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Wayne has always had a love for Volkswagens, particularly the air-cooled variety, like this 1966 Air-cooled Beetle.

By Stefan de Koker

Not all customs are American, and not all rods run V8s, or for that matter, radiators. In order to show how versatile the air-cooled community really is, were going to go low and slow in this article an old-school slammed 66 custom in all its rusty glory. Ive seen some rods that were real attention-getters in my time, but few equal the attention this one gathers whenever its parked. When you ask people if they like volks-rods you get a variety of answers, from people who love them to all-out hate them; yet Ive never seen anyone not smile when they look at Wayne Tennants 1966 Air-Cooled Beetle.

Wayne has always had a love for Volkswagens, particularly the air-cooled variety. Up to this point, it had been more about restoration than innovation, until a little over a year ago when he met a guy named Bruce who had a 1966 stock standard Beetle for sale. Dreams of a full restoration went out the window when he saw her. The colour and more importantly, the patina, rust and dents, really made her stand out. Instead of a brand new coat of paint, she was treated to a clear coat to protect the look that he loved.

The suspension was lowered to enhance the aggressive look of the car and sharpen up the handling. Most people would have installed dropped spindles, but Wayne and his friend Brandon went full out. They stubbed the front suspension and narrowed it to get the wheels inside the fenders, not sticking out as most do. The face needed some character, so they fitted spotlights and an old AA badge.

A rope on the front appears to hold everything together, but its just another design element.From the side, the first thing that catches your attention is the bright red steel wheels with original hubcaps and whitewall inserts (a must on any old rod). The flatgrey paint wasnt applied after a restoration but is the original 1966 factory paint that still catches attention wherever it goes.

The side windows are something altogether different. Volkswagen-inspired stickers cover the whole glass area and lend a whimsical air of fun to the whole car, not to mention some colour as well. From STP oil to the Herbie colours, everything is represented here.

The huge back bumper with bumper guards set up the rear perfectly, finishing off an exterior that most car guys would love to duplicate. Sorry guys, there is no way to do that except by leaving your car outside for a couple of decades.Inside, the theme continues. The front seats are the shade of red leather that only four or five decades of sitting on can achieve. The rear seats dont match but that deepens the mystery of this car.

Looking at the dashboard you can see a factory radio block-off plate where a radio would normally be, but when you see this car on the road, you can hear the music playing. Thats because Wayne didnt want to mess up the period dash with a modern radio, so hes hidden the CD player in the glove box and I appreciate the effort. I hate looking at a beautiful old car and seeing a modern radio with flashing lights and huge speakers in the back.

Call me old-fashioned, but a hidden system makes far more sense.The old tin army helmet in the rear window reminds us of a time when almost every army base in South Africa had a few Beetles standing in the parking bays. They were the car of choice forthe troops, as well as most students of the time. Thats what sets this car apart from the normal hot rod.

Every aspect of it tugs at your memories and you can often see someone standing next to it, deep in thought about the good old days. If you want to take a trip down memory lane, there are few cars more suited for the journey.Mechanically the car is virtually stock standard, with the same 1300 engine keeping the old lady moving.

People always say he should upgrade, until he shows them this is a true numbers-matching car, with the body, chassis and engine right where the good people of Wolfsburg left them all those years ago. Not many of todays customs can say the same.Standing solid on its 145/65/15 front and 165/65/15 rear whitewall tyres, this beauty could easily have been ugly, but by keeping the emotion alive in the car, Wayne ended up with a real classic. Im sure most people would agree that hes a lucky guy to have her.

OWNER: Wayne Tennant

LOCATION: Krugersdorp

YEAR: 1966

MAKE: Volkswagen


COLOUR: Factory issue grey with aged patina



GRAPHICS: Wayne Tennant

CHASSIS: Lowered

FRONT AXLE: Stubbed-front suspension

ENGINE: 1300


WHEELS/SIZE: 15 widened steelies

TYRE/SIZE: 145/65 /15 front, 165/65/15 rear

UPHOLSTERY: Mismatched (leather)


INTERIOR EXTRAS: Concealed sound system, pipe gear lever

Article Tags: #VWBeetle
Article Category: Car Features