the pics that were in the Craigslist and Facebook listing I found.

On a side note, I would like to offer my endorsement of taking sale listing pictures in church parking lots. I have done that with the last few that I have sold!