The Secret to Finding a Cheap Classic VW Beetle
My all-time favorite car has to be the old style Volkswagen Beetle. What is not to love about these little cars. I think my love affair started with this car when my mother took us to see Herbie, The Love Bug at the drive in. I was hooked.
For me, it's their simplicity that makes them so special, unlike cars of today where you need a degree in rocket science just to use the radio. I have owned several older style Beetles, both convertibles and hardtops. Each had its own quirkiness but I loved each one.
If you're thinking of purchasing a classic Beetle, there are certain things you need to look for to ensure you don't pay for a pile of rust. Forearmed is forewarned they say, and if you're wanting to find a good car for the right money, then it is necessary to know where to look and where you might find the best value for your money.
Rust on Classic VW Beetles
There are usual places where rust will start. These will be on the runners, bottoms of door seals and along the edge of the hood, but these are just the areas that you can see. Find out where to look for rust on your Beetle.
If you still aren't certain you know what to look for when buying a classic VW, then you should take a reliable mechanic with you. If the body is suspect, you will also need a to take a VW restorer with you. Be prepared to pay for their time. If they advise you to walk away from your find, heed their advice. In the end, the car would have cost you too much money to restore.
One of the advantages of a Beetle engine, is they are basic and simple to repair or relatively inexpensive to replace. This cost would have to be taken into consideration before making an offer on the car.
It is also worth noting here if you're buying the Beetle to resell, the original engine makes the car more valuable.
VW Beetles on eBay
EBay is a great place to look but it is a good idea to narrow your search unless you plan to drive a long way. Remember if you buy a non-runner, you will need to hire a trailer or have it towed back.
EBay requests you put your zip code in your search details. This will then be used to inform you how many miles away the car is from your area. Most but not all, will have a 'buy it now' price or a 'reserve'. As always with eBay, the items for sale are constantly changing. It is a good idea if you see something you like, place a bid or at least verify the finish date of the auction. Cars are often withdrawn earlier, because they will have had someone click, 'Buy it Now.' and are then removed from the listings.
VW Beetles From California
Often you'll see a car that is promoting itself as a car from California or from Arizona, where the climate is dry with low humidity. In both of these states you will get solid, normally rust free cars. It's still a good idea to check as mentioned before. It could be from the coastal areas and you could get a problem with salt.
The salt in the air near coastal regions exasperates the rust on cars. Also if the car is from an area where salt is put onto the roads in winter during icy conditions, this is something to consider. These will all lead to rust.
Other Places to Look for VW Beetles
Although eBay is a great place to look, it isn't the only place. You can also search for a classic VW Beetle in the classified ads of the newspaper. This is another possibility. If you visit car shows you might think that this is a good place to buy. Yet again, you could buy there but it still may not be the best place to look unless you want to pay more than its worth.
Below, I will tell you the secret about how to find a great car, at a great price. With patience and the gift of the gab, you will discover how you can find your perfect car or make some money buying and selling them.
The Easy Way to Buy a VW Beetle
If you want to truly find a great deal, get in your car and go for a drive.
Saturday or Sundays are the best days to do this. This is when people are normally at home, doing chores and have their garage doors open.
You will be able to see if they have a classic VW Beetle tucked away in there. It may be undercover so you need to develop a keen eye for recognizing the shape under a car cover.
If you see one, stop and strike up a conversation with the person who is in the yard or near the garage. If this was a car they bought to 'do up' it could have been sitting there for years. It is a good idea to ensure his wife comes out and joins into the conversation. Why, you might ask?
Once the wife realizes that she can once again have space in the garage, the seed will have been planted. Ok, I know this sounds a devious way to buy a car, but we women like garage space. Men, and I am generalizing here, like to start projects, like wood-working, car restoration, or boat repair. Normally these end up in the garage and the poor wife has to stand in the driving rain, or snow getting into her car. She will coerce, cajole and yes even nag, her husband that your offer is a sensible one. She will tell him all the positive things they could buy with what you will pay for this piece of unused metal that is currently sitting in her parking spot in the garage.
Your buying team has increased by another very persuasive saleswoman. Always suggest that the better half be present if there is the slightest inkling that the car can be purchased.
If he doesn't want to sell, ask if he knows someone else who has another VW Beetle like his. Often you will find that people who have Beetles, may know someone else. This is of course, just a ploy, to get him to understand that you are ready to buy and he shouldn't miss this opportunity to sell.
How often does the golden goose, that's you, arrive on the front lawn wanting to buy something that has been forgotten about for quite some time?
Ask the owner what he thinks his car is worth. He will say, something like, "I saw one at a VW car show and they were asking $25,000!"
"Really!", you say "Was that in the same condition as yours?"
He will admit that the other was in better condition.
"What do you think it will cost to do it up to that standard?" you question him, turning the knife even more.
At this point, the man will look at the ground and kick a nonexistent stone. He knows his wife will not let him spend another cent on that car. He may say, "Yeah but this is a classic, they don't make them like this any longer"
This is the man grasping at straws and not wanting to admit defeat.
His wife will be standing next to him, her arms folded tightly across her chest while she glares at him for not immediately accepting your offer.
He has already dug his grave and his wife has already mentally spent the money. Leave your phone number, with the wife if possible, and make your exit. Your tag team partner, his wife, will start where you left off.
Original or Customized
Now the question is do you want to keep it original or do you want to jazz it up? This car leads itself to customization. Take a look below at some of these VW's and you will see just how special they can be.
Customization Gone Mad
Some of these customized cars are fun, others are functional, and some are just plain wacky. Which is your favorite?
Do you name your cars?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
I've been wanting a 'little classic' like a square back, or a notch. I've never owned a German car and I plan to use it as a daily driver. I also live in Texas, where the actual speed limit is as high as 85mph! What I need to know is can a classic V dub, cruise at that speed, or will I need a custom engine to get all 300 lbs of me up to 85mph?
I don't believe that a classic VW is right for your needs. They are not fast and by today's standard's not reliable. Because of your weight, if you want a classic German car, I would suggest a Mercedes. You will have a much more comfortable ride. With any classic car though, daily driving may take its toll on the car. This is why people often only drive them on sunny, dry days on the weekend.
Although the classics are beautiful to look at, the motor industry has improved by leaps and bounds making safer, more comfortable, and more reliable cars.Helpful 13
What year is a Volkswagen beetle considered a classic?
The term is used loosely but it refers to the older style Beetle. The new VW Beetle came out in 1997.Helpful 12
I'm looking to buy a cheap, rusty, classic VW Beetle. Actually I only need the front or rear end. I want to use it as yard decor in my back yard. Where should I look to find such yard art?
My suggestion would be a scrap yard, or perhaps look for one that has been sitting and rotting in someone's field. They will probably be glad to have you take it away.Helpful 8
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© 2012 Mary Wickison