Blue Beetle – Brandon Hines’ 1969 VW is a Low-Profile Cruiser for the Colorado High Country
Air-cooled Volkswagens are perennial hot rod favorites. It’s an unlikely pairing considering a Beetle or a Bus has a puny little rear-mounted engine that isn’t amicable to huge horsepower injections. Yet we know plenty of hot rodders – from well-known pro builders to longtime hobbyists – who either cut their teeth on modified VWs, or still own one.
Of course, one reason we love air-cooled VWs, especially Beetles, is they are essentially a 5/8-scale fat-fendered car (with running boards, no less) that saw production from 1938 to 2003, a whopping 65-year run of old-school cool. Add easy-to-work-on mechanicals and a plentiful parts supply to that equation and we have an ageless, winning combination.
Almost every VW fan, at one time or another, has had the perfect custom Beetle build bouncing around inside their noggin’. Brandon Hines called Shannon Waltz, owner of Pot O’ Gold Kustoms, to help bring his notion of the perfect 1969 VW Bug to life.
Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Pot O’ Gold Kustoms is a busy, 12,000 sq. ft., one-stop shop with an eight-person crew and a full docket of builds at any given time. This ’69 Beetle is a winner and we were smitten enough by its distinctive style to christen it our Fuel Curve Pick at the Goodguys 2021 Colorado Nationals.
Brandon brought Pot O’ Gold a rough, but drivable 1969 VW Beetle from New York with a botched chopped top. From there, the car went through a complete transformation. Upon further inspection of the body, almost every panel had excess body filler, up to an inch thick in certain spots. Shannon’s wife, April Bakke, got busy stripping the body, re-chopping the top, adding wide fiberglass fenders, and frenching in the teardrop taillights at the rear.
As you can see from the results, April is one talented metal worker and fabricator. When all the bodywork was smooth, they sprayed the body in a 2000 Volkswagen Passat Blue with a satin clear coat. The styling tweaks are subtle yet effective, and with the 15-inch Boyd Coddington wheels, lowered ride height, and narrowed front beam axle, it really hunkers down this old Bauhaus beauty.
For motivation, the guys at Sportcar Inc., also in Colorado Springs, built a very nice little flat-four with some effective power mods. The 1915cc engine sports dual 40mm Solex carburetors, Magna Spark Ignition, and Vintage Speed headers and exhaust. A four-speed transmission sends power to the pavement.
The interior is the tasty filling inside this German-flavored confection. Feast your retinas on this crimson red work of art. Pot O’ Gold Kustoms did the interior in-house with help from J and J Upholstery, adding Dakota Digital gauges, a custom-wrapped Grant steering wheel, and diamond-stitched red leather everywhere you look. The stitch pattern is echoed in the “frunk” and engine bay, as well.
Sometimes, a client’s vision can get lost in translation during a build. Not so with Brandon’s 1969 VW Beetle. “The car turned out exactly as I envisioned it and I wouldn’t change a thing, Brandon says. “I love the contrasting color between the body and interior, the stance, and the performance upgrades. Shannon and his team delivered a car that I can enjoy for years and never see another one quite like it on the road or at car shows.”
Photos by John Jackson