It is difficult to speak to this subject without stirring some controversy. Although I recognize that situations vary, in general I believe in what I detail below. Also, I realize that my views are not necessarily endorsed by 1967beetle.com. However, it is because of 1967beetle.com that I have gelled my thoughts into what “makes me go” these days regarding a Policy of Conservation when it comes to the Vintage Volkswagen Community.
Because I have remained active in the Volkswagen Community for many years, daily I find myself being asked advice on one thing or another. Giving advice requires that a person not only have some degree of knowledge but that he also be able to give direction.
Do we turn right here or do we turn left? We certainly can’t do both. And, to do nothing could be disastrous. To give an indiscriminate signal or, worse, just throw up the hands and let the car do what it will, makes no sense. That’s part of what goes on in my mind when I am asked advice.
I spend countless hours giving counsel to people who call, write or come to see me about buying a vintage Volkswagen. Since meeting Eric Shoemaker and 1967beetle.com, I come into contact even more with persons interested in buying, specifically, a 1967 Beetle.
One of the most common inquiries regards purchasing a ’67 for a son or daughter to use for driving to and from school and their jobs. Safety for the child is one of the major concerns voiced.
Two factors immediately come to mind when I hear that a parent is contemplating the purchase of a vintage vehicle for a child:
- A vintage vehicle is an old car, to begin with. No amount of “restoration” is going to change that fact. Owning a vintage vehicle is not a money-saving measure. Some parts are scarce and, as a result, are difficult to obtain and can be quite expensive. This often leads to the economy of using inferior parts. This further moves the situation to the next concern…
- A vintage car is not a “safe” vehicle for a person of any age. But, especially it is a poor idea to prepare a vintage vehicle for a child. By reviewing the insurance stats, we immediately can see that rates for young people are high. There’s a reason—children are an increased risk due to the number of accidents they have.
Armed with this increased risk of accidents, we must face the fact—a vintage VW is not a “safe” vehicle. There are no air bags, no crush-factors, no power steering, no power brakes, no safety glass and no real safety seats and seat belting. We can do our best but in the end, what we have is a car which is known to be substandard when it comes to safety.
There is a third factor that jumps to mind when I hear that someone is contemplating the purchase and restoration of a VW for a child. That is the fact that these cars, which rapidly are becoming scarce in good running, driving condition, should be conserved—not used for a child’s “first car”. We get carried away with thinking how cute it is going to be or how great it was for us when we were young and had a VW. Times have changed. We all know that youth plus vehicles usually results in disaster to some extent or other. Often this means that another VW is put out of commission—usually for good. Oh, I know—that boosts the value of my Beetle…but, at what cost.