So, farewell to the Volkswagen Beetle. Twice this year, I’ve been asked to give on the radio what is in effect an oral obituary for the long-serving model. The Beetle’s backstory is a fascinating one and it bears retelling, although not here. It isn’t a practical buy, but a style one. Its unaerodynamic blunt front eats into the mpg and the boot isn’t the biggest – but at least it isn’t another boring hatch.
Shall we take a peek at what the classic market is up to? Well, £4450 buys a fully operational 1971 1200 Beetle that’s apparently unrestored and used as a daily, which surprised me a bit. There are some Californian imports for similar money and projects at the £1500 mark, so if you fancy some work and rust, knock yourself out.
When it comes to the reborn Beetle, these are proper bangers now and presumably the £300 examples are worth more in bits. I found a 2002 1.6 petrol local to me with a couple of months’ MOT for that money and only a cracked windscreen and 175,000 miles on the debit sheet. Then a few miles more in the other direction was a 2001 2.0, which was blue with black wheels and a full year’s MOT for £500. Then there was a 2009 1.6 Luna with 90,000 miles and a full MOT at £1800. Not bad for a decade-old cared-for example.
The Beetle is all about showing off and, for £1500 upwards, there are a ton of cabriolets around that are perfect cruising buys. For example, there was a 2004 1.6 with reasonable miles and a private plate chucked in for £1500. Personally, I would respond more warmly to the subtle rumble of a 2.3 V5. No one else wants those, so there are tidy one-owner 2001 examples at £750. Dealer prices can be £2995, but they should be pretty mint and warranted.
Then there is the last-of-the-breed Beetle 2, which isn’t quite so lovable. The petrol 1.2 TSI starts at £5500, so a contemporary model at a reasonable price. I have a lot of time for a 1.6 Bluemotion, which does address the older cars’ fuel economy issues and deliver 65mpg, officially anyway. A 2013 one with over 90,000 miles is £5995. A bunch of special editions increases the choice and I like the idea of a Fender I can actually drive. I saw a 2013 2.0 TDI with 50,000 miles, a DSG gearbox and Fender logos. The sound system should be decent, it had a DAB radio and it was a two-owner car for £9999.