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In the Garage: 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle

The 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle owned by Ryan

The 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle owned by Ryan McGuire. (Credit: Handout)

THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle owned by Ryan McGuire

WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
Since they went on sale after World War II, the iconic and lovable Volkswagen Beetles have been customized into everything from Rolls-Royce look-alikes to mice on wheels by quirky and creative owners. Artist and designer McGuire weighs in with his “dinocar,” a bright green Super Beetle sporting stegosaurus-like fins that give it the appearance of an oversized Christmas toy.

“When you turn your vehicle into a mobile sculpture,” he says, “it makes every trip feel like you're driving in a parade. No matter where you are -- pumping gas, stopped at a red light -- everyone is taking your picture as if you were a celebrity and they are the paparazzi. The bright green paint and protruding spikes are a magnet for attention, but as a person who has worn 50 bells around my ankles every day for nine years, it's this attention that fuels my desire to build these abstract creations.”


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HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
Since 2012

WHERE HE FOUND IT
He found it in Ithaca.

CONDITION
“When I originally purchased my 1971 Beetle, it had a good running motor but there were electrical issues and extensive body damage,” McGuire says. “I completed all of the bodywork on my own, as well as the mechanical work. After the foundation of the car was complete, I took a regular classic restoration to the next level by forming dinosaur attributes out of foam and then fiber glassing these attributes directly to the original sheet metal.

I selected the bright green paint because it gives these cars a cartoonish feel. I airbrushed the orange highlights when the green paint was still wet to allow the two colors to naturally blend together, simulating skin.” McGuire says he plays “loud dinosaur sound effects” through a rear trunk speaker and the interior “is completely red to simulate the belly of the beast.”

TIPS FOR OWNERS
“If you’re new to classic cars, Volkswagens are a great starting car because they are easy to work on,” he advises. “You can buy pretty much every part you need online from a handful of classic VW stores, and there are numerous online groups to help you along the way.”

VALUE
McGuire estimates the value at $7,000.

THE BOTTOM LINE
“My Volkswagen is special because it is one of a kind,” he says. “It's not every day you see a dinosaur driving down the street. The whimsical nature of the car instantly makes people happy and inspires them to pursue their own creative endeavors.” 

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