Live, love, bug: VW factory-restored woman's 51-year-old daily-driver Beetle

Kathleen Brooks has put more than 350,000 miles on the 1967 model

Volkswagen restores Kathleen Brooks 1967 Beetle
Volkswagen restores Kathleen Brooks 1967 Beetle / Image Credit: Volkswagen
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Many people have a passionate connection with their cars, but few have the dedication that Kathleen Brooks showed to her beloved 1967 Volkswagen Beetle. At age 73, many things have changed throughout Brooks' life, but the red Beetle nicknamed "Annie" has been a constant since she first bought it in December 1966 in Riverside, California. Continuously used as a daily driver, the Bug now has more than 350,000 miles on it. Volkswagen got wind of Brooks and decided to pay her commitment back with a gesture of kindness.

As a measure of thanks, VW's North American Region decided to give Annie a full factory-spec restoration. The stalwart Bug was brought down to Puebla, Mexico, the Beetle's home in North America and where the Final Editions are built before the car's production run ends. For Kathleen, it was emotional to see the car go.

"I've said many times she and I are so much alike because she's old, she's faded, she's dinged, she's dented, she's rusted, but you know what? She keeps running," Brooks told Volkswagen. "And as long as I take as good care of her as I can, she's going to continue to run."

VW wanted to make sure that it did, so for the past 11 months, a team of about 60 workers recharged Annie to the fullest extent. According to VW, 357 pieces were restored, and about 40 percent of Annie's part were replaced. The project was somewhat of a resto-mod, as VW wanted to make the Beetle driveable for years to come rather than focusing on making it exactly period correct and prepped for a museum. Thus, in addition to fixing several rust and electrical issues, VW added better parts such as disc brakes, a new radio, an upgraded suspension, a rebuilt and updated engine, and upholstery.

Small extra touches included "Kathleen" and "Annie" embroidered in the new leather seats, painting the car's toolkit and jack the deep sea teal metallic color used on the 2018 Beetle Coast edition, and reapplying the stickers Kathleen had put on throughout the years. The exterior was also refreshed with an original shiny coat of red paint.

Now equipped with a roof rack and whitewall tires, Annie is back in California where she belongs, just in time for the holidays. It only seems right that as the modern Beetle comes to an end, one of the originals is reenergized with life.

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