It seems that certain aspects of the 90s are making making something of a resurgence (checked shirts, for example). One thing that I thought was unlikely make a comeback was a black beetle owned by an old school pal of mine, Jim. I was more than a little cynical, therefore, when Brad mentioned that a restoration might potentially be on the cards. The bug – named Lucille after BB King’s black Gibson – has been languishing in his old man’s garage for something like 20 years, ever since he moved down to the bright lights of London town. The last time I saw it was back in 2008 when I was toying with the idea of buying it from him – on that occasion I decided it needed too much work for it to be viable for me.

Fast forward 9 years and I was recently back under the car, poking it with a screwdriver and taking photos for Jim to fire over to the lads at the Herbie Hospital with a view to possibly having the car restored. At the time I started writing this we had no idea of the astonishing events in the pipeline!

So what sort of state was she in? Better than I remember, to be honest! Sure, there was a fair bit of rust but it wasn’t the big pile of red dust I was expecting it to be. The engine turned by hand, so I thought it could well be salvageable and I was confident that most of the interior could be reused after it had a decent clean to get rid of the mould. The Empi 8s looked in reasonable nick too. Despite the positives, I thought there was still plenty that needed putting right.

Only a couple of weeks down the line and I’m still convinced that we’re in some sort of parallel universe, because Lucille is back on the road and legal again already! She’d been shipped over to the Herbie Hospital, failed an MoT (Sesame Street was brought to you today by the word Corrosion), then been fixed and passed a retest within a matter of days. Clearly I have have learned nothing about such things over the last few years! I think Jim was expecting the work to take place over a few months throughout the course of the winter (we all were), so Ron doesn’t quite have his garage back just yet. Talking of the big man, he drove Lucille back from the Herbie Hospital and apparently she drove like a dream!

Whilst I’m still more than a little incredulous at the speed (and economics) of the whole thing, it makes me very happy to know that this particular bug is back on the road. There a few reasons behind that, but top of the list of is the fact that Lucille is the first Volkswagen I ever drove!

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