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Car show's VW entry has 22 original miles

COURTESY PHOTO - Rudy Zvarich's 1964 Volkswagen Beetle will be a special feature of this year's Concours d'Elegance. Zvarich bought his bug in 1964 and drove it home, where it did not leave the garage until after his death in 2014.
Born April 3, 1927, Rudy Zvarich always had a keen interest in understanding how mechanical items worked.

As a talented auto mechanic and go-to-guy for repairing radios, he understood what made things tick and could sort out complex issues to keep almost anything running as intended. He was one of those talented people with a gift for fixing things.

In 1964 Zvarich was driving a 1957 VW Beetle as his daily driver. He was not excited about the changes being introduced to the new 1965 VW Beetle model. He wanted a flat windshield and the 1964 front end geometry, so he started shopping for a 1964 back-up car he could put aside to take over when his 1957 needed replacing.

He got on the phone and found one of the last ones available in the area at Gilbert and Seibel’s dealership located in Vancouver, Wash. Zvarich bought the car (bringing along his own battery as to not activate the original dry charge system) and drove it to his friend’s storage space in the dark night with no insurance.

He never licensed the car, and after two years in his friend’s storage space, he finished his own building and moved the car there. It sat undisturbed from 1966 to 2016, having covered only 22 miles.

Over the years Zvarich’s interests and car collection grew. There was never a reason for him to need the Beetle, so it just slept in the back corner of his collection with all the fluids dropped out and a sheet over it to keep the dust off.

Although his ‘64 Beetle never saw sunlight Zvarich had a passion for using his other cars and participated in many car shows. He loved to point out details on how and why engineering choices were made, you could not help but find yourself a little smarter after a conversation with him.

COURTESY PHOTO - Zvarich's nephew discovered the Beetle in his uncle's storage garage, hidden away for decades under a tarp and still bearing its dealer widow sticker from 1964.This black beauty will be one of the highlights of this year’s Concours d’Elegance show, with a special class created just for this vintage Volkswagen.

In 2014 at the age of 87 Zvarich passed away and his nephew Mike Burback inherited his car collection. Burback, also being a talented mechanic, has gone through each car one by one making sure they are all in proper running condition as Rudy would have done himself. As for the time capsule 1964 Beetle it was removed from its resting place with careful attention to not disturbing the originality of the car.

The windshield wipers and hubcaps have never been attached to the car and are still in their original boxes from the dealership. Its black paint is a little dusty, because it has never been washed — ever. The “Leatherette Red” interior looks like it was just installed on the assembly line. The dealer window sticker is still where it was placed in 1964.

The over-used term “they are only original once” seems applicable here. In today’s world where built-in obsolescence is turning faster and faster, the thought of buying a backup car is not something that comes to mind too often. Zvarich was a meticulous owner who loved his Beetle so much, he wanted a spare. As time proved, Zvarich never had a need to put his backup Beetle into service. Pride of own

ership was enough to make him happy.

There are some amazing original VW Beetles on display around the world in honor of their creator. The Porsche museum (Stuttgart), Volkswagen museum (Wolfsburg), and the famous Prototype museum (Hamburg) each have impressive collections, but out of the 948,370 Beetles made in 1964, could this be the most original one left on the planet?

These cars were inexpensive back in the day and they got used. The world might never see another one like it. Zvarich’s Beetle is truly a snapshot in time.

2016 Concours d’Elegance

What: Annual antique and vintage car show benefiting Rotary Club scholarships and community service programs

When: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, July 17

Where: Pacific University campus, Forest Grove

Tickets: $17 for adults, $15 for seniors, $5 for children 13-18 (pre-show); $20 for adults, $18 for seniors; $7 for children 13-18 (at the gate). Children under 12 are free.

online: forestgroveconcours.org