Jan the Beetle

Jan the Beetle – Volkswagen automotive museum

Volkswagen’s automotive museum, AutoPavilion, has recently had an upgrade and one of its new displays is Jan the Beetle. In 1971, VWSA and Wheels magazine held a competition to find the oldest Beetle in South Africa. The winner was David Rubin of Middelburg, who received a brand-new 1300 Beetle in exchange for his car, Jan the Beetle, which was built on Wednesday 14 September 1949 in the original VW factory in Wolfsburg. Jan went on display around SA before coming to rest at the VW factory in Uitenhage where it was left in storage as his condition had deteriorated and could not be displayed. That changed when his condition was brought to the attention of Jan at VW, namely Jan Schiedek-Jacht, the Head of Product Engineering.

Schiedek-Jacht, who is a classic car enthusiast and expert offered to give Jan a new lease on life. Soon, highly qualified engineers from Product Engineering offered to help. “The team under the leadership of Jan Schiedek-Jacht donated their spare time to fully restoring Jan and the task took seven months. It was decided that Jan would be restored to his original condition and colour. As many original components as possible were repaired and restored, and only where required were new components sourced from special dealers in SA, Germany and the US.

Jan is now the jewel of the AutoPavilion vehicle collection in Uitenhage and in February successfully completed a 600 km round trip to the George Motor Show exactly 67 years 4 months 10 days after he was built