Volkswagen restores original-owner’s 724,205km Beetle

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

Kathleen has owned her Beetle since 1966, with VW giving the Bug a refresh after 52 years on the road

In a heart-warming tale of woman and machine; Volkswagen has stepped in to restore an original-owner 1967-model year Volkswagen Beetle Type 1 Sedan for its 73-year old owner.

The restoration project came about after the owner, Kathleen Brooks, wrote in to Volkswagen regarding the long lived relationship with her Beetle, "Annie".



In the letter, Kathleen explains that she bought Annie, the little red Beetle, back in 1966 at the tender age of 21. Now-73 years old, Kathleen has been with her trusted companion for 53 years.

Kathleen jokes that both of them are beginning to show their age; noting that Annie is "just like me, she’s slow going uphill and runs much better in cool weather".

"She has been with me through marriage and divorce, the purchase of my house, my own business, several jobs, three bouts of breast cancer. She has tootled me everywhere, and at this writing has 450,000+ miles on her".


That’s 724,205 kilometres… or enough to circumnavigate the earth 14 or 15 times…

In response to Kathleen’s heart-felt letter, Volkswagen was generous in thanking her for her loyalty, and took Annie down to their Puebla plant in Mexico for a comprehensive tear-down restoration.

A neat nod to history; the Puebla plant was also where the last original air-cooled Beetle was built in 2003.


At the factory, Annie was completely stripped down to bare metal, and re-assembled to better-than-factory condition.

A number of upgrades were carried out for Kathleen, including: four-wheel disc brakes, a rebuilt and larger 1600cc motor, uprated camshaft, stainless steel exhaust, electronic ignition, upgraded seat belts, new wiring, interior, sound insulation and a vintage-looking stereo with Bluetooth.


Above all, Annie gained a complete anti-corrosion treatment to keep him fit for another 50 years of life.

Overall, 357 of the original components were restored and reused, and much of the car replaced with new items.

Better still, for us at least, there’s a video above of Kathleen being reunited with Annie.


One of our favourite things about Unique Cars is hearing the many stories encapsulating the bond between owner and car.

It’s always special to hear of a happy owner holding on to their treasured vehicles for many decades, a life well lived for both.

Our hats are off for Volkswagen, for undertaking the restoration of the beloved ‘Bug. And we wish Kathleen and Annie, partners in crime, many more happy years of "tootling".



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Annie the Beetle completed Annie the Beetle completed
Annie the Beetle complete at reveal Annie the Beetle complete at reveal
Annie the Beetle sunset Annie the Beetle sunset
Annie the Beetle at the factory Annie the Beetle at the factory
Annie the Beetle Kathleen Annie the Beetle Kathleen
Annie the Beetle restoration shell Annie the Beetle restoration shell
Annie the Beetle restoration Annie the Beetle restoration
Annie the Beetle before Annie the Beetle before


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