Car’s Corner – Betty the Bug 

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By Tara Feeney

There are some cars that are so iconic that nearly everyone has a story involving one. The Volkswagen Bug reigns supreme in this category. They were so popular for so long, and with such an iconic design, it’s impossible to have not seen one at least once. That’s how Molly Minster, a freshman in the Automotive Restoration program, connected with her 72’ VW Bug “Betty.” The car had been in the family for several generations, the last owner being her uncle. She notes that both her mom and uncles learned how to drive stick shift on it, and there is a deep familial connection to Betty.  

When Molly and her father took ownership, Betty needed some work. It had just been repainted and had some upholstery work done. It wasn’t running at the time due to what she later discovered was a hole in the fuel line. She ended up doing a total body-off restoration on it. She and her father welded in new floor panels due to rust on the previous ones, rebuilt the engine, tore out the padded dash and replaced it with a newer one, redid the electrical system, and put in a new interior. She also ended up converting the front brakes from disk to the original drum brakes.  

While the restoration is not entirely finished (she still wants to give it a new coat of paint), it is more than reliable enough for her to use as a daily driver. Given the deep family ties to the car, she plans to keep Betty for as long as she can. Her favorite part of owning it is people seeing her car and then sharing their funny, sad, or happy stories about their encounters with a Bug. The one catch – the clutch has to be reset every time it’s started, and she has learned that it takes quite a significant time to let the car warm up in the cold weather – one of the hazards of living in Kansas.