From 1958 to 1978, I owned four different Beetles. I have lots of fond memories of traveling many miles in those Beetles, even a long vacation trip in a new 1971 Clementine Orange Super Beetle.
A few months ago, at age 82, I started thinking about maybe buying a vintage Beetle. I started watching eBay, bringatrailer, etc.
Along the way, I ran across 1967beetle.com which, in turn, put me in contact with Jay Salser.
Jay became an invaluable resource in my search for a Beetle. It was obvious from reading his many technical articles that he was a real Beetle expert.
When I first started looking, I had in mind to spend around $7000 for a Classic Beetle. It did not take too much looking to determine that there is considerable demand for Classic Beetles.
I looked at the sales history on 1967beetle.com for several nice cars and it became obvious that a nice 1967 Beetle would be in the $9-10k range, or more.
When I would find what I thought was an interesting Beetle, I would forward the information to Jay and he would critique the car. I learned quite a bit during this process.
On October 22, 2018, a white 1967 Beetle showed up on eBay. It was represented as all original except for one repaint, many years ago, in its original Lotus White color. I had previously seen this Beetle advertised on another web site for $14,900, which was more than I wanted to spend.
After this Beetle showed up on eBay, I sent the info on it to Jay. Jay immediately liked it. He even called the seller (a dealer with a used car sales business) and discussed it with him. Jay then told me that he liked the sound of the car and that it appeared to have its original engine.
I then started watching this Beetle on eBay.
In the meanwhile, I was considering a couple of other Beetles. Jay and I exchanged several more emails about those Beetles as well as about the white Beetle. Jay emphasized that everything about the white Beetle appeared to be correct. On the other cars, Jay would always end up comparing them to the white Beetle and he always pointed out how the white Beetle was so much better.
As I watched the white Beetle on eBay, it began to attract several bidders.
I also was watching another beetle on bringatrailer.com. It was a very nice car, but was not original. It had been restored and had a later engine. The auction for this car was scheduled to end two days after the eBay auction for the white Beetle.
One day before the eBay auction was to end, the bid on the white Beetle had reached $9100. I decided to call the seller, who was located 1000 miles away.
I had a good discussion with the seller and he did a walk-around of the car while I was on the phone with him. He also told me that I could buy the car for $10k.
I concluded that the Beetle on bringatrailer.com would most likely end up selling for well above $10k, when its auction ended two days later. (It did indeed sell two days later for almost $14k.)
I also concluded that, with one day to go, the eBay bidding on the white Beetle might well go beyond $10k. As a result, I called the dealer and told him that I would give $10k.
I definitely took a chance by buying the Beetle without personally inspecting it. However, I had checked the dealer’s BBB report and he had an A+ rating. I also had done an internet search for reviews on the dealer and he had hundreds of good reviews. He also had a permanent used car lot which I could view, using Google.
After I had wired the payment for the Beetle, the dealer promptly over-nighted the Title to me and I arranged to have the Beetle transported from Virginia to Texas. I used a broker who had transported other old cars for me.
The Beetle was delivered to me in good condition one week later.
As soon as I saw it in person I was very impressed.
87k miles was registered on the odometer. The car was incredibly original. I always have had much better luck with original cars–much more so than with restored cars. The 100% original interior was in near immaculate condition.
My Beetle came with very little history, but, based on its interior condition, my educated guess is that it almost has to have had a lady owner for a long period of time. The seller told me that it had been owned by the same person for the past eighteen years, and that the Beetle had been garaged in a hangar with the prior owner’s plane, and had been driven occasionally to car shows.
Except for the windshield, all glass is completely original, as are all the rubber moldings and all weatherstripping. Even the rubber floor coverings are factory original and are in great condition. My Beetle also has an original factory German FULDA brand tire as its spare.
The chrome bumpers, front and rear, are in exceedingly nice condition with lots of sparkle and shine and they both are original. Both door locks work and the factory headliner is in great shape. The back seat and the luggage area behind the back seat are in showroom condition and give the impression that no one ever has sat in the back seat.
Behind the wiring cover, everything is original and untouched.
My Beetle always starts instantly, even after sitting for several days. Just as the Owner’s Manual says, if the engine is cold, depress the accelerator once and release, then turn the ignition key.
It runs and drives just as I remember my much newer Beetles did back in the 1960s. It tracks straight, stops straight and there is no play in the steering. The little car just wants to get up and run. It shifts through each gear perfectly. It also sits very level.
When I received my Beetle, everything was working except the right tail light and the backup lights. I ended up replacing three light bulbs in order to fix these problems. Rather amazingly, the three bad bulbs were original “Made in Germany” bulbs and could well have been 51+ year old factory original bulbs.
I am having a lot of fun with my recently acquired Beetle. I am a firm believer that old cars help keep us young and active.
My wife’s name is Sue, so I named the Beetle “The SuzyBug”. She drove a Beetle while she was in college.
I am very appreciative of Jay’s help. Eric Shoemaker is to be commended for the 1967beetle.com web site. It is a wonderful resource for anyone who is interested in Classic Beetles.
Editor’s Note: Thad did his homework and was not satisfied with buying his car until he had researched every aspect. His diligence paid off! It was a pleasure to stand by as he researched.