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Junkyard Find: 1969 Volkswagen Beetle

With over a 21 million Beetles sold, you’d think the junkyards would still be littered with them. When was the last time you saw one though? We hadn’t seen one in a long time so when we spotted this ratty looking Bug, we knew it deserved a mention. Unfortunately, this could be the last time any of us see it again though because it will be joining its brothers in the big scrapheap in the sky soon…

We can feel good knowing that its engine most likely went on to power another Beetle though. Since Porsche switched to water cooling in 1998, there are no longer any new vehicles being produced with air-cooled engines. There are a few motorcycles out there, but today’s emissions requirements make the air-cooled engine a thing of the past. That may be for the best, but these really were novel little machines.

Check out the cool striped upholstery on those seats! I bet this was a nice looking car when it was new. These were meant to be econo-cars, but they sure seem to have held up well compared to the other affordable cars that were made after them. These were nothing fancy, but the materials used must have been fairly high quality. While other cars have rotted away, these little Beetles have just acquired a nice patina. The same can’t be said for the interior. Many old cars have been upgraded with CD players, but this one has an old Starfire radio still in place!

I’m sure this car provided more smiles per mile than it had any right to. People seem to love these cars and I’m not just talking about the folks who were hippies when these were new. Young people may not know much about automobiles, but it would be hard to find one who doesn’t recognize a Slug Bug. Movies like Herbie have probably helped, but there is no denying the fact that the silhouette of this simple car has become a small part of our international culture. We bid this one farewell and hope that it has helped at least a few others stay on the road!


  1. Nevada1/2rack Nevadahalfrack Member

    The air freshener hanging from the mirror is both iconic and ironic..
    And those striped seats are definitely on their way to being stripped!
    On a sad note, one of the points often brought up in the discussions as a measure of worth has reared its ugly self here-the dash is cracked…
    Seriously, there’s enough of this dude left to rescue if you’ve the time, the energy, & the desire to saves a Bugs life-it’d be fun as a project to share/mentor with a budding gearhead née enthusiast!

    Like 5
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Unfortunately, this one will never see the road again. Once they go in, they never come back out. Well, they do come out as a block of metal.

      Like 2
      • Nevada1/2rack Nevadahalfrack Member

        Too bad..I was thinking about the junkyard Vega that was saved and featured here this week.

        Well, then 🍺 here’s to a Bug that made it to the zapper-hopefully it brought smiles along its journey.

        Like 1
      • Poppapork

        Maybe not the interstate but there is enough bug there to build a dune buggy….

        Like 1
      • grant

        That’s unfortunate, that Bug looks basically solid.

        Like 1
    • Bob

      Sapphire radios as I recall. Not Starfire.

      Like 0
  2. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Good point on seeing a bug in the boneyard Jesse. I can’t remember the last one I saw in a yard. Speaking of yards, it looks like all the vehicles are up on old rims. Rarely do you see that in Wisconsin. A regional thing?

    Like 2
    • Ben McLaughlin

      Makes it easier to pull parts like brakes, suspension, engine and trannies. Lots of pick your own parts type yards in San Diego.

      Like 1
    • That Guy

      It’s definitely the norm in Pick’n’Pull and similar yards in California. These places operate primarily as scrap metal recyclers. They put cars in the yard for four weeks, and sell whatever they can off them in that time. After that, they are rotated out and crushed, and replaced by the next four-week batch. The lifts made of old wheels make it easier for people to get under the car to unbolt and remove stuff.

      Like 3
  3. Del

    Its dissappointing when people will not leave the Dead to RIP

    Like 1
  4. Dave

    “…air-cooled engine a thing of the past” .
    There’s a certain sense of satisfaction when I smell antifreeze at a stoplight and know that it’s not coming from my Sportster.

    Like 6
  5. Wolfgang Gullich

    I can see in the engine bay (or what’s left of it) that this was an Automatic Stick Shift…it’d be worth getting that vacuum servo as well as the shifter switch out.

    Like 3
    • Kurt Member

      Do they usually need to be rebuilt? I seem to recall a rubber membrane/diaphragm that usually needs to be replaced.

      Like 2
    • moosie moosie

      I saw that servo too but couldn’t get a clear enough view of the brake pedal, too much trash in the way. But I did see that someone scored the shift knob between pictures taken. Actually whats left of this Beetle dont look too bad , a shame that its gonna be turned into toasters.

      Like 0
  6. Kurt Member

    A VW bug like this is a great beginning project for someone looking to start in the old car restoration hobby. Parts are cheap and plentiful, engines are easy to work on, and if you have a bad back like me that magnesium engine block can be picked up with minimum effort. Heck, the whole car
    Can be push started on a flat road!

    Like 6
  7. Stilbo

    From a Midwestern Point of View…
    It’s seemingly in better shape than 75% of the $8,000 fleaBay rust buckets.
    If I found it in Indiana it’d be in my shop by tomorrow night.

    Like 4
  8. GCS Member

    Yes, what a waste . It doesn’t even have the rust on the body over the fenders like they do here in PA. Unless the bottom is shot, it is restorable

    Like 4
  9. Brian Scott

    The newest model year worth restoring that’s in this condition is a ’67. I did one just a while back. But a ’69? Nope.

    Like 0
  10. Ward William

    If it gave its life to be a beer can in my hand, I can live with the guilt.

    Like 2
  11. TimM

    This bug will be squashed!!! Shame we need insects in the world!!!

    Like 0

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