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    29/06/2022

    Customer Stories: A ruby red Beetle

    Customer Stories

    Name: Adam Davies

    The classic: Volkswagen Beetle

    ‘Say I won the lottery tomorrow, then I’d buy a Mustang as well. But if I had to have one car, then it would be the Beetle. This one is what they call a keeper – I don’t really want to ever have to sell this one. Having restored it and changed its look to the red I wanted, I’ve got very attached to it now.’

     

    Adam Davies comes from a Beetle family. Not literally – but the Bug love runs in the blood. He and his dad Kerry both own VW Beetles, and regularly go to events in them, as well as having restored Adam’s current Beetle together. We asked Adam where it all started.

    Poster car

    Some of us will remember a shop called Athena. It was their iconic posters featuring the Beetle that made Adam fancy one as his first car, back when he was 15 and hadn’t yet learned to drive.

    ‘Between the posters and the Herbie films, I definitely got the impression that Beetles were cool,’ says Adam. ‘I mentioned it to my Dad, and he didn’t know what a Beetle was at the time! He did some research and kept an eye out. Not long afterwards, Dad spotted a 1970 Beetle in Kings Red by the side of the road that was for sale. He called me up and said, “do you think it’s worth a look?”. My response was “Yes please, don’t hang about!”’

    Adam and his dad went to see the Beetle, taking along a friend, Mark Humphries. ‘Mark raced Beetles and he knows a lot about them, so we took him with us because we didn’t really know what we were looking for. We drove it around the corner, and Mark took up the carpets and had a proper look. With Beetles it’s the bottom half that rusts, but Mark said it was solid, so it was an easy decision.’

    Adam had a modest sum saved up, thanks to his Nana who had been putting money away into an account for him over the years. ‘I had about £1,000 to spend on a car, and fortunately the price was just right with this one. The lady who was selling it didn’t really know what she’d got; she just wanted to replace it with a Metro, something more modern. She was only asking £950 with all the parts, or £850 without. I made her an offer and the deal was done.’

    Back home, family friend Mark did a bit of tinkering on the Bug to make sure it was fully roadworthy and fitted a stereo for Adam. The next challenge for Adam was learning to drive it, under the tutelage of his dad.

     

    NCL 784H red vw beetle
    Adam’s 1970 Beetle in Kings Red

     

     

    Eight glorious years

    Having passed his test, Adam kept and drove his first Beetle all through 6th form and university. ‘To be honest, aside from being able to do the subject I wanted to study, whether or not I could take the car was a deciding factor in which university to attend!’ says Adam. ‘Not many universities back then would let you take your car onto campus. I went to the University of Sussex in the end, and they did; I could get a pass and park on the car park to get back and forth to university. So I had my car down in Brighton for the three years while I was at uni.’

    It wasn’t until some years later, having got his first job and eventually a company car, that Adam made the difficult decision to part with the Beetle. But it wouldn’t be his last.

     

    A weekend Beetle

    A good number of years having passed, Adam came into some money when his grandfather sadly passed away. ‘It was a bit of a luxury to have a second car,’ he shares, ‘given I still had a company car, but the money from my grandfather allowed me to look for a Beetle to drive and enjoy at the weekends. I checked a few forums – I wasn’t looking for the prettiest or most expensive, I was happy with a rough and ready one!’

    Adam found a Beetle nicknamed ‘Boogie’, near Birmingham. ‘This chap had taken it as a part-exchange when he sold a campervan, but having run around in it for a bit he was ready to part with it. It wasn’t in the best condition – not exactly A+ – but I liked it and it looked fun. It was lowered, and it had a targa roof; you could basically take out two panels to give you a sunroof!’ Adam admits that the nickname ‘Boogie’ could also have been because of the green colour of the Bug, but he prefers to believe it was down to the decent stereo fitted in the car.

    ‘I had that Beetle for about 3 years, and then my wife became pregnant, and the luxury of a second weekend car was no longer possible,’ says Adam. He parted with the Beetle, and his wife also parted with her Mazda MX5 in favour of a more car-seat friendly option.

    BUT 472K
    Boogie the VW Beetle

    Beetle redemption

    A good few years later, Adam was on the lookout once more. This time, it was his dad who instigated the search – he suggested to Adam they should get a project to work on together. Adam came up trumps with a Bug in Wolverhampton, but it was a project alright.

    ‘We weren’t sure it would even run,’ said Adam. ‘It had been sat on someone’s driveway for 10 years, and the tyres were flat. The owner was trying to sell it on eBay, and they were asking too much because it wasn’t a runner, it wasn’t MOT-ed or anything. After the auction ended with no bids, I contacted them and asked if we could arrange a viewing.’

    Adam and his dad drove up from his Northamptonshire home to take a look. ‘I took a gadget with me that’s like a portable battery pack with a compressor on it,’ says Adam. ‘We pumped the tyres up, rocked the car back and forth to free the brakes because they were seized up, and by some miracle we got it to start with a bit of petrol down the carburettor. I’m not sure it was a very wise idea, but we were in a little cul de sac so we drove it up and down the road very carefully to see if it would go, and it did!’

    The sellers were twin brothers who had bought the car to learn to drive in but never had. A lower offer than the eBay asking price was offered and accepted, and Adam and his dad arranged for the Bug to be transported home to be recommissioned. ‘We took it to a place called Voodoo VW in Bulkington, near Coventry. Having been off the road for ten years there was a lot that needed going over; we replaced the carburettor altogether.’

    The team at Voodoo got the Beetle ready in time for Adam to take it Bug Jam, and he drove it in the red and white it sported when they bought it. ‘After a while dad said, why don’t we get it resprayed? So we took it back to Voodoo. I stripped out everything that needed to come out – the seats, the carpet, the stereo – and they did the rest; sanded, stripped, welded and resprayed. They did that in time for a show called VW Hangout, in 2015. Although the car was originally orange beneath the white and red, I wanted a red Beetle (I guess because my first Bug had been red!), and went for what’s called Ruby Red, which is a VW colour but not the original colour of this car.

    ‘The rest of it is really history! I’ve enjoyed the car for many years now; taken it back and forth to VW shows, got lots of stickers from all the different shows I’ve been to. I’ve driven it to work, I’ve driven it to Wales – everywhere really. It’s been a good little car for me.’

    As found on drive for 10 years
    As found on the drive after 10 years

    Adam and dad Kerry meet up most Saturdays in their Beetles, for coffee and cake at a place local to them called the Yard café. The two Beetles look good together, in their festive combination of red and green.

    ‘Mine is an original Beetle,’ says Adam, ‘whereas my dad’s has been lowered – you can see the height difference if you look at the top of the wheel arch. His has so much character being low, but mine looks nice as well as the original.’

    Adam says that his dad has played a very significant role in his love for Beetles throughout his life so far. ‘He helped from a young age with learning to drive; he’d take me to new housing estates that were only just being built, so I could practice, and he’d pick me up from my job as a lifeguard so I could drive the Bug home with the L plates on.

    All through my life there’s been this thread with my dad, of things with Beetles: going to VW shows and camping together as well, with both my Beetle and his.’

    Adam and Kerry Davies Beetles together
    Adam and Kerry Davies Beetles together

    One of Adam’s favourite memories is taking the Beetles to Santa Pod to Bug Jam, where he and Kerry raced each other up the drag strip. ‘To people watching we must have looked so slow!’ laughs Adam. ‘Dad just pipped me by one second – it took 24 seconds for him and 25 seconds for me to get to the line, whereas proper race cars take 10 seconds or less. It was just so fun to get out on the track together.’

    More recently, Adam entered the Concours d’Elegance at Stanford Hall. ‘I came last,’ he laughs, ‘but it was about taking part, and seeing all those Beetles together. I was just excited to be a part of it!’ He also has plans to go to Bug Jam this year as well as VW Action in September, which is also held at Santa Pod.

    ‘I’d love to take the Beetle further afield – there’s a show in Belgium called Le Bug Show I’d like to take it to Europe for. And Run for the Sun, at Newquay, if that ever gets back off the ground. I went years ago and camped for a few days; the show died a death but they’re trying to resurrect it.’

    Adam's Beetle at Santa Pod
    Adam’s Beetle at Santa Pod
    Santa pod track
    Santa pod track

    A keeper

    ‘Say I won the lottery tomorrow, then I’d buy a Mustang as well. But if I had to have one car, then it would be the Beetle. This one is what they call a keeper – I don’t really want to ever have to sell this one. Having restored it and changed its look to the red I wanted, I’ve got very attached to it now. And because my dad has helped with it so much, it has a lot of sentimental value.

    ‘My sister had a Beetle when she was at school as well, a green one, so there is more love for them in the family, but not like my dad and I have. My daughter likes the car, but she tends to say it’s too noisy and smells of petrol! That old-fashioned car smell of engine.’

    Adam’s favourite thing about owning the Beetle are the waves from fellow Beetle-drivers or enthusiasts. ‘You don’t get as many as you used to. When I had my first Bug, there were more classics on the road then; they’re getting fewer and farther between. You used to get waves from people who liked the car, or had the same car as you, or even another classic like a Porsche. It’s a really nice feeling when that happens still.’

    Weekend warrior
    Weekend warrior
    Red VW Beetle
    Adams racing Beetle

    Would you like the chance to be part of our Customer Stories project?

    If you’re a Heritage Car Insurance customer and you’d like your classic drawn in one of our next series of live drawing sessions, please send a maximum of 150 words about what your classic means to you and at least 2 images to marketing@heritagecarinsurance.co.uk.

    If selected, we’ll send the original drawing to you for free, as well as a printed T-shirt and mug. It’s a wonderful project to be a part of, so if you’re interested simply get in touch!

     

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