Monday, February 1, 2010


Convertible Beetles come in three varieties; Karmann originals, professional conversions and DIY jobs.Karmann convertibles are always towards the very top end of the Beetle price range, so expect to have to pay a lot for one and assess the car as carefully as you can for the usual signs of accident damage and corrosion. Do
check for authenticity, because there is money to be made from dressing up a DIY conversion as a Karmann original and selling it at a high price.
There are many companies which offer a professional conversion service for the standard Beetle and, whilst cars converted in this way will not be so expensive or exclusive as a Karmann, they offer exactly the same function at a far lower price. Because the roof panels of saloon cars generally contribute greatly to the strength and rigidity of the cars, it is vital that any saloon which is made into a convertible receives some extra strengthening. In the case of a Beetle, the immensely strong chassis/floorpan assembly arguably lessens the need for extra strengthening, but the author would recommend that widely available strengthening members are welded to the sill assembly and to the A post (to prevent scuttle shake). Professional conversion companies should do this as a matter of course, but it pays to check. The strength offered by the sill/heater channel assembly of converted cars is of the greatest importance in preventing the bodyshell from twisting, and so this area should be assessed very thoroughly.
Most DIY saloon to open top conversions will be basedun a commercially manufactured kit. If you are looking for a car which is based on a particular kit then a visit to one of the larger Beetle events will enable you to talk to existing owners of converted cars and to learn enough about them to be able to assess the build quality. If you are thinking of buying any home-built convertible then the first thing you should ask is whether it is based on a kit and, if so, which? Treat non-kit DIY conversions with caution.

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