Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable

There’s nothing better, in my opinion, than a nice, unrestored, original vintage Volkswagen and they don’t come much nicer, or original than Gareth Roberts’ black ’56 Beetle.

This is an exceptional car, full stop. Most of the hand full of unrestored ‘survivors’ have led tough lives and have the battle scars to prove it. Faded paint, worn interiors, rusty bumpers and the odd dent or scrape here and there after fifty-plus years of use. Others spend decades decaying in damp, dusty lock-ups, waiting to be rediscovered and recommissioned by eager enthusiasts the world over.

This oval window Beetle however has led a some what pampered life, having been retired from everyday use after 20 years.  In 1976 it was placed in a Swedish museum where it sat, on display, until 1999 when it was sold on to a private collector who continued to give it the lifestyle it was now accustomed to.

In 2006 the collector decided to focus on ‘older’ vehicles and the young VW, with just 78,000km (48,500 miles) on its clock, headed over to Essex in the UK where it’s new owner treated it to a little TLC using New Old Stock parts to refresh the brakes and engine.

Gareth has owned the ’56 since 2010 and has again kept the car hidden away to preserve its low milage and immaculate condition. The original black paint still looks like new, as does the interior including the headlining and rubber floor mats. Gareth has recently removed the under-seal from under the wheel arches to discover the original, shiny black factory paint there too, what a bonus!

Pictures: Gareth Roberts

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