BUYING A BEETLE
Because there are so many Beetles in existence, buying one is blindingly. Buying a one is not. Although time-proven as a rugged and long-lived car, many examples (especially the older ones) will be suffering from advanced, often camouflaged, body rot or serious mechanical problems which render them unsafe for road use. Sometime cars with dangerous body rot are sold honestly at low prices as ‘restoration project’ cars, but quite often the problems are hastily and shoddily covered up and the car sold dishonestly and sometime at quite high prices as roadworthy. It can be difficult even for an car with expertly camouflaged body rot, although mechanical problems are often self-evident, for example when they noticeably affect some aspect of the performance of the car, such as poor braking, road-holding or acceleration. Some mechanical faults, however, are less evident and demand an expert Knowledge of the car and of how to properly appraise it.
Many of the Beetles which come onto the market may be advertised as restored and offered at an appropriately high price when in fact they have been incompetently repaired by a DIY enthusiast, or a back-street body shop. Price is no guarantee of quality. Many of the customized examples which are offered for sale may have been converted in a similarly slipshod manner, and even the best-looking and highest-priced of both restored and customized cars can actually be in poor condition. A few may even be death-traps.
Another pitfall awaits the unwary buyer: as the price realized by Beetles continue to rise, the cars become more tempting targets for thieves who, using a variety of devices, fraudulently sell the cars on to honest buyers who will lose both their car and their money when the true identity of the car becomes known to the authorities.
So, despite the Beetle’s exceptionally robust construction and reliability, finding a genuinely good example can be as problematic as finding a good example of any aged car.