Volkswagen Beetle 2018 classic

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Briannen's Beetle: Brakes, exams, and a sore head

It’s been a few months since we last caught up with Briannen and her Beetle. The 16-year old is restoring her first car, a 1969 Volkswagen Beetle, with her VW mechanic dad, Mark, who is teaching her all the tricks along the way, and we will be following her every step.

Catch up: Briannen’s Beetle: Meet the 16-year-old restoring her first car

Saturdays used to be the only day Briannen could work on ‘Apis’, but she hasn’t been visiting the workshop as much as she would like to.

“Now I’m out of school, I’m going to come in more frequently. Exams have taken up 90 per cent of my time,” she says.

And even her friends have noticed her absence.

“My friends have said, 'hey, we don’t see you much. Where have you been? You don’t hang out with us anymore!'”

Since we last spoke, Briannen has installed the master cylinder, front and rear brake pipes, and brake pads, with the latter ultimately proving too much of a challenge.

“Dad did most of it, as I’ve never done anything like that before, so I had to sit there and learn.”

Mark is enjoying seeing his daughter go from strength to strength.

“We made a brake pipe this morning, fitted it, and by the end of it, she’d got it,” he says.

Bree explained how she got a headache that day, which she still had when I caught up with her.

“Today I was under the car on the creeper, and I went back and knocked the bonnet that was leaning up against the bench, and it fell back and hit me on the head,” she says, rubbing where it hit her.

“I couldn’t move. I wasn’t strong enough to push it back, because it was in an awkward position.”

Mark then told his side of the story.

“She had her head between the back of the car and the bonnet. I came back from the toilet and hear, 'Daaaaaaad, I’m stuck'. I didn’t laugh,” he smiles.

“You did. I heard you,” Briannen interrupts.

Although painting her Beetle is still a fair distance away, she tested her spray painting skills on an old Mobil petrol bowser they are restoring together. It came up an absolute treat.

Her Beetle sat in the corner the day I visited, as she was helping her dad install an engine into another car. Mark thought it was great practice for when the time comes to install her own engine.

And an engine is the next thing on the list.

“It kind of doesn’t have a motor at this point,” she says.

Instead of buying one, Briannen suggested to her father that maybe she could steal one from his workshop.

“Everything in here you steal,” Mark laughs.

I walked with Mark and Briannen to the back of the workshop to find the start of what will be her engine.

“I won’t be rebuilding it. Bree will be,” Mark states.

Briannen will be working on ‘Apis' over the Christmas break, so stay tuned for the next update in the new year.

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