A winner of the Critic’s Choice Award at the Tecumseh Car and Bike Show in June, Ken Adams of Tipton has a special affection for his 1965 Volkswagon Beetle. Like most car aficionados, Adams has a reason for his lifelong love of Volkswagon vehicles.
“I think it’s because my earliest memory is of riding in a VW,” Adams said. “I loved that Bug. I got into them as a collector in 1987, when I was a student at University of Michigan.”
He remembers riding under the window of the back of his mother’s Beetle, and seeing a big semi-truck close in on the little car. His mother sold the car when he was about four-years-old, but Adams never forgot the car and was always intrigued by VWs.
“He always did love them,” said his mother, Mary Lou Willet.
The VW obsession can possibly be blamed on a neighbor of Willet’s who owned an earlier version of the Bug in black during the 1960s, and would let Willet drive the car around Adrian. After Willet’s first husband (Ken’s father) died unexpectedly in a work accident, Willet decided to purchase a car for the family, and with the help of her father, chose a 1965 pearl white VW Beetle with red interior.
“The first car that I was able to buy, I wanted a VW,” Willet said. She drove the car for two years before the poor heater made her get a car that warmed up better in the winter.
Willet remarried and her husband Bob remembers seeing her driving around Adrian in the little white pearl Bug. “I saw you riding around in the window,” he told Adams.
While Adams was a student at U of M, he needed a car, and found himself a green Bug. “He was so happy with that car, like it was a Corvette,” Willet said with a laugh.
Bill Rathbun helped Adams get the car up and running, and taught Adams the ins and outs of Volkswagon car care.
“Bill would let me stand there and watch what he did,” Adams said about his education with Rathbun. Over the years, Adams learned how to do basic maintenance and repair work on his vehicles.