Shared 0 Times
Liked 0 Times

Hand-Me-Down Beetle

Susan Wideman

This 1962 Volkswagen Beetle has served 4 generations of women! After being stored for 20 years, it returned to service in 2010.

Our great-grandmother, Fern J. Gass, purchased this car when she was 66 years old on August 28, 1962 from the John Riddick Motors Inc. dealership in Columbia, Missouri. The car was slightly used with 6,654 miles on the odometer. Great Grandma Gass lived in Mexico, MO. She didn’t drive much in the winter, but loved to drive in good weather and made many trips to rural Philadelphia, MO to visit her daughter (Grandma Mary Fern Wagner).

Grandma Wagner inherited the car when Great Grandma Gass passed away in October 1971 and used the Bug as her daily driver for approximately 15 years. When Grandma stopped driving the car, our mother (Ann Wideman) acquired it. Mom and Dad drove it for a couple of years until it was stored in an old shed, from 1990 until they decided to pass it on to us in 2004.

Dad (Allan Wideman) has mechanically refurbished the Beetle several times and has done all the maintenance on it since he joined the family. In the early ‘70s he rebuilt the engine, brakes, and front suspension so Grandma and Grandpa would feel safe using the car for a trip to San Antonio, Texas to visit her sister. The return trip took them through Roswell, New Mexico. No problems were encountered with the little VW, and Grandma was very pleased with the gas mileage on the 2500 mile trip.

Refurbishing in 2009 required: cleaning and sealing the gas tank, replacing all fuel lines, cleaning the carburetor, replacing the fuel pump, replacing some wiring, replacing all brake components, tires, paint and interior. In spite of many miles on the engine and sitting for 20 years, it runs good, does not smoke and only has a small oil leak from one of the push rod tubes. Dad did all of the exterior work and Mom did the interior. It was remarkable that, while there were many dents and lots of surface rust, the only rust through was the passenger side running board.
In the spring of 2011 Dad and Mom replaced the transaxle because it was jumping out of 4th gear. At that time they also installed a 1600cc engine to provide us more power. The original 1200cc engine is in storage in case we want to return the VW to all original. Gail and Susan Wideman 

Susan Wideman's Parts List