Age and gravity are taking a toll on a unique Lexington landmark.
Now a man who grew up near the six-legged Volkswagen north of town is leading the effort to restore it to iconic status.
Tim Short lives and works in Norman. He recently bought acreage on which to build a home at Lexington.
But first he wants things set right for the VW Beetle that advertised what was purportedly the “World’s Largest Stock of VW Parts.”
Leroy and Geneva “Tootsie” Cloud Wilson started Wilson’s Volkswagens.
The business didn’t sell new cars or even gently used cars. It specialized in Volkswagen salvage and in its heyday extracted still usable parts from a reported 2,500 VWs of all models on the 10-acre property.
Wilson got the idea to elevate a VW Beetle on a half-dozen legs – the correct number for a bug – in the early 1980s.
Maybe it was the Beetle’s black paint job or the shape and angle of those legs that gave the Beetle an arachnid appearance.
The semblance of a crouching spider – albeit one missing two legs – increased year after year when one of the legs began sinking into the rain saturated ground.
Short thinks the misidentity may have started when locals began calling the adjacent River City Speedway the Black Widow Speedway.
Whatever source you favor for the misnomer, Short insists Wilson never intended the car to be a spider.
Short wants to reverse that sinking and install concrete pads to keep the Beetle’s legs on level ground.
More importantly, though, he wants a monument and a photo display of the salvage yard and racetrack to chronicle the Beetle’s history.
A small parking lot would allow the curious a place to pull off U.S. 77 for a closer look and to take their own pictures.
“It is an iconic landmark,” he said.
Like their business, the Wilsons have been gone several years. Leroy Wilson died in 2000 and Geneva followed in 2005.
Short has put his idea on Facebook, calling it Save the Spider.
If it all comes together, he’d like to see the landmark restored in time for ‘89er Day next April.
That leaves roughly four months to finalize the plans and get commitments for men and materiel. The actual work could be started in February and finished in March.
The project has drawn the interest of “probably 30” friends, Short said, adding he has reached out to the landowner.