Surf Sleds: Rock’s 1978 Volkswagen Convertible Bug

Published On July 6, 2015 » 852 Views» By Eddie Solt » Home Slider, surf sled
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All photos by Mark Kawakami

With his Becker triple stringer in the passenger seat popping out from the drop top, surfer Rock Donahue, sporting his trademark visor, is a regular checking out the breaks from El Porto to Torrance Beach in his red 1978 Volkswagen Convertible Bug. It’s the only way he’s gotten around since getting his license.

“I am the second owner,” Rock said. “My dad bought my bug from a car rental place in 1978, when I turned 16.”

IMG_4650The bug is powered by the original motor. Since it’s a later model, it’s fuel injected.

“All though it’s an old car, I still have to get it smogged,” he said. “Four years ago, the front seal went out.”

His mechanic recommended a rebuild.IMG_4649

“It was time to go through the entire car or get a new one,” Rock said. “The top was shredded like cotton candy, it had rust in all the usual places, it was two different shades of red, and the floorboards were ‘Fred Flintsoning’ through to the street.”

New paint, interior, and motor restored Rock’s little bug.IMG_4648

“The only thing I changed was the headline color to black because white gets dirty and I added a kustom wood shift knob,” he said . “I’m on my third stereo system.”

Even with today’s gas prices, it’s only $20 to fill up the tank and Rock’s stoke.IMG_4643

“Originally I had the passenger seat made custom to lay back for the ladies,” he laughed and said, “now it’s for my longboard. I have to keep the board under a certain width so my shifter doesn’t get caught on it going from third to fourth.” DZIMG_4642

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