Caz - 1954 VW Oval Beetle

Caz - 1954 VW Oval Beetle

Written by the JK Team
Published 5 June 2024
Just Kampers

A bit about Caz

Caz has been part of the JK Team for 16 years now, having worked in a variety of roles during that time. From organising our historic Open Day and Camping Weekenders, to building our social media and community connections for a time, writing blogs, content, and creating ad’s through to writing product descriptions and everything in between. She has worked in Sales, Purchasing and Marketing during her time at JK – and is best known for her tendency to open a can of worms! If there is a hat at JK chances are at some point she’s probably worn it!

She has a background rich with experience of owning and maintaining classic cars, her parents shared a love for racing Imps and so Caz has been exposed to the joys of mechanics ever since she was born. Now Caz is the custodian of Spotty Dotty, a 1954 Oval with an interesting history. 

About Caz's Beetle

Year: 1954 (Registered in March 1955) Deluxe, UK RHD Specification Oval

Engine: 1200cc 30hp

Interesting Fact: It was featured in the July 1995 edition of VW Motoring magazine, with the previous owner having racked up over 100,000 accident-free miles! 

 

What made you want to get a Beetle?

We’ve had them before – but never as nice as Dotty. I mean honestly one of them was not much more than an early floorpan (that we should never have sold) and the other was seriously nasty, lowered within an inch of its life, and horrible to drive. Shaun had wanted another beetle for years, but it just never really made sense. Doris (our ‘73 Westy Bay) whom we’ve had for over 20 years has always been our baby.

What made you want to get this Beetle?

We’d been watching the recommissioning series on YouTube and the fact we were collaborating with Dom meant the little bug was front and centre in our work and home lives. I’m a sucker for anything that needs ‘rescuing’ – I’m the type of person that brings home dying plants from the garden centre! So, I kinda knew I was in trouble when I got a call from Shaun, from the stand at Volksworld, where she was due to be sold.  I was on my way to the show when, having never seen her, I told him to make an offer as soon as Dom turned up!

Did you notice any big differences driving the Beetle compared to your more modern car?

When we bought her, I was genuinely concerned that I’d hate to drive her based on my previous Beetle experience. I knew if she drove like that, I would hate it – and if I couldn’t enjoy driving her, I wouldn’t be able to love her.

Turns out I had nothing to worry about. She’s an absolute dream. Far exceeding the driving experience of any other classic I’ve experienced. We actually bicker over who gets to drive and for how long – I’m not ashamed to admit that I pull the “she is my car” trump card often!

We’ve had one misstep so far, but we’ve learned so much. I love the fact that air-cooled engines lend themselves to being worked on. You can literally learn and do. There is far less to be concerned or worried about than most modern vehicles.

We don’t tend to go anywhere in the rain but frankly if it were more than a passing shower, I think we’d have to pull over to wait for the rain to pass – no way you’d see out otherwise!
I still automatically grab for the non-existent seat belt and Shaun delights himself by asking me how much fuel we have, creasing when he sees my eyes avert to the non-existent fuel gauge on the dash. Every bloody time!

Any future plans for Spotty Dotty?

I made a promise to Sally (Dom’s mum) that we would love and care for her as is. She is a survivor car. RHD Oval manufactured in 54’ for the British market. Original paint and engine (although we are currently running another age-appropriate whilst we take care of some housekeeping). The only reason she is still in the condition she’s in is because Sally couldn’t bear to part with her – and so she sat in a garage for over 15 years.

Beyond upgrading to LED stop/tail and headlights (because they are plug and play and do not change anything that cannot be returned to original – but make it much safer after dark) and regular coats of boiled linseed to protect the paintwork, she will stay as is.

I feel a real sense of duty to honour her history. I know some people would fix the dent in the front wing (where Sally was run off the road by a delivery driver and was devastated that the ‘100,000 accident-free miles’ sticker Dotty proudly wore wasn’t quite as accurate any longer), or respray where the paint has worn through to the primer and gives her a spotty unkempt appearance, or change from 6v to 12v – but I think she’s bloody perfect as she is.

She’s probably more easily overlooked by people who don’t recognise her history but I couldn’t be more proud to own her!

Will you be driving it through winter, or stashing it away?

Urrrrm hell nah! Call me precious but I’m not intending to let the rust bug have her now!

Any advice for anyone who’s thinking about getting a Beetle?

We waited a long time for the right one and we are incredibly lucky – I’m keenly aware that there aren’t many Dotty’s out there. But they are great to own and run. You can learn loads yourself and there are plenty of workshops to pick up the skills you need, and specialists for when you feel out of your depth.

Best advice, if you don’t know all that much, do some research. Spend some time watching YouTube videos, understand the history and what you are considering buying.
There is loads to love and loads of pitfalls – be prepared for both. And take someone with you who knows their stuff and isn’t afraid to be honest with you. It’s rarely a straightforward experience – but it is all part of the journey!

Read More About Spotty Dotty

Watch the journey of Spotty Dotty on YouTube as it's brought out of its 15-year slumber and prepared for the 2023 Volksworld show. 

Read the latest blog on Spotty Dotty's adventures

10 days ago