Selling your classic car? It's FREE to list your car on Honest John Classics | No thanks

Classic VW Beetle


For once reason or another, my MG Midget and myself have parted company. I'm missing having something in the garage, so am thinking of going for another classic car that is easy to maintain. My initial thoughts are a VW Beetle. It would have to be pre 1973 (not only for RFL, but also I don't like the later models), and ideally the 1300.

I've had a look around and there are all sorts about. Cal-look, original, baja etc etc. I'm quite attracted the Baja, must be the boy racer in me!

I know the basics that I should be looking out for with the Beetle - rot. Heater channels, floorpan etc etc.

Does anyone have any pearls of wisdom that they'd like to share with me on VeeDub ownershop?




AR-CoolC    on 16 July 2004

Does anyone have any pearls of wisdom that they'd like to share with me on VeeDub ownershop?


Do it! I have had three in my time and I just wish I still had the time and money to own one now.

As youv'e mentioned above the bottom six inches of the car all round is the main area to loook at. Rot there is time consuming and difficult to sort out.
All parts are avilable for the beetle at very good prices, although you could end up like I did where the guy's at German and Swedish (now German Swedish and French)where like best friends I was in there so much.

I do have to say though the Baja is good looking but only when done very well, there are a lot of messy one's out there. Stick to either a Cal look or a Resto Cal ( my favorites ).

Wee Willie Winkie    on 16 July 2004

Cheers for that.

Looking at e-bay has turned up this Baja:

Hmmm. Could be worth a look!

AR-CoolC    on 16 July 2004

Looks nice, but need the finishing details, engine dress up kit, nice chrome exhaust, side steps (in Stainless ). And the interior needs a good sort out, full interior dress up kit, new seats (preferably buckets).

Oh by the way, I still have in my shed a Scat T shifter and a Momo steerig wheel with boss that would look very nice on that.

Take a look at.

But hide your credit card first.

Wee Willie Winkie    on 16 July 2004

Blimey - some flaming good stuff on there! I'd have to hide my credit card as you said to save it from taking a flaming big pounding.

Thanks for your advice on the Baja.

Wee Willie Winkie    on 29 July 2004

Hi AR-CoolC,

I've just re-read your post and noticed the bit about the Scat T shifter.

Are you interested in selling?



AR-CoolC    on 30 July 2004

I am yes

I dusted them down last night to take some pictures to put it on E-bay along with the Momo Champion steering wheel.

Reasliticly I'll take anything like a sensible offer.

I'm sure one of the friendy moderators will supply you with my direct e-mail and I'll send over the pictures.


Wee Willie Winkie    on 30 July 2004

I've requested my e-mail address to be sent to you,

Many thanks.


No Do$h    on 31 July 2004

Apologies chaps, I only just spotted the mail from DieselBoy. I've sent it on to AR-CoolC just now.



Garethj    on 16 July 2004

Rust is the number one enemy, look for it all over the heater channels especially at the front and rear ends (lift the back seat up to check at the rear). The floorpans can rust through too, so that's your next port of call. All these parts can be repaired, but it's better to buy a good one in the first place as bodywork can be expensive in labour costs. Heater channels also join to the door hinge posts, so check there too. Lift up the carpets and mats. Later Beetles can suffer from rust around the roof gutters too.

Check for accident damage, ripples around the bumper hangers front and rear and alignment of the boot and bonnet. The doors should shut well and all the chrome should line up perfectly, otherwise it's been off for some reason.

Check the compression on the engine, 100psi and all 4 cylinders within 5 psi of each other is what you want to see. With the engine not running, pull and push on the crank pulley to check for endfloat. About 0.2mm is right, but if it feels bad the engine will need work. The engine bay should be clean as clean cooling air is important. Check for all the cooling tinware in place and all the rubber seals (including the ones around the spark plugs)

Check for smooth changes into all the gears and the brakes should pull the car up straight with no juddering.

All parts are available, but if you want to spend your time driving and not fixing there's a lot of hunting to find a good one.

The best book to read is John Muir's:

Good luck!


AlanGowdy    on 16 July 2004

I wish I still had my GT Beetle - the first brand new car I ever owned.

1972 (or was it '73?) limited edition with 1600cc engine, close-ratio gearbox, orange-yellow paint (well I liked it and they called it Lemon... never mind), tan cloth upholstery.

I must stop before I get too emotional.

malteser    on 17 July 2004

Yes, I know that umpity million of these things were made - it proves that you can fool most of the people most of the time!
Looks like a shed, drives like a pig, has the interior space of a chicken coop and is a truly nasty piece of farmyard junk!
Roger. (in Spain).

No Do$h    on 17 July 2004

Very helpful Roger.

Wee Willie Winkie    on 17 July 2004

Yes, very helpful.

Who do I believe? Roger, or the x million people who have owned one since the 1940s? Tricky one!

Thank you, everyone else, for your advice.

AlanGowdy    on 17 July 2004

Roger.... looks like a shed? Sheds are made up of flat panels arranged at right angles to each other. You'd search long and hard to find a flat body panel anywhere on a Beetle. Odd analogy to use... or were you merely wishing to be inflammatory?

malteser    on 17 July 2004

Well, as i am an ex motor trader the word "shed" means a nasty old heap of a car!
The VW myth lives on it seems!
Roger. (in Spain).

malteser    on 17 July 2004

It must, in fairness, be said that I was only referring to the "Beetle" myth.
I currently drive a VW group product with a Skoda badge on it and it is an excellent car.
Roger. (in Spain).

AlanGowdy    on 19 July 2004

The problem is of course that by the 1970s it could not stand comparison with contemporary machines - a victim of its own longevity. It should really be compared with 1950s cars - and most of them would qualify as 'sheds' too in that sense. At least the Beetle had 1970s-style quality and dependability in the 1950s.

lezebre    on 17 July 2004

Another advantage of the very early seventies ones - check the cut-off date - or earlier, apart from the free tax is that they're exempt from having to achieve a fixed emissions percentage, which I've heard can be a bit of an annual headache. Those ornate chrome bumpers are nice too.

Wee Willie Winkie    on 19 July 2004

Well, I've gone and done it. Looked at a few over the weekend, and plumped for a 1974 Baja.

Thanks for the advice everyone.

AR-CoolC    on 19 July 2004

Any pictures?

Wee Willie Winkie    on 19 July 2004

It's the very same Baja that I posted the link to. Checked it out and everything seems a-ok. The description is right - there has been some welding but it's been done well and everything is in order.

Just sorted out my insurance - I'm ready to rock and roll!

3500S    on 20 July 2004

To qualify for exemption from emissions checks I think is 1976 although my recollection is very hazy. Must be the petrol fumes having driven my '69 P6B to work today.

Enjoy the Beetle, I saw a beautiful dark blue '67 in the way in this morning, sounded lovely :)

Wee Willie Winkie    on 22 July 2004

Well, it's now sat in my garage. One wide wheel arched, jacked up suspension Baja Bug. Drove from Nottingham to Southport today with no problems!

Now then, the guy I bought it off advised me to regularly check the oil. He mentioned the particular type required, but I've forgotten what he said!

I know this is strictly technical, but does anyone know the type I need?



Garethj    on 23 July 2004

Beetles used to run a monograde 30W, but lots of people use a cheap multigrade like 10W-40W. It's a bit like asking what kind of beer you prefer!

Do an oil change and VERY IMPORTANTLY do a valve adjustment, then you'll know what kind of oil went in.

For the moment, you could always phone the vendor and ask him?


Wee Willie Winkie    on 26 July 2004

Excellent - ta.

THe Growler    on 31 July 2004

Just watch the temptation to drive drive flat out. They feel like they can take it all day, and then they drop a valve............................

THe Growler    on 1 August 2004

>>>>>>Does anyone have any pearls of wisdom that they'd like to share with me on VeeDub ownershop?


They give the impression they can go all day on full throttle. Till they drop a valve on the M1, as did my '66. Twice.

One consoling thought is you can get the engine out in about 30 mins and spend long and interesting evenings reconnecting and replacing all the broken bits.

I believe it was the British Army who got these monstrosities reproduced after WW2 and having owned one it makes you wonder who won.

Garethj    on 4 August 2004

Growler's advice on dropping a valve is a good point, when you do a valve adjustment (every 3000 miles), make a note of the clearance you get on every valve then you see if one is beginning to stretch.

An oil temperature gauge is a good investment too, 80-105 C is ok, up to 115 C briefly if the weather is warm and you're thrashing it, but don't let it go over that.


footy_72    on 4 August 2004

go to and use the forums there for anything you need to know about aircooled veedub ownership.

welcome to the club!!

Add a comment


Compare classic car insurance quotes and buy online. A friendly service offering access to a range of policies and benefits.

Get a quote