It's not unusual in the VW world for owners to develop a bond with their cars. It seems that each and every Volkswagen ever produced has its own personality and charm. This Lotus White 1967 Sedan is no different. In fact, Flockie has become no less than a family member to John Plow and Cathy Gilbert. However, John and Cathy were not the first to fall in love with Flockie.
Back in the late 1930s, an Austrian woman by the name of Elizabeth Ringer heard about the new KDF car that was soon to become available. She decided that this was to be the automobile for her and began saving KDF stamps with the hopes of buying her own KDF car when they became available. Unfortunately, like so many other eager buyers, the development of World War II in Europe put Ms Ringer's hopes on hold.
It was to be several more years before Mrs. Ringer was in the position to purchase her very first car. In 1957, she went to Schicho VW in the village of Villach, Austria and presented her KDF stamp book with the intention of driving away in a new VW. It took quite a bit of negotiation, but eventually she was able to persuade the dealership to honor the stamps as a partial payment towards her Polar Silver 1957 sedan. This car was to be her transportation until she decided to trade it in on a new VW in 1967. Mrs. Ringer returned to Schicho VW and ordered a Lotus white 1967 Sedan with a 1300cc engine, 6-volt electrical system and "Gazelle Brown" fabric interior. And this is how Flockie, as Mrs. Ringer affectionately called her, came to be in existence.
From then on Mrs. Ringer and Flockie enjoyed a special relationship. After spending a day "storming" the Austrian Alps, Flockie and Mrs. Ringer would return home to the castle that they lived in. Because this castle did not have a garage, Mrs. Ringer would open the front doors and drive Flockie through the front hall and into the living room where they would both warm up in front of the fireplace.
This relationship was to continue into the 1990s when Mrs. Ringer and her faithful companion Flockie both moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada after the death of Mrs. Ringer's husband. Flockie had spent 25 years in Austria and was still wearing her original tires, paint and interior. She had traveled less than 44,000 km (approx. 27,000) miles and had never been serviced or repaired by anyone but Schicho VW. The only body repair she had ever required was a new left front fender and bumper because of a trip into a roadside ditch while swerving to miss a bus on a narrow Austrian curve.
In 1997 John and Cathy met Mrs. Ringer. Her health was failing and she was no longer able to drive Flockie. Several offers to purchase Flockie by collectors and VW dealers had been flatly refused. There was no way that Flockie was going to be trapped in a museum or dealership showroom. She needed to be loved and driven! Mrs. Ringer liked what she saw in John and Cathy and agreed to sell Flockie to them as long as they promised to regularly drive and care for her. So in the fall of 1997 Flockie moved to her new home with John and Cathy.
Not wanting to wear out the original mechanicals, and being a passionate fan of the original Cal-Look cars of the '70s, John decided to make a few well-planned modifications. All changes to Flockie were precisely engineered so that she could be restored to original over a weekend if needed. No extra holes were drilled, and all of the original parts were carefully sealed and stored. The original running board mats and fender beading were beginning to show their age, so Wolfsburg West replacements were used. Of course John couldn't just bolt them on. First he carefully polished them with #0000 steel wool to make them look more original. John's goal was to modify Flockie to appear as if she had been built back in the Cal-Look heyday of the mid 70s. Many hours were spent tracking down original, period-correct parts. The interior is completely original with the exception of an original EMPI GT steering wheel, EMPI gauges, and a terribly rare '67 chrome EMPI radio. Flockie's gears are shifted using an early Gene Berg shifter while her dash is decorated with an original BUG-IN dash plaque.
Flockie's new engine is a combination of two-liter power and amazing reliability. John wanted to build an engine that was healthy yet with good road manners and the dependability that would allow them to wander off on 500-mile road trips to VW events across the Midwest and Northeast. He started with a new AS-41 case that was fitted with a welded and counterweighted 78.4 mm crankshaft. Attached to the crank are clearanced factory connecting rods with Chevy racing hardware. The pistons and cylinders are Mahle 90.5 mm stroker pistons, which work in conjunction with CB Performance Magnum 044 heads. (40 mm x 35.5 mm valves)
So if you ever see John and Cathy at a VW event manning their Cal-Look.com booth, stop by and say hello and make sure you give Flockie a pat on the fender...she'd like that.