Car: Volkswagen Variant  / Owner: Chris Creed / Photos:  Abby Creed / Air Monkeys Magazine: Samantha Eynon

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We came across this beauty of a squareback when the guys from Forty Horse Apparel got in touch with us. We had a look at their website, ( fortyhorse.com.au ) and there, in the about section, was this stunning 1965 squareback. We instantly emailed them to say, ‘yeah your t-shirts are awesome, but who owns the car?’

It turns out the owner was Chris Creed, the Graphic designer and screen printer at Forty Horse. He first got into VWs as they were an affordable classic (ahem, maybe not so much now!). He always dug the styling and simplicity of them, and as coincidence would have it, after being born he was brought back from the hospital in a Beetle!

The Type 3 was bought in 2002 from Chipping Norton NSW, but it originally hailed from rural Canberra, which is quite a dry area, meaning it was a nice, solid, virtually rust free car. Chris had looked at a few other Type 3’s before this one, but says in hindsight, he sort of wished he’d gone and got himself a Splitty, with the way their prices have sky rocketed. Having said that, he says his dream VW would be a Type 34.

In 2003 he started work on the square, and began to strip it down. However, as quite often happens, work and family got in the way, and the project had to go on the backburner. It remained that way for quite a number of years, until in early 2011, Chris’ daily’s engine blew up. Instead of spending a load of money on a replacement vehicle he decided to throw it at the squareback instead, and about a year later it was back on the road.

As Chris was working on tight budget, (or pretty much sweet FA!), he did the majority of the work himself. As is the case of most of us, he hasn’t exactly kept track of what he’s spent on the square, but would put it in the ball park of $10-$12k, in over 10 years, including the orginal purchase of the vehicle, which can’t be bad, coming in at about £6000 here in the UK!

He lowered the vehicle back when he first got it (priorities!), so can’t remember exactly how much he lowered it by, but reckons it was about 4-5 inches on drop spindles and by turning the rear spring plates. It is still running with wide five drums, that have been completely rebuilt with an added dual circuit master cylinder, and he hasn’t had a problem with them yet. One of the reasons he wanted an early square was because of the wide 5 wheels. He had decided he had to have BRMs, albeit replicas, we’re on a budget remember! Chris loved the look of white letter tyres, so “faux Firestoned” the rears by sanding off the exisitng lettering, and spraying rubberised paint through a vinyl mask.

None of the panels needed replacing, just some light dent hammering and a skim of filler here and there.

Chris did the paintwork himself in L380 Turquoise- the car’s stock colour. He did it all with a cheap compressor and a spray gun on his driveway, having to wait for sunny windless days. He descibes it as a 10 foot finish, but he has won a few trophies with it including 1st in the Modified Type 3 and 4 Category at the VW Nationals in Sydney.

The car has lots of shiny accessories, as Chris wanted to give it a Resto-Cal look, with headlight eyebrows, rain shields, mesh sunvisor, fog lights, and curb feelers, which are a bit of a nod to his grandfather, who used to use them all the time. He also has a cool roof rack he uses when he feels in the mood, that was in line with his budget, costing him $1.20 on Ebay! Chris loved the look of the Empi GTV special edition Beetle, so added some badges and some longer C-Stripes to suit the type 3. We think they look spot on.

Like the exterior, much of the car is original including the seats, but he has re-done the carpet, again on a shoe string, using some hardware store carpet which he has trimmed down to fit.

Getting the engine re-built was one thing that Chris did outsource, handing the job over to Stephen Muller, of VolksMuller at Annangrove NSW. He describes it as a top end rebuild, with new barrels, pistons, heads (off an army industrial engine, almost new), and Chris rebuilt the carbs and repainted the tin. The bottom end is still original, but he has had no problem thus far, with over 20,000km put on it in the last 18 months.

The wiring has been completely redone with a Watsons Streetworks kit. All the fuses are now modern blade type and along with all the relays etc are all on one unit under the bonnet.

Chris had said that he wouldn’t restore another car again. He now has a ‘62 Beetle and a ‘72 Bus in the garage, though he stresses that both will be staying with their patina’d bodies, so no painting! The Beetle (Gollum) is destined for his eldest daughter Abbey. The Bus (Ron Burgundy) will be the hauler for his T-Shirt business – Forty Horse. The plan is to take the shirts to VW (and other) events in the Bus as a bit of a promotional tool.

All sounds good to us, and hats off for showing us how good a budget build can be!

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