Eeyore (1964 Volkswagen Beetle)

Eeyore was my 1964 Volkswagen Type I Deluxe Sedan (better known as a Beetle, Bug, etc.). We got him not long after the untimely demise of the Mayfield Belle. He was built in Wolfsburg, Germany in December of 1963 and was sold new in Atlanta, Georgia.

The original owner drove him back and forth to work for a number of years and eventually passed the car on to his son. He had been sitting idle for quite a while when we found him (the car, not the son). After recharging the battery, adjusting the points (the magic cure-all for any ailing VW), he reluctantly came back to life.

I cleaned him up a little and started driving him to work on a daily basis. A few weeks later, I did a more thorough tune-up, which brought more life back to the 1200 engine. With a good downhill run, Eeyore would still actually reach the published top speed for a stock 1200 VW (72 MPH!). Not that you'd want to stay there long, mind you ;-).

Eeyore was pretty much original as we purchased him, including the original Blaupunkt AM 6V radio (non-functional). He had been through both front- and rear-end fender-benders, so new bumpers had to be fitted. As I worked with the car, I eventually discovered that one rear-end collision was bad enough to require a new rear apron/clip. I plan to eventually redo this work.

After driving Eeyore an average of 40-50 miles a day to work in Atlanta over about three years, the 1200cc engine was beginning to make ominous thudding sounds at speed (rod knock), so he was parked for about 6 months as I gathered parts to build a fresh 1200cc engine.

Here are photos of Chad (age 9) helping me remove the old 1200...


To facilitate easier removal of the engine and general access to the underside of the car, I built a wooden dolly to put Eeyore on while we work.

VW Stand

Here's the old engine, resting behind Herbie. This engine will eventually be overhauled and installed in Herbie.

Old 1200

And here's the new 1200 engine being built up...

New 1200

I had to replace a broken clutch return spring before installing the insulation in the engine compartment...

Engine Compartment

Here's Eeyore being spun back around in preparation for engine installation.

Eeyore on Stand

Here's the engine coming off the workbench...

On Hoist

Here's the engine being rolled under the car...

Rolling In

Here's the engine in, car still on stand...

Engine In

And here's the run-up being done (May 29, 1999)...


Listen to the last few seconds of the run-up

eeyore.aif - 88K

One Week Update
Eeyore seems to be taking to his new engine quite well! The only adjustment I've had to make was to adjust the cooling ring so it didn't rub on the cooling fan.

Nothing else.

Not the points, timing, idle screw - not anything! He runs just as smooth as you could ask for, doesn't ping under acceleration, and idles much better than any VW I've ever driven.

I'll be up for an oil change at 500 miles (probably in a couple of weeks - I drive about 50 miles a day round trip). For now, I'm taking all the back roads so I can stay at 55 or slower. Trying this on Atlanta's I-85 would be virtual suicide!

500 Mile Update - June 1999
I hit the 500 mile mark today and did the oil change and bolt retighten routine. There was a good bit of trash in the oil screen, but nothing large or alarming. It mostly looked like leftovers from the overhaul. The longblock came from GEX, and I had heard that it was a good idea to check the engine for 'builders leftovers' during the breakin period.

My first gas fillup indicated that I'm getting about 30 miles per gallon. I fill up again tomorrow, and it looks right now as if that may be improving a bit as the engine settles in.

The BAD NEWS is that my transaxle has started popping out of 4th gear under load. This happened with the Mayfield Belle, and quickly led to a replacement of the transaxle. I'm going to go ahead and pull the transaxle from Herbie and get it ready to swap for Eeyore's transaxle. Herbie is rapidly turning into a parts car!

Almost 10,000 Mile Update - April 24, 2000
It's been almost a year since I built the new engine for Eeyore, and it's still running quite well. I started my own business out of my home last fall, so my commuting days are gone, but I seem to be putting even more miles on than before driving back and forth to client offices. Gas mileage has stabilized right around 29 - 32 MPG, and the engine is not burning oil (at least, not enough to add oil between changes).

I did end up swapping transaxles, and the one from Herbie works better, although it does whine a little at speed. At least it's not popping out of gear anymore!

Final Update
I sold Eeyore in late 2001, and bought a 2000 New Beetle TDI to replace him. Eeyore was hard to let go of, but with my new web design business taking off (with clients as far as an hour away), Eeyore's cantakerousness (mostly related to the old 6-volt wiring) was keeping him in the garage too often. I still miss him, but the reality was that he was going to need some more major work (the floor pans were getting pretty rusted out), and with the '62 Herbie project underway, I didn't want to tackle two bugs at once.