It’s well known that VW love is quite contagious and once an owner has caught the proverbial bug, it can grow quite rapidly. Case in point is Jack Connelly. We’ve already taken a look at his restored and modified 1978 VW Bus but as to expected with Volkswagen owners, that’s not his only classic from the German brand. He also owns this sunny 1971 Super Beetle convertible.
He purchased the classic ragtop in 1998 after locating it in Geneva, IL.
“As soon as I got it, I started tearing things apart. I was so eager to have it on the road. This was after all, before kids when I had the time to work regularly on it and devote quite a lot resources towards the project.”
Jack took the time to carefully go through the factory 1600cc engine and opted to retain the factory carburetor setup, instead of switching to the more cantankerous fuel injection system. Power gets to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission.
The decades of wear hadn’t been kind to the Bug’s thin sheet metal – a new floor had to be installed along with all of the fenders and lower portions of the quarter panels.
“All of the work was done in my home one car garage. I even painted it while my wife was pregnant with our first child. She wasn’t too happy about me being out in the garage working on the car. But even after several other VW restorations, this one is the nicest to date.”
The restoration was completed in just under a year and a half, leaving Jack plenty of time since to get behind the wheel and head down the nearest open highway.
“The driving experience has a very distinct go-kart feel to it – especially with the top down and the breeze blowing in. It’s super light and nimble.”
While this vintage VW enthusiast couldn’t be happier motoring about in his convertible, the trips aren’t always guilt-free.
“People run up when I stop at stoplights or grab me when I’m out running errands and want to talk about the car. I also notice a lot of people playing the ‘punch buggy’ game and punching friends around them. I suppose I’m responsible for a lot of kids having bruised shoulders. Despite that, they always have a smile on their face when they see the car. It just makes people happy.”
While the Volkswagen Beetle had been in production since the late 1930s, the Super Beetle was released in 1971 and only made for six short years, with production ceasing in 1977. It featured a MacPherson strut front suspension and slightly different styling up front.
** All photos and content by Classic Recollections and may not be used without permission. 2012 © **
Categories: Feature Story