October 24, 2012

This week's episode of Overhaulin' was a special one not only because we had never customized a VW Beetle before, but mainly because we welcomed, Blake, the VW’s owner to come work with all of us at the shop to transform his ride. He had always dreamed of working with us on his car so, Chris and Jessi surprised him at his home the day they picked up the VW.   Blake was an active child who raced dirt bikes, but a debilitating lung disease, cystic fibrosis, has slowed him down at his young age of 25.  Blake would work on his VW whenever he had the time, however, lately the transformation had been moving at a slower pace.  With Blake’s tenacity to never give up we wanted to help him speed up his build process and construct the custom street racer he had been so diligently working to complete.  

This 1965 Volkswagen Beetle had a lot of previous work done on it but when we started desconstruction, the lack of certain structural pieces and the presence of too much rust were major issues. It became apparent that this bug was beyond repair.  The A-Team had to search out a replacement beetle.  Since more VW beetles have been made than any other car in history, it was easy to locate one with a solid foundation.  A 1967 was chosen and was disassembled with Blake’s help.  It was in pretty good shape but the front end had some damage so we gave it an Overhaulin’ style nose job.  Once the new nose was grafted on, I decided to add some special custom touches.  I replaced the handle on the hood with the vintage VW emblem. I dropped the trim over the front of the emblem, cutting molding to make the trim longer to fit the full contour.  I also made a big modification in the back by removing the rear apron and replacing it with a ‘57 rear apron with longer swoop, giving the car a lower look.  I wanted some part of Blake’s original VW to still live on so I took the original air vents, split them into 2 pieces, then welded, smoothed and finished them into the rear.  I really enjoyed working with Blake on his ride but I wanted to maintain some element of surprise for him, so we finished the job without his help.  

When I first met with Blake we chose a specific color scheme but I decided to throw a curveball.  Since Blake had picked a common design, I wanted to do something different to personalize this car unlike anything else.  I really hoped Blake was going to like my decision.  Settling on a two-tone paint scheme, we painted the roof, rear deck, interior, door jams and the hood black.  Butterscorch pearl was the elected BASF paint color for the lower half of the two-tone paint scheme.  We installed a bigger and badder 200+ horsepower turbo charged engine, 4 times as powerful as the stock engine.  Being a parent myself, I could understand the concern Blake’s parents had about this hot rod’s speed, so we made sure to install a state of the art brake system so Blake could stop safely.  A Gene Berg shifter was installed and Bill Dunn custom designed the tufted diamond patterned upholstery for the interior.  The original speedometer was salvaged and used and a brand new sound system was also installed.  I decided to pull the ashtray back and put the radio in while adding a final trim to the dash. 17” Foose Monterey wheels were wrapped in Pirelli P zeros.  Dennis added a thick orange stripe on the inside of the rim for an extra special touch and a final double pinstripe between the two colors, purple on green. 

Once the Bug was complete, I asked Blake to come have one last meeting about the final design at my shop while purposely failing to mention the fact that his vehicle was going to be revealed to him that same night.  After giving a tour around our Foose Design headquarters, I lead Blake into the showroom.  He immediately became speechless and completely fixated on his new hot rod bug as if no one else was in the room.  To top off the special day for Blake, Joe Ferri from Mac Tools gave Blake a second set of keys but these were for a custom tool box equipped with a full set of tools.  The A-team and I signed the tool box and hope our notes will remind Blake of the many hours we all worked together to turn his beetle into a screamin’ hot bug. I hope you enjoy your new bug as much as we truly enjoyed working with you and making your dream come true, Blake! 


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Thank you so much to all my fans for your support!! I'm sorry I can't personally respond to all the fan mail I get, but would like you all to know that I appreciate the kind words and interest in my work. Unfortunately, Overhaulin' has ended production and we’re not accepting any new submissions! We do not handle any submissions for the show; any requests sent direct to us will not be read or accepted. Sorry for any disappointment this may cause.


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