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Bugged by pink? Not this VW lover

Staff writer

Pink cars most often are associated with Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Hillsboro resident Dan Schaefer’s 1965 VW Beetle is an outlier.

He bought the Bug in 1981 at a gas station in Emporia.

“It was after I wrecked my other Bug,” he said, chuckling.

He put a lot of work into the ’65, tearing it “completely apart and rebuilding the whole car,” including eye-catching paint called Pink Panther. The upholstery, steering wheel, and gas pedal also are pink — though faded by now.

Even the engine is pink.

He hand-painted wavy blue, green, and yellow stripes on both sides of the car. The paint job took about four days.

“Pink and turquoise were popular colors in the late ’80s and early ’90s,” Schaefer said.

The car’s original color was white.

That wouldn’t do for Schaefer.

A love for VWs “kind of runs in our family,” he said. “My dad was from Germany, and my uncle was a mechanic at Collins Motors in Emporia.”

Rebuilding the car took nine months.

“I learned as I went,” he said. “That was way before YouTube.”

His wife helped sand before he repainted the car.

“Well, she was my girlfriend then,” he said.

Schaefer put about 200,000 miles on the car in the 15 years he drove it. The Bug has been parked at his home for three years because it doesn’t have brakes.

He occasionally gets offers for the car, but he always turns them down.

He also has a 1962 Thunderbird that he bought after selling a VW bus. He’s had it six years and works on it “here and there when I have time,” he said.

He rebuilt the front end and brakes and still needs to do some rust repair to put the gas tank back in.

A ’61 VW convertible is in storage but is a bigger job.

“It’s in pieces,” he said.

Last modified Jan. 25, 2023

 

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