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Mr. & Mrs. Henry Oppenheim and their '71 Squareback.
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Kirk
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:03 am    Post subject: Mr. & Mrs. Henry Oppenheim and their '71 Squareback. Reply with quote

*This story is partially incomplete. I talked to the man I got the car from and the original owners family. I havent gotten old pics of the car yet. I'll update it when I do.*

Here is my tale. Heading back from a conference with my boss last week, I noticed a flash of what appeared to be a VW Squareback in a field. I mentioned it to my boss, who immediately told me to go back. I didnt want to, but he insisted.

We went back, and when I pulled in, an older man came out to meet us. "Hep ya?" Just about that friendly. I told him that I was wondering who owned the squareback in the field behind his barns, and spitting terbacky juice, he indicated it was his, and asked why I wanted to know. Just about that friendly. I told him that I was a VW guy and was interested in taking a look at it if he didnt mind. <Insert long pause here, two more terbacky spits worth>. "Aiight."

So we walk out back to it, he starts telling me the story. He says, that one of his life long friends owned it, and "had it shipped over from Germany special like."

Sure he did. Porsche motor and all, right? Rolling Eyes

So two barbed wire fences and a cattle gate later:

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He went on to say that his friend Henry owned it since it was new, and when Henry fell ill, he asked his friend to take care of the car for him so "some punk kid didnt get it." This is the point in the story where I get asked if I am "a punk kid". I advise him quickly that I am not a punk kid, and that I have strong opinions on punk kids owning special ordered squarebacks. Apparently, I am not the comedic genius I thought I was, as my joke falls flat, met not by a chuckle, but by a <SPIT>. Fine. Lets look at the car. Its in amazing shape for being in a field. The pans are perfect, the interior is perfect, and the headliner is perfect. I. SHIT. YOU. NOT. I snapped some cell pics that day.

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We make a deal on the spot, my non punk kid status previously proven, and I tell him I'll be back for it tomorrow. As we walk back, he off handedly mentions that he also has " a large stack of paperwork with it". Okee Doke. I'm a sucker for records, so I am most definately in. Fast forward to tomorrow. Funyuns are bought, and I head out, buddy in tow. I show back up with my trailer and head out with him to the field. He's completely different to me today. Friendly, and quite chatty. He tells me more about Henry Oppenhiem, how he was from Germany, grew up around VWs, but after WWII, was disgruntled with Germany and brought his young wife to America to start a family. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

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Back out there, the car has had its tires aired up and it looks like its ready to go. I ask him what happened to the door trim and why the hood has odd swirl marks on it. His response, in direct quote form:

"The cows et the trim. And licked it. Had to make sure it wasnt salt. It aint."

And looked at me. Like I would dare challenge that story? Its HI-LARRY-OUS.

So he brings his 4 wheeler out so we can drag it up to the waiting trailer of freedom. I lay under there a second before I realize, oh yeah. He ordered it with AC, and the radiator/fan are in the way. Whoops.

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Hooked up to the bumper mounts, we are ready to go. I slide in and marvel at the wonder of well kept type 3 ness. See me? This is me marvelling. Marvelous.

We then begin to move the squareback from its home and potentially final resting place. See me? Still marveling. Marvelous.

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Last edited by Kirk on Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Kirk
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, car loaded, he heads into the house and comes back with a, you guessed it, large stack of paperwork and the title.

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I reach for it, and he pulls it back.

"Promise me you'll take care of it."

I promise him that I will. He hands over the paperwork which I will dig into later. I ask him off handedly, why the wheels were burgandy. He broke into a grin, and told me how Mr. Oppenhiem drove the car to his house once long ago and was fretting over the wheels being plain. He said "Henry kept running back and forth to the paint store. This color. That color. Never seen the likes of it. Finally he picked burgandy after about three weeks of frettin. Dunno why he chose burgandy tho. Might have been his wife. He hung the moon on her."

So we bullsh*t around a while more, and before we leave, he says to me: "Guess you're an alright fella. Heres my email address. Send me a picture every now and then. So I know its okay. Henry meant alot to me. And he loved his car." I told him I would. I asked him why it was outside if it meant so much. He said that he bought it six years ago, and for the first four it sat in his garage, never moving. Finally his wife got tired of it being in the way and asked him to move it. He then parked it next to the garage, but again, she wasnt happy. So he moved it out to the pasture behind his cattle trailers, where it sat until I stumbled on it, about three weeks shy of two years.

We say our goodbyes, and head to the car wash. Soap and Water makes it allllllllllll better. I always start out by washing a project before I get it home.

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Then into my shop:

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Cool huh?
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Kirk
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I get home, and dig through the paperwork. One word.

Wow.

This is some of the coolest sh*t I've ever seen. First:

Original Sales reciept:
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Mr. Oppenhiem filled out a "Tourista program" form, which I have and dont have a pic of. He then wrote a letter to VW in Germany requesting his car, and to be told what factory he should pick it up at. He also requested information on how to have it shipped home.

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From his family:
Apparently Mr. Oppenhiem, after leaving Germany for America never quite lost his love for the little German car. Once his family started to grow, he decided he wanted one. But not just any beetle would do. Mr. Oppenhiem and his wife Elizabeth toured all the local VW dealerships (kids in tow) driving beetles, super beetles, the "improved" 71 Bus and fell in love with the Type3 for its room and "refinements". That night, the plan was laid. The couple would return to Germany, their home, where they hadnt been in 20 years. Instead of renting a car, they would get their car from the factory, tour Germany in it, and ship it home at the end. It was a perfect plan. They went back to the local dealership, and using the standard accessory packet:

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chose his accessories (roof rack, over riders, bed extenders, AC, Emden Radio and yellow) and filled out the form, mailed the letter off, with a $100 check (which I have a copy of) detailing how they wanted their squareback to be. Yellow, his wife Elizabeths favorite color, black interior, roof rack for all the luggage, over riders, AC and sleep extenders on the bed since they planned to sleep in the car and save money. Frugal was Mr. Oppenhiems middle name.

Volkswagen responded with approval, and the Tourist packet, in a plastic case. Oh wait, THIS plastic case.

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The following documents were in the packet when I recieved it.

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Anyway, all went as planned. Henry and Elizabeth proceeded to Germany, picked up their Squareback and spent the next month touring Europe. I hope that the family lets me scan in their pictures like they promised. I'll post them when I get them, of the couple and their car various places.

Tomorrows post will be Squareback: The journey home and life there after. Hope you've enjoyed my tale thus far.
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Last edited by Kirk on Tue May 15, 2012 2:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kage
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome story, awesome looking car.
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ImAddicted
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Freaking.
Awesome.
Please tell me you are going to preserve it???? I'm a hotrodder at heart but somethings just shouldn't be touched. Your car, you so as you please, just a recommendation (plea?).
What an amazing story (and good job telling it). I'm waiting for part two. The first car I can remember was a beige Squareback - we named it Nelly - when I was 3 or 4. Dad traded it in on one of the first 411s to hit New England. We cried when he traded her in...
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shocked very, very cool story!! you lucky bastard kirk!! that's 1 way cool square!!!!! Very Happy drive it up here for the T3 invasion!!!! Cool


kris
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It warms my heart to see a fellow "punk kid" score like this. Well done man, appreciate it!
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ataraxia
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice to have the history with the car!

Does the one wrench really say 'king dick' on it? Shocked
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Kirk
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Yes.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kirk wrote:
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Yes.


LOL. Good eyes. Apparently, King Dick is a UK tool company...

http://www.kingdicktools.co.uk/
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NICE find. Good to have all the history and paperwork too... but the oval plates that went on Tourist cars are gone, I guess? I still have a set of Wolfsburgs on my wall from my grandparents last Tourist Squareback- a '72 that looked a lot like yours.

If I'm not mistaken, that console is a ZVW accessory, also.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, no Zoll plates. I was hopeful, but havent seen them. I'll ask his family if they have seen them. The plate number, 404-Z-854, appears on all the export documents though. I'll keep my eyes peeled. Sure would be nice to have them show up in the classifieds or on ebay. Laughing
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

check under the backseat!
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome find! What a treasure!

I bet the radio has a SW band, too. Post a closeup of the dial.

Give the dude a heart attack: find a Squareback in the "Abortions" thread, and send the photo to him with a note proudly asking what he thinks of your "improvements."

Okay, instead, clean her up, give her a coat of wax and tire preservative, and send him a "glamour shot". It'll make his day.

Scan all those papers and send them to the Samba for archives, too, please!
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kirk wrote:
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Yes.


That, sir, is the proverbial icing on the cake!

Nice car, great history...send the old guy some pictures as you're improving the car, it'll make his day.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kirk, that is friggin awesome!!!!! Hey there is going to be a big show in Dallas in july 8th. Bring it out to it, I want to see it in person Shocked

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is one sweet ride, Hope you keep it and not flip it, since you played the non-punk kid role.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Making me jealous. Smile congrats dude, you really are lucky to have found this.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kirk wrote:
Yeah, no Zoll plates. I was hopeful, but havent seen them. I'll ask his family if they have seen them. The plate number, 404-Z-854, appears on all the export documents though. I'll keep my eyes peeled. Sure would be nice to have them show up in the classifieds or on ebay. Laughing


If not you can have them re-poped.

That is one of the most compleete finds Ive ever seen. Cant ask for more brother!
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ALLWAGONS wrote:
That is one sweet ride, Hope you keep it and not flip it, since you played the non-punk kid role.


No kidding. I originally was looking for a flip. But I dont see how I could. I know its a late model, but its just so damn cool!
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