Kathleen Brooks is still driving the VW Beetle she bought way back in 1966.

In the 51 years that have elapsed, she has managed to rack up more than 560,000km, enough to circle the Earth 14 times.

Nicknamed Annie, Kathleen, now 73, still drives the car to work.

She works with breast-cancer patients and survivors to provide comfort and cosmetic care during treatment and recovery.

A three-time breast cancer survivor herself, Kathleen said the Beetle has been a constant conversation starter with Beetle fans and owners, but also “always there for me.”

“I’ve said many times she and I are so much alike because she’s old, she’s faded, she’s dinged, she’s dented, she’s rusted, but you know what? She keeps running,” she said with a laugh.

“And as long as I take as good care of her as I can, she’s going to continue to run.”

After catching the attention of the mothership, Volkswagen offered to restore Annie at the North American home of the Beetle at the Puebla, Mexico, factory.

Over the past 11 months, a team of some 60 Volkswagen employees and trainees reworked Annie back to factory-quality specs, with several custom touches that celebrate Kathleen’s dedication.

This week, Kathleen and Annie were reunited, and Kathleen met key members of the Volkswagen team that led the restoration.

“We often hear stories of dedicated Volkswagen owners, but there was something special about Kathleen and Annie that we felt we needed to honor,” Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Volkswagen of America, Derrick Hatami, said.

“The original Beetle launched our business in the United States. This isn’t just a Beetle, it’s a member of her family, and after all the time our employees have spent with this special vehicle, we feel Annie is a part of our family as well.”

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.