AutoPavilion. Place of cars and legends
AutoPavilion. Place of cars and legends

Meet The Beetles

Herbie was born in 1963 and by the age of five he became the most famous Beetle in the world...
who can now remember John, Paul, Ringo and...

Herbie is not only a film star, a serious contender in motor racing, but also well known as
Volkswagen’s first self-driving car.

It was his debut in the 1968 Disney feature: The Love Bug that first earned Herbie his fame. Six years later Herbie Rides Again was released and Stefanie Powers starred alongside Herbie shooting her to fame shortly thereafter. This was followed by Herbie goes to Monte Carlo (1977) - yes he beat
Charlene Wittstock to the principality! He then set a Guinness World Record as the first car to go
through the Panama Canal during filming of Herbie Goes Bananas (1980). This was followed by
the most recent; Herbie: Fully Loaded where he starred opposite a 19 year-old Lindsay Lohan.

Herbie is in fact a very private Beetle and counts amongst his friends Ms Stefanie Powers,
George Clooney and of course Lindsay Lohan.

Jan was built in the original Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg.

In 1971 Volkswagen South Africa and Wheels Magazine held a competition to find the oldest
Beetle in South Africa. The winner was Mr David Rubin of Middelburg, who received a
brand-new 1300 Beetle in exchange for Jan the Beetle.

According to Jan’s "Birth Certificate” we know the following:
• Jan was born on Wednesday, 14 September 1949 (heís no Monday car!)
• And imported into the Union of South Africa in that year
• Jan was built to ìstandardî spec, i.e. without chrome and cable brakes

After discovery in 1971, Jan went on display around South Africa before coming home to rest at
the AutoPavilion. However for a number of years, things did not go well for Jan. He was no longer
in running condition and consequently put on a bit of weight...

Until one day when he was brought to the attention of another Jan, namely Jan Schiedek-Jacht,
a former Head of the Product Engineering Division at Volkswagen Group South Africa. (...and
yes thatís where he got his name) Soon, specialist Volkswagen engineers and technicians heard
about little Jan and offered to pitch in. The team invested valuable time into fully restoring the
little Beetle and seven months later they were finished!

The following became clear once restoration started:
• Jan had been in a rear accident! OUCH!
• Jan was also wearing some bling he shouldnít have had on... he was listed as a standard
build, but had many ìexportî spec elements and a few more recent accessories and
components fitted (Jan Mutton dressed as Jan Lamb)

It was decided by the team that Jan would be restored to his original condition and colour. As
many original components as possible were repaired and restored, and only where required were
new components sourced from special dealers in South Africa, Germany and the US.

Nomhle was born at the Volkswagen plant in Uitenhage in 1967. She shares her birth year with
South African musicians Claire Johnston (of Mango Groove fame) and Dave Matthews, and the
world's first heart transplant which was performed in Cape Town by Dr Christiaan Barnard. Being
born into such an illustrious year and her additional bling might account for her slightly elevated
sense of self - and so she received a name appropriate for any beautiful woman of the Eastern
Cape: Nomhle. (translated from the isiXhosa as ìthe beautiful oneî)

Underlining her superiority was the fact that Nomhle and her fellow 1500 Beetles were assembled
on a separate production line in Uitenhage using a South African body and trim and an imported
chassis and running gear ó so she’s part-German.

To match the dazzling exterior is her extraordinary engine which was only introduced for a short
while during 1966 as a semi-imported 1600cc with a displacement of 1493cc (1500) (then recently
released in Germany to wide acclaim). This naturally makes her a bit more racy...the 1500 engine
developed 53hp, three more than its predecessor, the 1300, and so the new disk brakes on the
front wheels came in handy!

Nomhle and her fellow 1500 Beetles were instantly recognizable by their “flat” hubcaps with fourbolt
slotted wheel rims. South African-specification Beetles to the end featured five-bolt Rostyle
rims so the four-bolt was unique in South Africa. She also has a wider rear track, a rear equalizer
spring and a ball-joint front suspension.

(FYI - the model year is usually a few months ahead of the production year, so a 1967 Beetle could
be manufactured in 1966 from August onwards etc.)

The 1967 Beetle is considered by Beetle fans to be “one of the best” due to its lighter body and
new, more powerful engine. Her restorer searched high and low and trawled the internet to
find all the special original accessories you see here today for example the “scuff guards” on the
running boards and the various chrome protectors visible. A popular item for the “California look”
are the Smiths Wheels made in South Africa, but only for export. The restorer found a set in the UK
and re-imported them. The four-bolt mags fit only the 1967 Beetle because of her four-bolt wheel
set-up.

Nomhle’s other notable period details are the radio, spotlights and some small details like the VW
badges on the door locks. But a little-known fact is that Nomhle is one of the few Beetles lovingly
restored by a woman’s hands - perhaps an additional reason for her beauty?
Viva Nomhle! Viva!

Delilah is a unique beauty - she has had no “plastic surgery”and is in totally original condition.
You might think that strange for a Beetle, but as proof, see her impressive low mileage! (under 1000km’s).

Delilah was purchased for her first customer on Wednesday, 2 February 1972. It appears that she
was part of a settlement deal, however her first owner, did not have a driver’s license so she went
to cool her heels in a garage for 24 years until the owner passed away.

She was then placed on the auction block in Petrusville (northern Karoo) and bought by Mr John Bouwer in May 1996 for the princely sum of R 45 000 - almost 25 times her original sales price of
R 1 848! Well that’s because she was such a beauty!

A few years later, Delilah was bought by Beetle admirer - a Mr Ben Minaar for R 50 000 and she
remained in his possession until his death in 2007 when the AutoPavilion acquired her as the
most splendid original condition Beetle in its fleet.

There is a lot to be said for being the youngest in a family, but when you have 288 352 siblings you
know that being the youngest is special.

Matti was born in Uitenhage on an extraordinary Thursday: the 18th of January 1979. It was
extraordinary because after almost 28 years he was to be the last Beetle to roll off the line in
South Africa. Matti and his siblings changed the automotive landscape in South Africa forever
and although he was the last, he is symbolic of a family of vehicles which continues to delight
customers and ensure the largest employment of citizens of the Eastern Cape by a private
company. Volkswagen is the only car company to include the concepts of “people” (Volk) and
“car”(wagen) in its name and so the employment both direct and indirect of thousands of
South Africans is as important as the products themselves.

Matti has had an interesting life - he left the production line a bronzed Adonis with all sorts of
special accessories lovingly fitted by Volkswagen employees. He had a huge bouquet of flowers
on his bonnet and probably glanced nervously at his successor, a little snub-nosed car which
ended up defining a generation, the Golf.

For the next 27 years he remained in show-stopper condition until the fateful day he was on
his way back from an event in Cape Town. The vehicle carrier transporting Matti and other rare
Volkswagens and Audi’s, overturned. Matti had a mere 200 kms on his clock, but he was in critical
condition. Over the last 12 years he has undergone serious surgery and had many transplants!
In 2017 however, a specialist Volkswagen Product Engineering Team in Uitenhage, together with
expert body work and paint specialists in Port Elizabeth completely restored him. All of Matti’s
mechanical parts that could be salvaged, were reused. And most of his interior is original.

It is ironic that in the home country of the first heart transplant and the concept of Ubuntu, the
youngest Beetle, Matti, is a collaboration of his original self and some of his siblings. And so Matti
is a true South African, and still somehow the last of his kind.

To say that Jeroen is well-travelled is an understatement. He has in fact lived on three continents!
Firstly he could have been called Jerónimo as he was actually born at the Volkswagen plant in
Puebla, Mexico in 1982. However he was adopted by a kindly Dutch teacher called Jos Oosterbroek
in Amsterdam and so received his Dutch name and Nationality as is visible by his number plate
with the obligatory “NL”. He does however now see himself as a South African.

Jeroenís story is worthy of inclusion in Gulliverís Travels, but there was nothing fictional about the
intrepid Dutch traveller and his 20 000km odyssey across Africa. He came to rest, fittingly, at the
Volkswagen plant in Uitenhage and decided to stay. The trip took Jeroen, with his driver Jos, four
months and he has lived in Uitenhage since April 2013.

In the meantime, we have refreshed some of his stickers, but he refuses to have a bath saying that
he is so happy to be in Africa that he is keen to retain the evidence of his travels - there is sand
from the Sahara still inside him.

Jeroen and Jos had a great time and Jeroen proved to be so trusty that he didnít break down once
or even suffer a flat tyre “great tekkies, what can we say”

Jeroen recalled some hair-raising moments during his travels from the top to the bottom of Africa.
Apparently the closer Jeroen got to Nigeria the more the cars and people warned them of unsafe
roads “but every Beetle has a guardian angel” Jos got in touch with a fellow countryman working
in Lagos. In turn, the man convinced his company to sponsor an armed convoy for Jeroen and
Jos. So for 900kms through Nigeria Jeroen had an escort with three guys armed with AK47s until
they reached Cameroon.

Things got a little interesting for Jeroen as he and Jos drove into the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) - Jos had been forewarned by two countrymen who had struggled with their
Landrover Defender up the steep hills and on the muddy tracks. Jeroen took delight in proving
his agility with his smaller size and lower weight which allowed him to speed over muddy roads,
dodge mudslides and careen up steep hills. The DRC section of the trip was completed without
incident, albeit at speed!

Jeroen now spends his time parked outside the VW AutoPavilion in a special display that includes
desert plants.

He watches visitors enter and exit the museum and gladly poses for selfies. He is known as one of
our “survivors”: an unrestored and truly authentic Volkswagen, evidence of the valiant and
unpretentious nature of the Beetle...well almost all Beetles.

Next to VWSA's main entrance, 103 Algoa Rd, Uitenhage | Tel: 041 994 5941 | Fax: 041 996 6093 | autopavilion@vwsa.co.za
GPS: 103 Algoa Rd, Uitenhage, South Africa
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