“Bella’s Bug”; a bittersweet love affair with 3 cars, two dogs, and a woman.
A few months before Melissa, my former fiancé passed away from metastatic breast cancer, I sold my beloved “BugVert”, a ‘65 VW Convertible.
Years earlier, Melissa and I had many adventures in the “BugVert”, with our first dog, Savanna, prior to separating briefly.
I sold "BugVert" in order to buy "Rosie" the Porsche 914, (also on this site).
When we reunited, Melissa had a new dog, Bella. However, our dogs couldn’t go with us in "Rosie", because "Rosie" is too small.
As a result, we only ever got to go one adventure together in "Rosie", before Melissa passed away.
In Melissa’s final moment, as she let her last breath go, along with her grip on this life, I felt her soul ascended, I think to heaven.
BUT, her energy or essence, hit me in the chest with viseral force, passed through my whole body to my feet, then into her dog, Bella.
Bella, who was sound asleep, bolted to her feet, got up on the couch chair, which she's trained never to do, and wrapped herself around me, putting her head in my lap.
Out of nothing more than reflex, I began stroking Bella's head. At that moment the pastor who was originally going to marry Me and Melissa, walked through the door.
I missed Melissa and our adventures with our dogs in the “BugVert”.
I figured that, with Melissa's essence sticking around within Bella, I needed to replace the "BugVert" with a suitable vehicle, so our adventures could continue.
I decided to spent what little money I was gifted to care for Melissa's dog, Bella, on another VW Beetle, rather than watching the money disappear on miscellaneous crap.
My criteria was strict for the budget. Solid, no rust in floors, rockers, or channels. It must start, run, drive, & stop.
It must also not need any major body work. Finally, it had to be under $2000 (2017 money).
Ironically, On the 14th anniversary of meeting Melissa, my friend Eddie went with me and the dogs to see the candidates, and picked "Bella's Bug".
We went to see one in Bakersfield, was a nice color but that was lipstick on a pig, So it was off to Anaheim and possibly Irvine.
A man named Mitch in Anaheim sold me this ‘69 VW Beetle, under budget. The father of Mitch’s client, bought the car brand new in 1969, drove it 28 years, and parked it, passing it to his son, who kept it in the garage from the time dad parked it till he gave it to Mitch, 20 years later.
So, I’m technically the 3rd owner, and the car had only 47,000 miles on it's original factory optioned 1600cc single port motor, when I bought it.
Sometime shortly before the last time the original owner parked the car, it was hastily painted the current gold on brown color.
The paint job was rushed because the original owner wanted to have it "pinstripped" by some famous pinstriper, and the window of opportunity was very small.
The paint job is so crappy, that I refer to it as “Dog Doo Brown”, and it’s the doggy pram, hence the back seat delete with platform replacement.
I’ve put a lot of miles on it, and a lot of money into it, since then. It is my daily driver, and Savanna, Bella and I have had many adventures in the Dog Doo Brown Doggy Pram.
It really became Bella’s Bug when Savanna, (My & Mel's 1st dog), had a grand mal seizure the week of her 13th birthday, and I had to put her down Christmas eve, just a year after Melissa's departure. It's clear to me Melissa & Savanna are happy in heaven, and Bella needed some high quality time, one-on-one, with a capable, attentive owner, to have some adventures with, in this lifetime. I’m also confident Melissa is along for the ride, when Bella and I go on our adventures in her bug.
Savanna was far and away the greatest dog I've ever known, but in such a short time Bella and I have bonded so closely, it’s amazing, yet they are each the greatest in their own ways. Our latest adventures include driving over Refugio Rd with the Bro’s of SBVDub Club, And caravanning with an entourage of VW’s to MITM at Nojoqui Falls, where Bella got the see a waterfall for the first time, and sadly, her last, as she departed earth at nearly 15 years old due to cancer in the larynx. The happiest days of her life, and mine, were spent together in Bella's Dog Doo Brown Bug.
The story goes on, as Bella's Bug is finally getting some work done. As of November 2020 a freshly built motor & transmission have built, the entire car completely gutted, rust mitigation done, seats rebuilt, and Bella's Bug is out for body, paint, and headliner. She will be red from apron to apron, fenders, dash, and door sills, and black for the rest of the interior, frunk, and engine bay, as well as from the trim line down, between the fenders. The glass is being tinted and wrapped in fresh rubber, along with fresh rubber everywhere there's rubber in the car.
this is an extremely budget conscious restoration, but the list of those who made it possible is lengthy, and I will be including the names of those who will permit my mentioning them, when the car is done. For now here's some shots pre body prep & paint.