Allan Wideman has been making sure this “Bug” has stayed in the family….
“The article in the 8/18/2022 Old Cars e-mail about the T-Bird reminded me of my daughter’s VW Bug. It has survived four generations of women and after being stored for 20 years is back in service again.
Susan’s great grandmother Fern J. Gass purchased this car in the summer of 1962 from the VW dealership in Columbia, Missouri (John Riddick Motors Inc, First & Walnut, Columbia, MO). 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 Mary Fern inherited the car when great-grandmother Gass passed away in October 1971 and used the bug as her daily driver for approximately 15 years. When Mary Fern stopped driving the bug Susan’s mother (Ann Wideman) acquired the car. Ann drove it for a couple of years then it was stored in an old shed from 1990 until we decided to pass it on to our daughter in 2009.
I have refurbished the bug several times and have done all the maintenance on it since I married into the family. In the mid 70’s I rebuilt the engine, brakes, and front suspension so Mary Fern could feel safe using the car for a trip to San Antonio to visit her sister. No problems were encountered with the little VW on the trip, and she was very pleased with the gas mileage.
Refurbishing in 2009 required me to clean and seal the gas tank, replace all fuel lines, clean the carburetor, replace the fuel pump, replace 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 seep from one of the push rod tubes. I did all of the exterior work and Ann 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. Susan learned to drive the manual shift in 1990 in this bug and after a bit of practice in the barn lot began occasionally driving the car on nice days in the summer.
Last year, 2021, I borrowed the VW and attended the Street Rod Nationals. Did not win anything but it was fun to drive.”
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