WAPAKONETA — The Barrett Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, took place the last week of January and a local talent was represented on the auction stage.
Joe Patterson, of Wapakoneta, was proud to see the 1966 Volkswagen Bus sold to the highest bidder for $110,000.
“It was pretty exciting. We did about 75 to 80 percent of the work and it was the highest-selling VW bus at the auction,” he said. “The owner was referred to us by a shop out of Columbus, he wanted it done and done right so he was told to call us. Initially he had the body work and paint done at another shop and we were just going to assemble it but the paint job was atrocious. He was doing it just to send to the Barrett Jackson Auction and it was not a VW shop that did the work.”
Restoration work is very specific to the make and model of the vehicle. A true frame off restoration contains a large number of parts that are hand picked and depending on how old and rare the vehicle is, tracking down parts can take a lot of time and money.
“I would never do a full restoration on anything but a Volkswagen. I have done so many and that’s the one I know, I can tell you how many nuts and bolts are on a VW, what size wrench to use and that’s without having to look anything up. I would do body work and paint but not full restorations on other cars,” Patterson said. “Sometimes it gets pretty difficult; we’ve got a 1955 Beetle that’s been there three years. This one was only made for six months over in Germany so you can spend months finding one little part.”
For example, the tail lights for this particular Beetle were found in the Netherlands for $1,700.
The bus that was sold at Barrett Jackson came to Vintage Metal Werks with paint that was wavy and had runs.
“The body lines were covered up so we ended up having to strip it down to bare metal and start over,” he said. “We did all the body and paint work and about 65 percent of the interior, the windows the wiring and the lights. The owner decided to have his friend to do the motor and the drive train part and brakes so we did the cosmetic ‘pretty’ stufff.”
Patterson’s love of VW began at Bath High School when he bought a VW Bug from his math teacher for $75.
“A friend of mine had one so I got one and souped it up,” he said. “When I was a senior I had the fastest car in the parking lot. That was in the early ’90s and the new 5.0 Mustang was hot but my car could go faster.”
In the 25 years since that first bug, Patterson and his wife, Kim, have traveled and participated in many car shows in the Volkswagen collector world.
“We’ve traveled all over the U.S. with car shows and have vehicles that have won best of show, best paint, and we have been in national magazines seven different times,” he said. “In 2012, we flew to Sacramento as the associate sponsor of that event, we’ve been to the Phoenix Firebird Raceway, Canada, South Carolina, Florida, just all over.”
The VW bus was the first one Patterson has restored that was auctioned at Barrett Jackson.
“Our client paid extra to have it be shown late Saturday afternoon during the big money time, prime time,” he said. “It was neat to hear all the professional people talking about it and one said that if it wasn’t the nicest he’d ever seen it was one of the nicest.”
The price proved it; it was the highest selling VW bus at the auction.
“The bid came from online so we don’t know for sure but we think it was purchased from overseas and will probably be shipped there,” Patterson said.