NORWAY — Forget the Mustang or Impala. Imagine driving around town in a bright red 1969 Volkswagen Beetle.

That’s what the Norway-Paris Lions Club is raffling off this year to
raise money for the organization’s charitable causes, such as
eyeglasses for the visually impaired.

“They were awesome automobiles. They were a fun car,” said Terry
Twitchell of the local Lions Club decision to find the unique little
car with the engine in the trunk.

Twitchell said that traditionally the club has purchased collectible
cars like Mustangs each year to restore and raffle off. Because
collectible cars have become more expensive, Twitchell said the club
started to look for an economical car for the driver and one that would
be cheaper for the club to purchase.

“Looking at the gas mileage, we thought a Volkswagen would be the smart thing to do,” he said of the purchase.

The “bug,” as the Volkswagen Beetle was affectionately known, was
purchased from a 31-year-old Paris woman who bought it after seeing an
advertisement in Uncle Henry’s.

“I don’t know. I just liked it, I guess,” said Shelly Everett of Paris when asked why she sought out this type of car in 2004.

Everett said the history of the car is vague. It was found in a barn
in Old Orchard Beach by a couple who had purchased the property years
ago. The couple never drove the car, which still had a 1998 inspection
sticker on it, and finally placed an ad in Uncle Henry’s to sell it.

Everett purchased the car with intentions to restore it. While the
renovation never occurred, she drove the car. “It drove well,” she
said.

The “bug” was first seen in the United States about 1947 and had its
heyday in the 1960s and ’70s before being discontinued in 1978. In 1969
the makers of the Beetle boasted the addition of a double-action, day-and-night, rearview mirror, an electric rear window defroster and wider
range of seating adjustments in the tiny interior.

The car’s odometer reads about 50,000 miles, but Everett said it is
unclear whether the odometer had turned over at 100,000 miles or
whether it was even accurate.

The car, which can be seen in the parking lot of Dad’s Place on
Route 26 in Norway, was restored by Randy Jones of West Paris and his
son, Justin, to its original condition. The body was repaired and
painted red and new bumpers were added. The old torn-up interior was
replaced with its original red and white colors using vinyl that
Everett had purchased but never used.

“When I purchased the car, the back seat had been sun damaged. We
bought all new vinyl for the front and rear seats. They took vinyl and
installed it,” she said.

The car will be raffled off on Sept. 19, Twitchell said. Tickets are $5 each or three for $10.

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Barry Smith of Mechanic Falls peers into the recently restored Volkswagon that is displayed at Dad’s Place on Route 26 in Norway.


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