Time-warp Volkswagen Beetle with 22 original miles to be shown at the Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance
By Mike Spicer
Born April 3rd 1927, Rudy Zvarich always had a keen interest for understanding how mechanical items
worked. As a talented auto mechanic and go-to-guy for repairing radios, he understood what made things
tick and could sort out complex issues to keep almost anything running as intended. He was one of those
talented people with a gift for fixing things.
In 1964 Rudy was driving a 1957 VW Beetle as his daily driver. He was not excited about the changes
being introduced to the new 1965 VW Beetle model. He wanted a flat windshield and the 1964 front end
geometry, so he started shopping for a 1964 back-up car he could put aside to take over when his 1957
needed replacing. He got on the phone and found one of the last ones available in the area at Gilbert and
Seibel’s dealership located in Vancouver, Washington. Rudy bought the car (bringing along his own
battery as to not activate the original dry charge system) and drove the car to his friend’s storage space in
the dark night with no insurance.
He never licensed the car, and after two years in his friend’s storage space, he finished his own building and moved the car there. It sat undisturbed from 1966 to 2016, having
covered only 22 miles. Over the years Rudy’s interests and car collection grew. There was never a
reason for him to need the Beetle, so it just slept in the back corner of his collection with all the fluids
dropped out and a sheet over it to keep the dust off.
Although his ’64 Beetle never saw sunlight Rudy had a passion for using his other cars and participated in
many car shows. He loved to point out details on how and why engineering choices were made, you
could not help but find yourself a little smarter after a conversation with Rudy. In 2014 at the age of 87
Rudy passed away and his nephew Mike Burback inherited his car collection. Mike, also being a talented
mechanic, has gone through each car one by one making sure they are all in proper running condition as
Rudy would have done himself. As for the time capsule 1964 Beetle it was removed from its resting place
with careful attention to not disturbing the originality of the car.
The windshield wipers and hubcaps have never been attached to the car and are still in their original
boxes from the dealership. Its black paint is a little dusty, because it has never been washed – ever! The
“Leatherette Red” interior looks like it was just installed on the assembly line. The dealer window sticker is
still where it was placed in 1964.
The over-used term “they are only original once” seems applicable here. In today’s world where built-in
obsolescence is turning faster and faster, the thought of buying a backup car is not something that comes
to mind too often. Rudy was a meticulous owner who loved his Beetle so much, he wanted a spare. As
time proved, Rudy never had a need to put his backup Beetle into service. Pride of ownership was
enough to make him happy.
There are some amazing original VW Beetles on display around the world in honor of their creator
Ferdinand Porsche. The Porsche museum (Stuttgart), Volkswagen museum (Wolfsburg), and the famous
Prototype museum (Hamburg) each have impressive collections, but out of the 948,370 Beetles made in
1964 could this be the most original one left on the planet? These cars were inexpensive back in the day
and they got used. We may never see another one like it. Rudy’s Beetle is truly a snapshot in time.
In 2016, the Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance is recognizing Vintage Volkswagens with a special class. Spectators can purchase tickets in advance.