Pair patch up classic VW Beetle in time for Leeds event

Jonathan Crabtree, his dog Titch, and Richard Hood, with the 1967 Beetle.
Jonathan Crabtree, his dog Titch, and Richard Hood, with the 1967 Beetle.
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IT has become a painstaking labour of love for a pair of vintage car lovers.

Jonnie Crabtree and wife Gina, who run the Herbie Hospital, at Dolly Lane in Leeds, have set themselves a challenge in time for a huge gathering of Beetle fans.

For Jonnie is spending every spare hour lovingly restoring an original 1967 pale blue Volkswagen Beetle back to its pristine former glory.

And one lucky person could win the £5,000 car for just a pound, when it is raffled at the VW Festival, to be held at Harewood House next weekend.

They hope to sell thousands of tickets for charity over the weekend of August 15-17.

All funds raised will go to the Leeds Dogs Trust.

Jonnie, from Bardsey, who took over the 25 year old business five years ago, said: “I’ve been working on it for months now. A lady donated it to us and it is almost finished.

“It was in a real state, but will soon be back to its original best and would be worth up to £5,000. I’ve worked on the interior, so it is much as it would have been originally.”

He said the restoration took a lot of time, but he was on a mission to finish on time, with just days left to add the finishing touches.

In 2012 the couple restored another Beetle in silver and raised £6,000, which was 
donated to The Children’s Heart Foundation and Parkinson’s 

The VW Festival attracts thousands of people from across the UK and beyond to celebrate a love of all things Volkswagen, as well as a chance to relish in Beetle-mania, for those who adore the cute vintage characterful cars.

There will be camper vans and cars on display, including Polos and Golfs, and lots of fun activities for all ages at the camping event.

There will be live entertainment and more than 100 stalls.

Gina said: “This year’s charity raffle is a stunning 1967 pale blue Beetle, which was donated to us by a customer, who had been left it by her late mother.

“She knew we had built the Beetle two years ago, raising over £6,000.

“She wanted the car to go towards another good cause, this year we have chosen the Dogs Trust. All our suppliers have donated things too.

“We are a now racing against the clock to get it finished.”

As a trained mechanic, Jonnie restored a 1974 Karmann Ghia, a 1953 Beetle and a 1960 Split Screen Twin Cab before taking over The Herbie Hospital, to make a living out of his passion for classic VWs.

The team works together to offer a complete range of services from small repairs, servicing and complete renovations and rebuilds of classic VWs.

More details at


The world’s most famous VW Beetle is probably ‘Herbie’, the spirited star of films like ‘The Love Bug’, ‘Herbie Goes Bananas’ and ‘Herbie: Fully Loaded’ starring Lindsay Lohan.

The Beetle was one of the first cars with a rear-engine.

Although the Beetle first appeared in 1932, the first recognisable prototypes were built in 1936.

Well over 20m VW Beetles are thought to have been built to date.

The first production Beetle proper was built after the end of WWII in 1945.

The last two German-made Beetle shells reside in VW’s Milton-Keynes parts store, still protected in wax.


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