In his garage in the countryside of Leavenworth County, 77-year-old Robert Rogers has a project that will keep him busy until at least the summer of 2016.
Rogers is working to restore a white, 1969 VW Fastback. While the outside of the vehicle looks in good condition, the inside is nearly gutted.
For a retired military man like Rogers, the challenge inspires him to keep going.
Plus, if the task looks a bit daunting, all Rogers needs to do is peek over his shoulders at his blue 1967 VW Fastback.
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“I bought it 8 years ago from a member of the Mo-Kan VW Club, which is in Kansas City,” Rogers said.
Since 1962, Rogers has owned a VW vehicle.
Though he was stationed in Germany for three years, Rogers said he has always had a love for the VW.
“I like the dependability; it is a small car, it is economical and it is fun to drive,” he said.
So when he saw the club member’s blue 1967 VW Fastback, he bought it even though he knew it needed plenty of work before he could put it on the highway.
The car started when he bought it, but Rogers figured it was going to take at least two years of work. He didn’t mind. It is his hobby. He buys some VW to work on and then sells them.
But the 1967 blue VW Fastback was a keeper despite its condition.
“It wasn’t in the best of shape,” he said. “I put new tires on it. I replaced the headliner. I replaced all the carpeting. I replaced all the vinyl inside the car. I removed the hood and the rear deck and all four fenders and replaced them and painted them.
“I replaced all broken parts and repaired all dents and rusted areas. I had the engine rebuilt by Vee Village.”
After the two years of work Rogers put into the car, the 1967 VW Fastback was finally ready for the road. Six years ago, Rogers drove the car on trips to Joplin and Boulder, Colo.
“I use it for short runs now,” Rogers said. “We take it out in good weather.”
Rogers’ wife, Barbara knows as much about the VW as he does. When they were recalling the history of the 1967 VW Fastback, it was Barbara who knew most of it.
“It only had four owners,” Barbara Rogers said.
It prompted a quick response from Rogers.
“How do you know that?” he asked.
As Barbara recited the owners, Robert nodded his head, smiled and agreed.
Although Robert and Barbara have other vehicles for their daily use, it is the VW that brings them fond memories.
“We once drove a VW to Alaska in 1962,” she said. “We went from Fort Knox (Ky.) to Mexico, back up the West Coast to see his folks and then to Anchorage. We drove 10,000 miles on that trip. We were young.”
Now, they get looks from all ages when they are in their 1967 VW Fastback.
“They generally ask what kind of VW is it,” Rogers said.
As for the white 1969 Fastback that Rogers is currently working on, he plans to sell it once it is restored.
“The only reason is I don’t need that many cars,” he said.
Do you have a car, truck or motorcycle or other vehicle you would like see featured in Make It Yours? If you do, email your idea to David Boyce at Drive@kcstar.com