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914Driver
914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/30/21 10:00 a.m.

Even when SWMBO and I were dating 40 some years ago, she gushed over VW Beetle convertibles, blue.  "If we ever hit the Lottery ...."  I've decided to scratch that itch for her and buy one.  

Projects start at ~$2k and go to $8, hard tops are plentiful and rag tops are usually more expensive.  I see very nice ones for $13 - $25,000  except for this one in Long Island.  Light blue, not the dark blue she likes but it'll be OK.

I know VW engines and absolutely inspect the floor pan, but what else?  What's up with Mexican engines?  I know nothing about them or the Mexican cars.  This ine is $11,000 and close enough I can actually inspect it before buying.

The 914 will probably go to free up some garage space.

matthewmcl (Forum Supporter)
matthewmcl (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
7/30/21 10:26 a.m.

The engine question is easy, just swap with the 914 before selling! Everyone wants to build their own performance motor, right?

Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/30/21 10:41 a.m.

I always buy the bodywork and chassis, sort of ignoring the mechanicals.   The mechanicals are so simple that I don't sweat them.  (That said by a guy that has built 100s of VW engines)  I can't remember ever having one with a purely stock engine.  wink

I wouldn't sweat too much the Mexican parts.

Verts usually rust quickest at rear of rear quarter panel where it meets the leading edge of the rear fender.  That would be where the bondo would be.

JThw8
JThw8 UltimaDork
7/30/21 10:45 a.m.

You know already, rust, rust and rust.  That is the big issue.  Especially on the 'verts where the water can collect behind the rear seat and rot out the "firewall"

Its a super not a standard which is probably why the price is a bit lower.  They are not as well liked in the VW community but they actually can be a better vehicle having a macpherson strut front end on them.   On that point make sure your test drive includes some highway.  If memory serves they can get something akin to the death wobble that a jeep gets if things are not right in that front end.

At this point the Mex/Brazil/German argument on engines and parts is almost not worth having.  As much as I hate to say it most of the aftermarket parts are pretty poor quality but they work.   And the really good ones are MUCH more expensive, so choose your poison.  I've used all varieties and the only things that have really let me down are the chineese imports but that's most of the market now so you roll the dice.  Some of the parts have been great, others fail almost immediately.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
7/30/21 11:01 a.m.

If you are looking at convertibles, I have heard that the tops on Bugs are especially hard to replace.  Many layers, meant to be provide insulation.

Bug prices and parts prices are not as cheap as they used to be, but everything still appears to be available.

buzzboy
buzzboy Dork
7/30/21 11:01 a.m.

Being a super check out the MacStrut mounts. They can get weak and fatiqued over time on those.

IIRC all Mexican 1600s are AS41 blocks, but I could be wrong. Been out of ACVW for 10 years at this point. I don't think there's really anything different about a carbureted Mexican engine though.

barefootskater (Shaun)
barefootskater (Shaun) PowerDork
7/30/21 11:22 a.m.

Everything I've read suggests the Mexican parts are just fine. As noted above, buy the bodywork and not the engine. Absolutely everything is available and usually very cheap. 
 

Ive heard, though have no experience, that the convertible cars had issues with running hot. The engines draw air from the top and blow it out the bottom. That's why as the years went on there were more vents at the top of the deck lid. Supposedly having the convertible top down greatly reduced the airflow to those vents. There are a number of ways to help these stay cool, and I don't know the climate where you are, but it's something to be aware of. 

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
7/30/21 12:01 p.m.
buzzboy said:

Being a super check out the MacStrut mounts. They can get weak and fatiqued over time on those.

Not to mention rust. 

Oh, yeah.  Be sure to check for rust.

I enjoyed driving my Super, but I don't particularly miss it either.  At least I only paid $600 for mine.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/30/21 12:27 p.m.

Did anyone think to mention that he should look for rust?

I had always heard about people telling funny stories about how they could have a 1600 out of the car, rebuilt, and back in the car in 3 hours and I was like "bullE36 M3."

I built one for someone once, and I now believe it.  Took me a weekend because I spent most of my time with my head buried in the book, but they're so simple.  Which is good, because they sometimes need it every 30k.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
7/30/21 12:51 p.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

A good friend of mine back in the day would seemingly always have an ACVW engine in some stage of assembly in his living room.  He could pull an engine by himself by lowering it to the ground, then grabbing the rear bumper and walking the car forward over the engine.

parker
parker Reader
7/30/21 1:46 p.m.
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) said:

Did anyone think to mention that he should look for rust?

I had always heard about people telling funny stories about how they could have a 1600 out of the car, rebuilt, and back in the car in 3 hours and I was like "bullE36 M3."

I built one for someone once, and I now believe it.  Took me a weekend because I spent most of my time with my head buried in the book, but they're so simple.  Which is good, because they sometimes need it every 30k.

Mine needed something every 0.3k.  I can't believe that air cooled beetles are 20K cars!  An 85 MR2 should be worth $100k if Beetles are 20.

 

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia SuperDork
7/30/21 3:07 p.m.

I cut up a 1979 Cabrio a few months ago that was too rusty and missing too many parts , 

Shiny paint is scary !  Shiny paint and undercoating is scary X 3

 See if the seller has photos before it was painted . 

doing the top right is $2000 and up  , it has 3 layers , outside canvas , "horsehair" insulation and headliner.

Look at some of the European YouTube restorations to get an idea where the rust is......

Bring a magnet

 

914Driver
914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/30/21 3:12 p.m.
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) said:

I had always heard about people telling funny stories about how they could have a 1600 out of the car, rebuilt, and back in the car in 3 hours and I was like "bullE36 M3."

Rust?  You know I have a 914, right?

When I was a kid, a local shop in St. Pete would pull your engine and give you a loaner, wasn't pretty or hi-po but you don't lose your car for a week so you can still go to work, get groceries etc.  Six  bolts.

BarryNorman
BarryNorman Reader
7/30/21 6:02 p.m.

My 2c's

Make sure the metal is metal. (Magnet) Seeing artfully crafted bondo covering a poorly fixed floor pan in RetroPowers Land cruiser build makes one think twice. And cracks in the pan around suspension mounts. Enjoy.

914Driver
914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/31/21 9:04 a.m.

Thanks for the info guys, but I think I will hold off until the 911sc is resolved.  If I end up owning that, the bug and 914 would go down the road anyway.  Too bad, I think Trish would use a Bug more than she does the 914.

ZOO (Forum Supporter)
ZOO (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/31/21 9:55 a.m.

I'm the "wrong" age for Beetles in Canada.  By the time I was 16 in 1987 they seemed to have all but disappearred and as a result I've never driven one, despite having passengered in one many times.  I've always wondered what they were like to drive, apart from slow . . .

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
7/31/21 10:21 a.m.
ZOO (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm the "wrong" age for Beetles in Canada.  By the time I was 16 in 1987 they seemed to have all but disappearred and as a result I've never driven one, despite having passengered in one many times.  I've always wondered what they were like to drive, apart from slow . . .

They are slow, but super easy to drive.  The low gearing and the generally need to go full throttle all the time adds to the fun!  Super easy to get in and out of also.  Great visibility.... but no AC... probably what killed them off for most.

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
7/31/21 11:27 a.m.
ZOO (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm the "wrong" age for Beetles in Canada.  By the time I was 16 in 1987 they seemed to have all but disappearred and as a result I've never driven one, despite having passengered in one many times.  I've always wondered what they were like to drive, apart from slow . . .

Growing up in the 1970s I always looked down my nose at them as a "hippie car". Then, about 20 years later I was in Mexico and rented one that was almost new - and really enjoyed it. Crap power, but OK handling, decent comfort, and charm for miles. I'd definitely consider one as a toy, or even commuter to an extent 

parker
parker Reader
7/31/21 12:00 p.m.

Charm is the best description.  I've owned three.  Slow as hell, needed constant attention, but I always really enjoyed driving them.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
7/31/21 5:08 p.m.
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) said:

Did anyone think to mention that he should look for rust?

I had always heard about people telling funny stories about how they could have a 1600 out of the car, rebuilt, and back in the car in 3 hours and I was like "bullE36 M3."

I built one for someone once, and I now believe it.  Took me a weekend because I spent most of my time with my head buried in the book, but they're so simple.  Which is good, because they sometimes need it every 30k.

Back in the day, VW dealerships had so many engines requiring major service like valve guide replacement, and engine swapping was so quick, that they had loaner engines.  They'd swap the engine in your car, you'd get your car back, and then you'd return when your engine's repairs were completed.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
7/31/21 5:09 p.m.
ZOO (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm the "wrong" age for Beetles in Canada.  By the time I was 16 in 1987 they seemed to have all but disappearred and as a result I've never driven one, despite having passengered in one many times.  I've always wondered what they were like to drive, apart from slow . . .

It's a lot like a slow, cramped 911.

buzzboy
buzzboy Dork
7/31/21 5:11 p.m.

My first car was a 74 standard. I really enjoyed it. Super easy to drive, easy to work on, didn't require THAT much maintenance. I built an engine for it, screwed up/blew up, built another engine for it. I think it did 0-60 in 25ish seconds. But it was  really fun car. And it had enough grip with 235/75R15s that I could get it to lose oil pressure around turns.

GTwannaB
GTwannaB GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/31/21 8:43 p.m.

If you are going to wait why not buy one from CA or AZ, not LI if low rust is the goal. 

914Driver
914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/1/21 6:50 a.m.

I think Trish likes them for their look, but also ease of getting in and out (compared to a 914?)  it also presents a larger frontal area.  In the 914 people pulling out see you and think you're 1/4 mile away and pull out when actually it's only 100 feet.

octavious
octavious Dork
8/1/21 10:48 a.m.

Well this followed me home last night. (Build thread to follow...sometime) lol

 

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