Eric and his all original 1967 VW Beetle
20 Feb

Classic VW Enthusiast Joins eBay Motors as Contributor

My name is Eric Shoemaker, I live in San Francisco, Calif. with my wife Amanda and I have a passion for vintage Volkswagens. I own a very original 1967 Volkswagen Beetle that my grandfather purchased in Jan of ‘67 for around $1,200.00.

“For many VW enthusiasts, the model year 1967 holds a special attraction. It’s been long bantered about as the best year of the Beetle. It was the first year for the 1500cc engine, first year for 12-volt electrics, first year for the standard upright headlights, and the last year for the smaller bumpers and painted dash. There are many one year only parts on the ‘67 model year, especially the US spec versions and all of these attributes create what is one of the most recognizable and desirable Beetles out there.”

1967 vw beetle eric 03 600x400 Classic VW Enthusiast Joins eBay Motors as Contributor

It got to a point where Grandpa did not drive the car much anymore. One day, I called him up asking what he was going to do with it long term. “Come over and let’s talk about it,” he said. Long story short, he ended up giving it to me.

I’ll never forget when he went downstairs to collect a folder full of old records. “I believe this is everything,” he said. I could not believe it. The original bill of sale, ALL service records, and documents you could not even read anymore. Amazing! The archive was a true time capsule. He signed the title over. I was now the 2nd owner of the family Volkswagen.

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1967 vw beetle eric 06 600x400 Classic VW Enthusiast Joins eBay Motors as Contributor

I’ve worked as a visual designer / art director for the last 11 years. Over the last 7, I’ve been restoring the ’67 Beetle. During that time, I fell in love with creating real tangible objects and working with my hands. I’m obsessed with small details and the idea of bringing something old back to its former glory. I created 1967beetle.com as a platform to tell my story, as well as for other ’67 Beetle owners. Many other great folks around the world contribute their ’67 restoration stories.

I’d love 1967beetle.com to become a true resource for people who are aiming to do a stock restoration on a ’67 Beetle. I’m a firm believer that the continuation of great content can achieve this. The bigger idea behind the site is to connect ’67 Beetle owners globally.

Lastly, I plan to continue featuring other ’67 restoration stories and grow tips and tutorials. I look forward to sharing more unique Volkswagen stories with you as time goes on.

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Comments (64)

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  1. Steve Coan says:

    Nice story, but these VW’s were deathtraps, particularly the pre-’63 models. A head-on crash is a death sentence and even a minor accident will result in almost certain injury. Unfortunately, I am unable to speak with my grandfather. He was killed in April, 1970 when he was ejected from his ’66 Beetle in a minor accident. There are thousands of stories like this. The U.S. government allowed these unsafe cars to be sold in an effort to boost the economy of West Germany. Read the 1972 book, “Small on Safety,” the designed-in dangers of the VW Beetle. You’ll be shocked at what you read and you’ll think twice about ever driving that Beetle again.

    • Steve,

      I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of your Grandfather. I don’t even know how I’d feel about cars in general if something like that happened to me.

      Volkswagen of old set the standard in terms of build quality, etc. All of these cars seem to have a unique story. My goal is to give people a platform to tell that story. Everyone has a choice with the cars they drive. I grew up around my Grandfather’s Volkswagen Beetle, so it holds a special place for me. Would I take the car on a road trip down to So Cal? Probably not. To each his own.

      • Robin Myint says:

        I would strongly dis-agree with the statement that the early beetles were un safe vehicles. In my younger days, I drove nothing but beetles and so did my 3 best friends. We had our own little car club. My first was a 62 which I had given to me when I was 13 and I rebuilt it from bumper to bumper by the time I was legal to drive. It was followed by a 64, two 66′s and a 70 and then my favorite, a 67 which i bought with a siezed engine a hundred miles north of Boston. I towed it home on the end of a rope at night in the middle of winter on icy roads with rain and sleet coming down. Some idiot in a jeep passed us on an off ramp causing the tow rope to snap and there we were, 3 cars wide going down the ramp. Fortunatly, no collision and made it home safly with the car. I transplanted the engine I had saved from my 66 which had been hit and totalled a year earlier in a parking lot by a guy driving between the parked cars doing about 30 mph. I compounded and waxed and buffed that old white paint till it shined like new. 4 new firestone 500 radials were then added and off I went into Boston one morning and the left front tire blew out in a construction zone. The car pulled hard left and i hit the end section of the new guardrail head on. This was in the days before guardrail had buffer ends, when they sloped the rail down into the ground. Well, the sloping section wasn’t on yet and the first panel sliced through the passenger side of my beloved 67 like a hot knife through butter cutting through the seat and throwing the battery out the rear window. The trans and engine were ripped out from under the car and then the car came off the guardrail and tumbled 300 feet down a very steep incline end over end. I ended up wedged between two large trees. I crawled out the left door window and took a look. The car was almost un-recognizable. No fenders or hood or trunk lid, side panels behind the doors torn and bent up onto the roof, bumpers torn off but the door pilars were intact and the doors stayed shut even though they weren’t locked. I had no seat belt on and I walked away with a bruise on the head. The state trooper that showed up couln’d believe I was up walking around let alone breathing. I firmly believe that little car saved my life. I would have been dead in anything else. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the 67 Bug.

        • Derek Mau says:

          Dang! That is a helluva story and you lived to tell about it long afterwards. Thanks for sharing, Robin.

          My dad passed down his ’68 Beetle to me when I was 17 and I learned how to drive a manual in that little red bug. Thankfully, I don’t have any stories as exciting as yours to share.

    • Robert DiGiovanni says:

      Hi Steve, I’m sorry for your grandfather’s fatal accident. However, my family’s experience with the type 1 sedan is far different. In 1959, my Dad went to medical school in Kirksville, MO. He drove his family from Brooklyn, NY to Kirksville in a Beetle. Two round trips a year on average. I have a 1966 type 1 and I wouldn’t hesitate to drive it anywhere. These little gems gave a lot of people the freedom to travel to wit; 21-million sold. Read the book “Thinking Small.” It’s an amazing look into the history of the Beetle and the vision of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche. You may end up seeing the other side of the discussion. Then, just drive one! Not much else will make you smile ear to ear.

      • alice key says:

        i got a 71 volswagon bug from my brother in ga,its in great shape. one flaw tho. i live in nc, he gave me a bill of sale .couse couldnt fine the title for it, so i can get a title for it here.is there any advice you can give me about how to sent off for a new title for it here. thanks

    • Skull & Bones says:

      It was another German car maker, Mercedes-Benz, that pioneered automobile crash safety in the early 1960′s with their “crumple zone” technology. Prior to that technology, people were getting killed in large American made cars that would transmit all the energy of a crash to the passengers in accidents leaving these large, “safe?” cars only lightly damaged. Specific accidents in specific cars tend to leave people like Steve with a DISTORTED view of the relative safety of all cars of that era.

      • Steve Coan says:

        There is some truth to what you say, but the fact is, the VW Beetle of the 1960′s had the highest “death rate” for a passenger car sold in the U.S… by far. There was nothing even close. The NHTSA has loads of documentation in their archives. You’d be better off in anything else…particularly a large American car. UCLA rammed Beetles with large Fords and GM cars in the 60′s…it wasn’t pretty. This is not to say that the Beetles weren’t well made but the design from a safety standpoint was extremely poor. This is why they were taken off the U.S. market in 1978…they simply couldn’t be retrofitted to be a safe car.

  2. richard moon says:

    Deathtraps? Perhaps, but no moreso than a lot of other cars in that era. I drove a ’56 Chevy with no seat belts and a steering column that functioned as a spear in a collision. My ’66 bug was my pride and joy; I get in one now and realize that my face was inches from the windshield, my torso was uncomfortably close to the steering wheel. Who knew? And who cared? I’m going to date myself, but in many ways, I think those vehicles w/ vent windows and a radio were safer that many more sophisticated cars today. I ride motorcycles, and I feel distracted drivers (read cell phones, GPS units, sound deadening cabins, audio options, etc) present more of a threat to my safety than logging miles in my bug ever did.

  3. Jody Sauvageau says:

    VW was always striving for the highest in quality and safety. The 1967 VW Beetle was the safest VW to date. It came with front lap seat belts as standard equipment a year before the US mandated it. Other new safety features included a collapsible steering column and rubber coated instrument knobs. It was also the first year to have recessed interior door release levers and a stronger redesigned door latch. Just because of their small size it shouldn’t classify them as a deathtrap. Millions of classic VW’s have traveled billions of miles, an accident could happen to anyone at anytime driving anything.

    • Kurt S says:

      > The 1967 VW Beetle….came with front lap seat belts as standard equipment a year before the US mandated it.

      That’s incorrect. Front lap belts were mandated in 1965 for all US vehicles. Starting Jan 1, 1968, all hardtops had to also have front shoulder belts.
      FMVSS 208 and 209.

      • Jody Sauvageau says:

        Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208,
        effective January 1, 1968, requires either a lap belt alone,
        or a combination lap and shoulder belt, at each seating position
        of any new passenger cars. A combination lap and
        shoulder belt is required at the front outboard seating positions
        on all such vehicles except convertibles.

    • Steve Coan says:

      Certainly, the 1967-1978 were much safer than its predecessors, but the numbers don’t lie. The VW Beetle had the highest death rate of any car sold in the U.S. at the time. By the way, American cars offered seat belts as far back as 1958.

    • jeff jones says:

      I agree i worked on and drove vw,s for years. The 67&70 models were the too best they turned out, granted the early models left a lot to be desired. American car company,s could take a lesson from vw they were simple! They built the Type 1 for close to 40 years people snatched them up most of that 40 yrs. They are more popular to day than ever they were borne in GERMANY & PERFECTED IN THE U S A long live the vw.
      its a fact one can get killed in automobile i totaled wrecked three of them i must agree that a head on crash was not so good.

  4. Jay Salser says:

    I am elated that Eric Shoemaker has been invited to contribute to eBay Motors! Most people in the vintage automotive community are older guys. Here is a young “rising star” in the field of us old guys!

    I’ve been driving since I was 14 years old–now am 74. I’ve been driving air cooled VWs for over 36 of those 60 years. Air cooled Volkswagens, to me, no longer are modes of transportation, in great part. They have become collector items whose owners pamper them like sacred pets–stroking and patting them.

    Along with the Great American Vintage Vehicles, Volkswagen has made its mark, even beginning to break into the bigger auto auctions and historic magazine articles. And, why not! Volkswagen has earned a place of honor. There is hardly a place on the Planet where an air cooled VW has not left “it’s spot of oil”! LOL

    VW–Rock On!

    jay salser

  5. Scott Mudd says:

    Good story! I haven’t owned one in a while but my first car was a ’68 bug that I bought for $50.00 back in 1979. After that I owned a ’71 semi, a ’74, and finally I think it was a ’56 convertible but it was a roach…good luck!

  6. eBay Motors says:

    Eric,

    We’re so happy to have you here as a contributor, welcome aboard!

  7. Rick Garner says:

    Great car and wonderful story…however…I believe that 1966 was the first year for the 12 volt system in Volkswagon. My Dad bought a brand new 1966 which was passed around between myself and my sister for quite a few years. It was 12 volt…

    Kind regards,
    Rick Garner

  8. Rick Garner says:

    I stand corrected and apologize for my ignorance. If I was a betting man I would have lost the house! My only explanation is maybe my Dad bought it in late ’66 but it was truely a new ’67. He always told everyone it was a ’66. Wish I had it back…:)

    Kind regards,
    Rick Garner

  9. Matt Glover says:

    My wife’s dream car has always been an old bug. I too love the ’67 for lots of reasons but couldn’t ever find anything reasonable. This past fall I bought her a red ’68 with the crank sunroof and white interior. After picking it up and driving her down the road a ways, I got out and switched seats with her and video’d her rolling down the road with my cell phone. I’m a car guy and love the ’60s muscle cars, but no amount of horsepower can replace the smile that little bug put on her face that day. They are about the funnest car on the planet!

  10. BarrHen says:

    I love the old Beetles. My friends family had nothing but Beetles when I was growing up (they had a 1954 Ford but they did not drive that!!!). 1957 coupe, 1957 conv. and 1959 wagon camper! My buddy put 15″ cheater slicks on the back of his ’57 conv and it could not make it up the hill to my house … we would jump out and have to help push the car up the hill. He later bought the 68 with as you stated had the wider, new look, bumpers. The dad still has a 1950 Beetle that he bought in the mid 60′s He drove it home from Forida where he bought it and parked it. It is still sitting in the same spot. He hand turns the engine over every week to make sure it stays loose. He still has nothing but older VW’s .. Old GTi, Rabbit, Diesel Rabbit and the 50. You know a Porsche engine bolts right in! We used to change the VW engine to the Porsche engine on Sunday mornings and go racing and come home and bold the VW engine back in on a regular basis.

    Enjoy the car. I do not believe they are any more of a death trap then any other old car … besides they float and they tend to end back on the wheel when you roll the car … what other cars do that?

    • I love that everyone seems to have a unique story with these old cars!

    • Bob says:

      About the bumpers. Starting in 1968 the bettle had “one piece bumpers”. Prior to that they were called “bumpers with over-riders and bows”. Over-riders are the 2 vetical pieces and were designed to prevent bumper lock with another vehical. The bows are the round curved tubes. I have never seen a european version the over-riders and bows. BTW over-riders were used on many vehicals of the day, not just VWs.

  11. Richard Henninger says:

    Lucky for us all that we do look at our cars that purchase as a means of transportation not as potential deathtraps when we purchase them, otherwise we would not have these wonderful machines that bring us around all over the world. I’m now 73 years of age immigrated from Germany to Canada in 1965, my first car in Germany as a kid of 19 years was a 1959 Lloyd Alexander TS, (all meta body)with suicide doors engine and fuel tank in the same front compartment, what detrimental combination, not to mention the danger, but than who of us goes out to purchase these wonderful machines to anticipate an accident.?
    I was in love with this my first car, it was brand new but only lasted a total of 4 months when it was totaled in a rollover on icy foggy roads, during the night negotiating a 90* turn on New Years night 1959/60 lucky for me, I got only a few cuts and bruises, if someone would have been with me it could have been devastating to say the least.
    But my second car after this accident was a 1957 VW Split window, now too very collectible, it had no heat inside window needed to be scraped constantly from inside when it was cold, the air-cooled engine provided no heat at all, but it would never leave me stranded on any roadside, it was not easy to maneuver this car in curves in the black forest or in he Rhine-Valley, hot or cold temps it was reliable a blast to drive anywhere.
    I came to Canada purchase a 1958 Pontiac, nice car but first time we had –30c it would not go anywhere I purchase a 1960 VW Beetle for S50.00 it had no brakes according to is owner I added brake fluid bled the break drove the car for years without any problem, later bought a 17 window van to drive with it through Canada and the United States without a care in the world no problem with 2 kids in the car and no seatbelt, Today I drive a BMW 850i, but still looking and dreaming at my age longing for a VW beetle convertible from the 1960′s. I Iike your story Eric keep up the good work, you’ll make it, don’t give up your dream.
    Thanks for reading my story Richard

  12. Steve says:

    I owned and restored 3 volkswagens . A 67 bug , A 71 Ghia and A 74 super Beetle when I lived back East in Connecticut . Enjoyed attending car shows with my v.w.’s and no matter how far I traveled to these shows they have never let me down. Had to sell my cars when I retired and moved West to Las Vegas ,Nv. Would I own another classic V.W. ? You bet I would, in fact . I am currently looking for another, maybe a v.w. bus this time. Steve

  13. Mason Moss says:

    Hey Eric my name is mason and i too own a 67 bug… This is my first vw and it will definatly not be my last i love my car more than anything and enjoy seeing other who enjoy them just as much!

  14. John Rutledge says:

    Hi Eric -

    Odd question: how did a ’67 car end up with a JJX license plate? I bought a ’64 Beetle new in January ’64 (in the LA area), and the (black) plate was JKK 081. I would have thought that by ’67 the plates would have advanced well beyond the Jxx series. But maybe not …..

    Thanks.

  15. John,
    Thanks for the comment. The car first came from Atlanta, GA where I’m from. I had normal CA plates on it and really wanted to go back to the black gold. I purchased the JJX plates off eBay and had them restored. I know the numbers are sometimes correct to the period, but I didn’t care. I just wanted black plates. The DMV is a total nightmare dealing with the YOM program. I have an article about it on 1967beetle.com.

  16. al mignacca says:

    Wish I had seen this pic and story earlier. I just returned from San Fran after a 10 day stay. I have a 63 vert, excellent I am thinking od selling.

  17. Roger Ezell says:

    Eric,
    Thanks for your website. The beetles bring back a flood of memories. I purchased my first beetle a 1960 in 61 with 14k miles and drove it 3 yrs. in college, first yrs. of marriage, etc. Great little car but no power. One unbelievable trip was during college Christmas break my wife,friends and I packed our luggage on top drove from Mississippi to Florida and back again. My friend is 6’3″ 250, his wife was 5’10″ and 270, oversize son 3yrs. sat in the luggage compartment. Needless to say it was a nightmare. I never got to 4th gear the whole trip. We did make the trip with problems. What was really funny about the trip was when we stopped to fuel up and everyone started to get out of that little car. It was really crazy!! But a lot of fun. It was a car to remember, dating, moving, marriage, college, traveling. By-the-way I had to have the transfer, transmission rebuilt after that Christmas trip! Drove it another yr. and traded for a 64 beetle which was a disappointment!
    Also owned a 72 VW van which was the first yr. with the larger engine.
    Love this van! made many trips with friends and family. Memories ! I am now 73 and retired. Would love to have another beetle or van!!

  18. Roger,
    Thanks for sharing your story!

  19. hizurudin says:

    “D” AT THE BUMPER MEANS?

  20. hizurudin says:

    can u explain emblem “D” at the bumper means for what?

  21. url says:

    A big thank you for your post.Thanks Again. Want more

  22. Eric says:

    Thanks! We are working on more!

  23. Jim Ruhling says:

    Great looking Volkswagon with a great history.
    We bought our 78 Beetle Convertible thirty one years ago for my wife and still have it!
    A question: I’ve been looking for the license plate frame you have in a 1978 version. Where did you get it?
    Thanks and Best Wishes,
    Jim Ruhling

  24. Jim,
    Thanks! The plates were NOS and bought online. They are no longer made. You can sometimes find them on TheSamba. http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1415646. They are getting harder and harder to find.

  25. Jim Ruhling says:

    Thanks… I found one!

  26. click to read says:

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  27. Charles Dietzel says:

    THis is the rough draft of Sisar Creek Rising, an essay/remembrance of my 1960 VW Bug. I was 23 back when this occurred. I am 62 now.

    Many years ago, 1974 to be exact, I lived in a pocket canyon called Sisar, up Sisar Road. Of all things, Sisar Creek threaded its way down the canyon, cold and clear. I lived with a commune called Students of Life. We had a couple of tent houses, a rock goat barn, three travel trailers and a small single wide trailer. Oh, and a tent trailer. There was a garden in the upper flat above the main house, a sturdy thing of cut rock, with a wood burning stove. Boyd Dron, the owner, was traveling somewhere and somehow friends had found out, leased the property, collected some housing, and there we were.
    I lived in the travel trailer near the spring fed pool and the creek was a stone’s throw away.
    The drive home was always interesting. From wherever I had been, it was up Dennison Grade to Ojai’s upper valley, and then west up Sisar Canyon Road. A short stretch of the road was paved but by the time you got near the first gate, it was dirt and rock. The gate was maintained by the USFS and we had our own key and they had theirs. So I had to stop, unlock and open the gate, drive in, stop and lock up.
    One evening, likely February when the rains come to southern California, I drove home, anticipating that the three creek crossings could be up. The first crossing was broad and flat and shallow. I stopped my VW Bug and stepped on the high beam button, then engaged the parking brake. I got out and looked and the water, pouring over upstream boulders. I stood there a minute, calculating. The creek looked slightly wider than usual, which meant it was deeper. So I got back into Bug, disengaged the brake and eased into first. Clutch out, we rolled down the shallow incline and into the water. There were a few larger rocks that I felt through the tires as we bounced over them and the headlights dipped underwater momentarily. I was across in about 10 seconds and rolling up the dirt road to the next crossing. There was standing water in a couple places but since the road was either up or down for most of its length, water tended not to puddle.
    I was dressed as a usually did in those days…ankle high leather work boots, jeans, flannel shirt, jacket.
    The next crossing was narrower. Was then, still is. With very large boulders funneling the water into a deeper pool. Again I stopped and got out. Looked at the water, listened to it rush and tumble. Felt the rain against my face. I probably thought something like, what the heck. Let’s go. And go I did.
    The crossing was no more than 15 feet across, with a sharp descent going in and sharp ascent coming out. I rolled in in first gear, easy on the gas, lurched upward as the right front tire found a larger rock and came to a dead stop. Tried reversing, then forward again. And again. I. was. Stuck.
    Thinking of the water above the tailpipes, I pulled the manual choke out half an inch to raise the rpms and avoid water getting into the exhaust system. Grabbed a chrome flashlight from the glove box and stepped out into the creek.
    The water was cold, shockingly cold. I waded around the back of the car and felt around under the passenger side. Yep, a rock the size of a bread box had flipped up and was firmly wedged against the under pan. It’s funny to think back on this. I was never alarmed or scared. I didn’t curse or fume. I just worked.
    I popped the trunk open and grabbed the jack and handle and waded back around to the side. I had to hold the light with one hand, while the other slipped the jack into the jack slot behind the front wheel. I worked the handle up and down until the jack was fully extended. No lift. I felt underneath and realized that the jack wouldn’t reach the creek bed, short by several inches. Fumbling around upstream, I found another rock, about the size of an unabridged dictionary and relatively flat. I wrestled the rock into place and extended the jack again. Success. The car started lifting and I reached under and pulled out the offending boulder that had trapped me and Bug. I guess I needed more hands, for as I fumbled with jack and rock and flashlight in the chilly water, I dropped the light and watched it tumble under the car, roll down stream and slip into a deep pool where the light kept glowing. There was no retrieving it. Pulled the jack out, put the tools away, dropped the hood and felt the latch engage. I got back into Bug, slammed the door, first gear, clutch out and rolled up and out of the crossing.
    I was wet soaked and saturated from my boots to my shoulders. And cold. Thoroughly chilled. Water sluiced off me and onto the vinyl seat and down to the rubber floor mats. We ground up the short grade, rounded a bend and came to a dead stop. The community stake bed truck was parked up against a small landslide that blocked the road. There was nothing to be done. I got my old Boy Scout canvas pack from the back seat, locked the car and trudged up the road. My trailer was about another mile or so, up the dirt road, no flashlight, sloshing water, chilled to the bone and two more crossings.
    The third crossing was like the second, narrow, closed in by boulders. I waded across water above my knees, and followed the road as it switched back one turn up the canyon. I trudged up past Larry’s tent house, then Michaels. No lights. They may have opted to stay somewhere in town that night. There was a fourth crossing was wider and shallower and once across it the trailer was only 50 yards away.
    I let my cat in, he was mostly dry, sheltered under the trailer. Slammed the door shut, shivered. Inside, I lit the burners on my two ring gas cooker and began to struggle out of the wet clothes. Gandalf jumped up on my desk that spanned the width of the trailer and watched. Boots, socks, jeans, underwear, jacket, flannel shirt, t shirt. All soaked. I walked the 10 feet to the “bedroom” and pulled out clean dry clothes, took a blanket off the cot and wrapped myself in it. Back in the kitchen/desk area, I put water on for tea. By now the trailer was warmed. Gandalf had curled up on the desk, still watching.
    At the time, I thought my self lucky. I tend now to think I had divine assistance. If the car had stalled at any time, the engine would have flooded and that would have been the end of that. If I’d not put my hand on the right rock the first time, the extrication could have taken much longer. If I’d dropped the jack or the handle. If we’d not had a partial moon that night. If. If.

    I drove the bug from my Junior year in high school and through the next 5 years. small side bar….I once drove 8 people home in it, in a driving rainstorm! I sold that Bug, my very first car, and got a 1967 Bug. a few years later I sold that one, was without wheels for several months and then bought a very roughly wornout, fire engine red Ghia. I’ve occasionally dreamed of buying an old Bug just for fun, but I’ve always found a more needy place to spend my money.

    Great web site! Great memories!

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