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Karen-Starshine: A Love (Hate) Story

Guest PeoplesCar

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Guest PeoplesCar

I'll start building out this thread with pictures of my '71 Beetle, Karen-Starshine, and chronicle the work that I've done on her since I bought her in July 2009.

I call this a love-hate story, because even though I dreamed of owning one of these since I was a kid & knew almost everything there was to know about them, I was pretty naive when it came to buying a classic car, and bought a lot more rust than I had budgeted for. STILL WORTH IT, EVERY PENNY :)

I have literally over 600 pictures of this car showing the transformation from then to now, and will start posting as I dig through to find the best of the best :D

When I bought her, the previous owner had turned her into a Cal Look / hotrod style bug, so here are the "return to stock" projects I've completed so far (some of this is a re-post):


1. Replace Porsche leather seats with stock seats.

2. Replace Porsche steering wheel with stock steering wheel.

3. Replace Chinese knock-off Hurst shifter with stock shifter.

4. Remove stereo speaker wiring, remove CD player, replace with Starfire AM radio and monaural speaker (I never bothered mounting the speaker since I don't use the radio even though it works perfectly, I just hooked it all up once to test & now it's there "for looks").

5. Remove retractable seat belts, replace with stock style non-retractable belts (chrome lift latch).

6. Reinstall matching rear lap belts (rear belts were 100% removed when I bought her).

7. Replace missing rear ashtray with a stock chrome pop-out ashtray.

8. Replace rear assist straps & hooks for front shoulder belts (had been removed).

9. Remove tachometer from under dash (PO did this before delivery).


1. Replace chrome headlamp rings that had been painted over (matched body color).

2. Replace trunk lid emblem which had been painted over (black).

3. Replace eight-spoke alloy wheels with stock steel rims (4.5" four lug) & hubcaps.

4. Replace front & rear "blades" with proper mounting brackets & chrome bumpers

5. Replace drop spindles with stock height spindles, raise car back up so I'm no longer putting dents in the front end when driving over anything more than 1" off the ground.


1. Replace aftermarket chrome air filter with stock oil bath air cleaner.

2. Replace incorrect 31 carb & adapter plate with a 34P3 carb.

3. Replace mechanical advance distributor with proper SVDA.

4. Replace exhaust header & glasspack side pipe with proper stock muffler (ceramic coated) and stainless steel "pea shooters."

She was also neglected by the previous owner, mostly in the area of rust (a rusty Volkswagen? Never seen that before! :o ). Here are the repair projects so far:

1. Rebuild front framehead and bulkhead behind the pedal cluster (yikes, my front suspension was about to literally fall off the car).

2. Replace upper and lower control arm bushings, replace upper & lower ball joints.

3. Replace at least one wheel bearing that I remember, though I think two of them had to go.

4. New master cylinder in the brake system.

5. New rear brake shoes (front brakes are disc & pretty good shape, a recent conversion I'm keeping).

6. Remove thermostats & flaps from the cooling system (they failed & locked in the full closed position - engine got so hot before I noticed the problem that the engine compartment seals melted. VWs don't have a temperature gauge in the dash so I opted to remove that whole system rather than tempt fate a second time).

7. Repair a hole rotted all the way through the body under the driver's side crescent moon vent, cut & patch where the lower rear quarter panels on both sides had rotted away & separated from the heater channels.

8. Replace broken speedometer cable, which I drove around on for six months, which also led to no odometer increase for that period :o who cares, I'm never selling this car.

9. One of the rear fenders was cracked, and one of the front fenders had holes punched through it to mount a plate when I bought her - the body shop that painted her fixed those up for me, I think no charge when they did the other body rust.

There may be more I'm forgetting, but those are the MAJOR things. Stuff still left to do:

1. Driver's side heater channel needs to be patched (a little Swiss cheesy, but not totally gone yet). Passenger side is clean :cool:

2. There are a few sections of floor that need a cut and patch, but thankfully the whole pan isn't rotted away yet.

3. There are two small holes rusted through the rear wheel wells, cut and patch.

4. There is some roofing tar covering part of the rear torsion bars which worries me - gotta man up and chip it off to see what's under there :(

5. The trunk needs to be sanded & painted (nothing too spooky).

6. The PO mounted a 12v outlet in the dash, but did a poor job of it (a screw punched through the trunk to mount it). I may keep it in case I'm ever stranded & need to charge my phone, but it should be cleaned up.

7. The ignition wire was replaced, and done poorly (punched through a hole in the trunk & run along the passenger cabin along the floor), need to clean that up.

8. The package tray behind the rear seat needs a sand & paint (nothing major).

I'll continue to update the thread as things progress.











Edited by PeoplesCar (see edit history)
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Guest PeoplesCar

A couple of pictures from a cruise I took this past weekend with a friend (he has a '73 Super). The blumenvasen was my most recent "project" - since these were designed to fit on the bugs from the '50s and '60s, I had to remove part of the dash (speaker grille) and get creative with how I mounted it to get it to work.




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Guest PeoplesCar

A few shots of the rear end rust, showing the package tray, floor under the rear seat bottom, and wheel wells. The package tray & floor look worse than they are; the package tray just needs a sand & paint, the floor just needs a cut & patch and another area of it just needs a sand & seal also. In the wheel wells you can see the small holes that have rotted through, along with some previous patch work.

You can also see where one of the previous owners did a lazy job of routing the ignition wire when it was replaced :eek:





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