Man Finds and Restores Father's Type-3

TGR Staff

Lynn Pfenning spent 38 years chasing down his father’s beloved 1967 Volkswagen Type 3 fastback and four years restoring it to its original glory. His father purchased the Brunswick Blue Type 3 fastback for $2,200 in 1967 after totaling his 1965 Volkswagen Beetle. The car was no match for a cow he hit while traveling home from their grandparents’ house in rural North Dakota. Eight years later, his dad sold it to a local farmer who then gifted the car to his son – a friend of Pfenning’s – to drive to and from school.

After high school, the Type 3 fastback was used as a utility vehicle for several years before being barn-bound for approximately two decades. As the years passed, Pfenning grew more and more eager to find the special car and add it to his collection; he currently has two other collector cars, including a 1963 Beetle.

In 2013, after looking at another Type 3 Fastback he decided to ring his friend and ask again if the car was available for purchase. To his surprise, it was, and he was invited down to North Dakota to negotiate a price. With some haggling, his compelling backstory, and a small nudge from the owner’s wife, he was able to buy the car at a fraction of the asking price.

Contrary to photos, however, the car was in rough shape. The past owner had used the fastback as a farm vehicle to round up cattle, which in turn caused damage to both car doors and crushed the nose of the car. Instead of a proper fix, panels were filled with several inches of putty.

On top of that, the engine was severely damaged due to a hidden mouse nest, which caught fire and impaired the car’s cylinder heads. The windshield gaskets had failed years earlier, deteriorating the floor pan and transmission deck.

The restoration, along with custom additions, would eventually run him nearly $40,000. To help pay for the project, he worked late shifts, overtime, during shutdowns and covered coworker’s vacations. He also devoted 10 and 12-hour days on weekends to repairs and bodywork.

Pfenning rebuilt the engine to 1776 cc from the stock 1600 cc and installed a custom tweed interior. All the brightwork was new or reconditioned. The final step was replacing the car’s original Brunswick Blue paint with a head-turning Candy Brandywine, a popular color found in the 1930’s era hot rods.

Pfenning completed the project in July 2018 and decided to enter it in the North Dakota State Fair, where it received first place for best antique car. To celebrate, he invited his then-83-year-old dad to participate in the parade with him. That said, nothing will compare to his father’s priceless reaction from riding in his original Volkswagen. “Sharing this experience with him … has made every penny worth it,” Pfenning added.