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Conservation

Charles A. Linbergh's 1959 Volkswagen Beetle

photo of the Beetle on display at the History CenterAviator Charles A. Lindbergh's car was on display at “J is for Journey” in the Minnesota A to Z exhibit at the Minnesota History Center. It is currently on display at the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site.




photo of Charles Linbergh with his carCharles Lindbergh inspects his Volkswagen during a visit to the Lindbergh House Historic Site at Little Falls in frame taken from film footage shot by John Rivard about 1970.




photo of the car being loaded onto a flatbed truckVolkswagen specialists at Karmann Jack's (currently AutoHaus Experts) in Stillwater received the VW Beetle owned by the late Charles A. Lindbergh to begin the process of mothballing it.




photo of the chassisMechanics removed the body from the chassis and drained all fluids from the car. This photo from May 2001 shows the re-assembled running gear and frame cleaned and awaiting rust treatment.




photo of car parts before cleaningAll mechanical parts, including engine and transmission, were taken apart, cleaned and reassembled. Here is the rear frame on March 26, 2001, after the first wire brush and scrape cleaning.




photo of the transmissionHere is the Volkswagen transmission and transaxle after the first cleaning bath in March.




photo of the engineThe engine was cleaned and reassembled with all its fluids replaced with Cosmoline wax, like that the military uses to mothball its vehicles for long-term storage.




photo of the car being unloaded at the History CenterThe mothballed vehicle is hauled to the loading dock at the Minnesota History Center for further treatment in the conservation laboratory.




photo of the car being fitted with special wheelsThe car is fitted with special wheels that allow it to be pushed down the halls and around corners.




photo of the car being pushed down the hallExhibits, conservation and collections staff push the car through the long halls of the History Center's basement Level B.




photo of car  being moved around the cornerConservation technician Ted Bores assists in getting the car around the corner. The Gojak wheels allow the car to be pushed around corners with no one steering.




photo of the car being pushed down a narrow hallThe second hall makes a narrow road. Note that the 1972 Connecticut plates are attached over European plates that Lindbergh left on the car. The Beetle had been their family car in Switzerland.




photo of the car entering the conservation labThe car enters the conservation lab where where it received some minor body and interior treatment before it went on display.




photo of the car in the conservation labConservator Paul Storch helps place the car in the conservation lab. Rusted running boards and torn interior were repaired.




photo of a car dentUnlike restoration, conservation keeps imperfections like the dent Lindbergh's daughter Reeve put in the left front fender.




photo of Charles Lindbergh's car registrationLindbergh's last registration shows his Connecticut residence.