JUNE 10, 2014: AIR COOLNESS–WHY SHOULD ANY CAR GUY CONSIDER AN ORIGINAL VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE?

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What once was common on the road is now rare in 2014.

 

Millions of Volkswagen Beetles were built over the decades and served honorably as a reliable little import from Germany.

 

The Beetle was often the second car in the family pecking order because it was more suitable for short trips than cross-country excursions.

 

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The Beetle was small when domestic cars were giants by comparison; even the compact cars from Detroit like the Falcon, Nova and Valiant were bigger than the VW.

 

The Beetle was a little under-powered for highway use, but it was great for city use and delivered great mileage in an era when gas prices were much lower-yet still factored into the family budget. However, a one-car family could still get by in a Beetle if they had patience on long trips.

 

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Today an original Beetle will command a lot of attention at car shows because they carry a lot of fond memories for older people who remember their heyday, while little kids still like their lovable cartoon character-like charm.

 

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There are many positives to consider when it comes to VW Beetles as a collector vehicle choice. They have that instant conversation piece allure with people who may have their own memories of the little German icon.

 

They are still cheap on gas in an era when gas prices are a big factor in the economics behind vintage vehicle ownership. You still won’t get there in a hurry with a stock-engine VW Beetle, but you will have more disposable cash to spend when you get there because the car sips fuel.

 

A Beetle will have plenty of trunk space right in front of the windshield where the engine is typically found in most cars. Also consider that you do not have to worry about radiator leaks and water pump failure in an air-cooled car.

 

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A Beetle is a very simple car and built a reputation as a dependable vehicle over the long haul. However, even complete engine failure is less complicated because a VW engine can be replaced in a matter of hours by the average car hobbyist.

 

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Essentially the Beetle engine is held in place by four nuts and will slide right out once you disconnect the minimal electrical, fuel and linkage components found in the basic engineering behind the VW Bug.

 

They don’t blow up often, but it is a quick fix when the engines do expire and the replacement cost is a reasonable amount in today’s market.

 

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The early VW engines rev high and produce a modest low 30 to low 40 horsepower in stock form, so you can really put the pedal to the metal when you drive a Beetle.

 

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Realistically, you will probably have to put the gas pedal through the floor just to get up to near the legal speed limit on the highway. But you do get to enjoy the sheer joy of keeping it floored without the risk of jail time for excessive speed.

 

Need one final reason to own a vintage Bug? They are reputed to float on water should you take a wrong turn near a lake, river or ocean.

 

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However, we would discourage any attempt to test this theory in a classic Beetle because rust is a game-changer in every old ride-the kind that would turn an old Beetle into a new submarine.

 

Jim Sutherland

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