The Wrought Iron Bug
From what the family told me, there were 20 of these
cars built officially for Volkswagen.
There were also two examples Rafael built himself in later years when he emigrated to California. Adding that to the original built for
Mr Montes in Zacatecas, that totals 23 that were done by Rafael.
Other metal artists around the world have built their own versions as well.
He and his brother managed to drag the body back home and then started
to search for it's most recent owner.
They tracked it down to a local doctor, who had owned it for several years and had apparently bought it from someone
who had said that it was one of the two original cars displayed at the 1968 Olympics.
The car had been stripped of it's drive train and chassis, but was still in fine shape.
Several years later when the man moved to California, he lashed the body to the top of his motor home
for the drive. Once re-located in California, he set out to make the car run and drive again.
He fitted the body to a cut down Super Beetle chassis and drove it around a little.
He called it "Cinderella" and the car obviously meant the world to him.
We came to be the next owners after seeing the car listed up for auction on Ebay.
I picked the car up from the man personally and he told me the car's story.
He was truly near the end of his life when I met him, and I am sure that he has now gone on to greener pastures.
I promised him that Cinderella would get a fine home and I towed it back to our shop in Brea.
Once here, we carefully removed the body from the incorrect chassis and located a proper 68 model chassis and drive train.
The car spent some time on display in our showroom and was eventually sold on to another collector in Ventura California.
In 2013 I was contacted by a relative of Rafael to told me the news that he had passed away.
Apparently in his later years he decided to build another iron Beetle but sadly passed before it was completed.
They had found my information through the web and wondered if I would be interested in taking on the project.
Here I am with Rafael's wife and the final iron Beetle.
The metal work was about 3/4 finished and certainly beyond my skill set to complete
but fortunately my eldest brother Royce was up for the challenge. He took it on and
really knocked it out of the park. It came out spectacular.
The finished product is now a part of the Langan collection and is on display at Gene Langan VW in Connecticut.
This example is a part of the VW of America Collection in Michigan
It has been displayed at shows and museums across the country over the years
including recently at the Amelia Island Concours in Florida.
We are trying to document as many of the others that remain in existence
and will add photos to this page as I find them.
West Coast Metric- Loren Pearson- Los Angeles