Wednesday, February 24, 2010


A Beetle, like any classic car, has three values. There is the value to the seller, the value to the buyer and, usually somewhere in between, the purchase price. Beetles cannot have such accurate published value guides as current and recent cars; Beetles are now old cars, and the value of the individual example will be most heavily influenced by its condition irrespective of any arbitrary figure which might be ascribed to its particular year and which. model it is.
The entire classic / recreational car market is in a constant state of flux, so it is important that you base any cash offers for Beetles with current pricing trends in mind. There are several ways of obtaining current information. Some classic car magazines include value guides and, whilst these can sometimes prove mildly wrong, they do, over a period of some months, serve to show which way the market is moving.
Some vendors will base their asking price on an insurance valuation. Valuations which are carried out for insurance purposes are not to be taken too seriously. Some of the figures involved are arrived at by a valuer whose only experience of the individual car is a set of photographs - and you cannot tell the condition and hence the value of a car simply by looking at photographs. Apart from any other consideration, who is to say that the car in the photographs is not another example in better condition and only wearing the number plates from the actual vehicle? Some agreed values might be based on some kind of report prepared by a garage business or other valuer on behalf of the insurance company, but they cannot be relied upon as a true indication of the value of the car because you cannot rule out the possibility of. some degree of collusion between the vendor and the valuer.
More accurate pricing information is usually available from owner's clubs, which may either be published by the club magazines or, in some circumstances, given out on request. Alternatively, a local club will doubtless contain some members who keep an eye on Beetle prices, and they may be persuaded to share their information with a fellow member.
If you have the time and inclination, then following advertisements across a wide range of advertising platforms (Beetle / VW magazines, local newspapers and regional advertisement-only publications) will enable you to build up a picture of what money is being asked for what cars. . Concentrate only on the particular Beetle which interests you, and within a couple of months you could be as knowledgeable about Beetle values as any authority.
The author prefers to utilise the following method to value cars.
Firstly, he decides how much he can afford, then how much he would consider a fair price to pay for the car he is seeking in the condition he requires. When viewing a car, he lists all of the components which need renewal, plus any other work which needs carrying out (or which will require attention in the near future); he prices this and subtracts the total from the amount he considers a fair value for the car when all of the repairs have been carried out, to arrive at the value of the car to him.
Don't accept a receipt for your cheque or cash (pay by cheque if possible) from the vendor of the car if it includes the words 'sold as seen'. This is a rather tacky and not entirely effective get-out which some people employ when they want to shift a car which they know to have some serious (but undisclosed) fault, intended to put you off pursuing your complaint when said fault comes to light. In the UK, it is an offence for anyone to misrepresent an unroadworthy vehicle as fit for the road during a transaction, so keep hold of any published advertisement as proof of misrepresentation should a car described as being in 'good' condition turn out to be unsafe.
Do bear in mind that many of the Beetles which come to the market receive some sort of mechanical attention just before they are offered for sale. The work carried out could have been to a poor standard; in particular fixings might not be correctly torqued or perhaps fitted without shake-proof washers, and these can come loose in a short space of time – perhaps even whilst you drive the car to your home from the vendor's.
If, at this stage, you don't feel that you are yet qualified to carry out checks on the car yourself, get your local professional mechanic to give the car a once-over. An experienced mechanic should be able to spot any potentially dangerous fault on any car; alternatively, subjecting the car to an MOT roadworthiness test should not only unearth problems but also give you proof of their existence on the failure sheet, which will list any faults.
The checks and service routines recommended here are all covered in detail within the following chapters of this book. As ever, the author recommends that you also refer to a good workshop manual.

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