New Meaning to Sign and Drive: Teen Car Enthusiast Raises Funds Through Autographs to Restore a 1973 Volkswagen Bug for 2014 Senior Project


Chicago, IL -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/10/2014 -- Cole Ruscitti, 17, believes that every Volkswagen Beetle has a story. Ruscitti, a senior at The Chicago Waldorf School – as part of the schools graduation requirements that all seniors must write, create, and present an original project – has raised nearly $4,000 to modify, rebuild, and tell the story of his own 1973 VW Beetle as a metaphor for his Waldorf education.

“I will demonstrate the core values of my 12-year Waldorf School education by creating a senior project that includes using my imagination to design the Bug modifications, my mind to fuel the process, my hands to build the car, and my heart to add beauty and a sense of community to my overall efforts,” explains Ruscitti.

For the academic research component, Ruscitti delved into American car culture and this research has brought him to understand how cars have reflected the way American society throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries thinks and lives.

“He could identify a Corvette by pointing before he could talk. His first word was car,” remembers Ruscitti’s mother, Katybeth Jensen-Ruscitti. “When he was just ten-years-old, he started working odd jobs and saving all his birthday money for the day when he would be able to buy his first car. His insatiable desire to learn everything he could about cars soon made him the go-to person for adult friends that were purchasing a car; they would add to his car fund in exchange for his car recommendations and accompanying them as they shopped for cars. His skill for matching the right car to the right person is well known among friends, and friends-of-friends.”

Ruscitti’s father loved to work with his hands and instilled in Cole the value of learning to do things oneself. While he never rebuilt a car, he fueled Cole’s enthusiasm by participating in matchbox car races, and woodworking together from the time Cole could hold a hammer. When Cole’s father died suddenly in June 2009, continuing to work with his hands helped Cole work through his grief. Cole plans to write more about coping with grief through working with one’s hands in the later part of 2014.

Though Cole’s first car – one he purchased himself, shortly after his sixteenth birthday – was a 2003 Audi A4 Quattro 3.0, he purchased it from a dealership that was showcasing a Vintage Volkswagen Bug. Intrigued, he began to research the People’s Car. Two years later, he decided to buy and rebuild a Volkswagen Bug and research how cars have impacted American Culture for his Waldorf Senior Project. Once again, he saved his money and worked odd carpentry jobs to raise the funds to buy the Bug. Cole let his blog readers name the car and the Bug is now affectionately known as June.

Shortly into the rebuilding process, Ruscitti realized the undertaking was going to cost a lot more than he originally planned. However, committed to learning as much as he could and not giving up, Cole set up a blog, solicited sponsorships, and created and sold original artwork of the Bug to fund the project.

Now he needs 1,000 signatures. On the Bug.

“Starting February 1 and continuing for the next three weeks, I will be asking family members, friends, Bug enthusiasts and supporters of education to autograph my Volkswagen Bug for a $1.00 donation,” explains Ruscitti. “Every dollar raised—and you can feel free to kick in more than one—will go toward putting the final touches on the fabulous, fun, irresistible, bless-her-heart June Bug.”

Ruscitti will present completed June Bug and his research on American Car Culture on March 7, 2014 at the Chicago Waldorf School located at 1300 W. Loyola Ave, Chicago, IL 60626.

To sign the Bug, visit: