Generally, people you meet on Craigslist don’t enjoy the most stellar reputation. Most people treat any in-person transaction with someone from Craigslist with the same caution you’d normally associate with gorilla inseminators. But there’s a woman in Virginia who handed over her beloved Super Beetle to a stranger, and that stranger restored her car. For free.
In case you’d (understandably) forgotten, not everyone is a dickhead. Some people are genuinely wonderful. I think you could say that about Cullen Kohls. Cullen is the 25-year old guy who was handed the keys to a 1973 Super Beetle by Kim Steger, who’s had the Beetle since she was 16.
Steger wanted her daughter, now turning 16 herself, to drive the same Beetle she drove at that age, and I’m all for any plan that gets a kid started driving in an archaic, manual, rear-engine, air-cooled car. That’s what makes future lifelong gearheads, after all.
The problem was her old Super Beetle was in no way ready to be driven anywhere. It wasn’t running, covered in rust, missing parts, and generally a mess. Steger and her family, unable to do the restoration on their own, started looking around Richmond, VA for shops to restore the car.
Unsurprisingly, they soon learned that restoring any car is pretty damn expensive. Steger put an ad on Craigslist looking for someone to restore the ‘73 Super Beetle, which is notable in Beetle-geekery as being the first Beetle to sport a dashboard more like most ‘real’ cars and an actual curved windshield. The ‘73 and up Super Beetles may be the most modern take on the original Beetle design.
Anyway, Cullen was already a big air-cooled VW enthusiast, and agreed to restore the Beetle. For free. He had his own Beetle to restore, and wanted to do it basically for the experience.
He gave Steger his bank account information so she could deposit money for parts, and other materials, but beyond just suppling the parts, Steger paid nothing for all the restoration work.
And there was plenty: sanding, priming, welding, rechroming, engine rebuilding, sanding, upholstery, sanding, assembly, sanding, sanding, and sanding. He even had a custom window sticker cut for the car.
The Super Beetle is now red, and was delivered to Kim Steger by Cullen this week. She was delighted:
“There’s great people in the world, and you just have to give them a chance. And you just have to trust each other.”
Because it seems like some malevolent jackass secretly controls the world, Cullen Kohls is now en route to Colorado to take care of his mother, who has cancer. That is, of course, awful, but there are already groups of people who’ve seen what a generous guy Cullen is and are talking about ways to fundraise the restoration of his own Beetle or some way to help with his mother’s illness.
There are still so many great people out there, and I hope all works out for this guy’s mom. Good luck with that Beetle, too.