By Mike Torpey on 2016-11-08 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Beetle fan Barry's
VOLKSWAGEN has launched a major social media activity using the #YourVW tag, celebrating Britons' love for, and memories of, the German brand and its cars.
On the back of an appeal for recollections via Facebook and Twitter, Volkswagen UK's social media team received more than 1,700 responses from car fans nationwide.
And among them was the tale of Manchester pub-restaurant manager Barry Openshaw, who shared his reminiscences of his dad's Volkswagen Beetle 1300 from the 1970s.
Barry, 43, said: "My dad, Ron, bought the Beetle back in 1973. It was a unique colour because it was gold! It felt quite special.
"He used to take me to Southport, sit me on his lap and I used to steer the car - just up the beach. We did a lot together.
"My oldest brother, Keith, courted his wife in that car. He got married and moved to Canada, it's got to be over 30 years ago. There's just something about it that takes me back to my childhood."
Stirred by his recollections, Volkswagen decided to reunite Barry with the beloved Beetle and set about tracing it.
While the actual car was unavailable, VW did manage to source an identical model which was painstakingly re-sprayed and restored.
Barry's brother Keith was flown over from Canada to present him with the classic Beetle, on the beach where he drove it on his dad's lap all those years ago.
Speaking after the emotional handover, Barry said: "I feel humbled to have this Beetle. It's absolutely gorgeous, and it looks like new! It really takes me back to my time as a kid in the 70s."
Volkswagen communications chief Thomas Brady said: "We were overwhelmed with the response to our initial request for memories of Volkswagen and, after we'd reviewed all the posts, Barry's story really stood out.
"It was incredible to see his reaction when we presented him with the 1970s Beetle, and well worth all the hard work in sourcing and restoring the car."
A video telling Barry's emotional story has been created, and Barry now plans to keep the car - continuing its restoration and showing it at classic car events as often as he can.
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