Monday, February 15, 2010


When you have decided which variety of Beetle you desire, the problem arises of where to begin looking for our dream car, who to buy it from and roughly how flinch to pay. Beetles are, of course, widely advertised in ational magazines, and this might at first sight appear as good a place as any to begin your search. Unfortunately, because such magazines are distributed nationally, they attract advertisements from all over the country. If you are in the market for a comparatively rare original UK RHD Karmann convertible then the national press might offer the best (perhaps the only) solution because it will be the only place where you can find a reasonable selection to choose from, but if you seek one of the more common variants then you might as well begin looking nearer home, and with good reason.Vendors of Beetles often arrive at their asking prices by following one of the published 'classic car value guides' in a classic car magazine (although some are misguided by agreed value insurance figures – more on this later). These can cause the buyer certain problems. Firstly, the guides often differ from each other in the values they ascribe to particular cars (the author has seen two guides which were published at the same time give one valuation of 5q per cent more than the other for the same car!) and secondly, they generally value the cars as belonging to one of three groups according to their condition. Group '1' or 'A' usually refers to very clean and original cars with little or no rust and reliable mechanical and electrical components (but not pristine concourse winners). Group '2' or 'W usually refers to cars which run and possess the relevant certificate of roadworthiness (the MOT certificate in the UK) but which would benefit from a certain amount of mild mechanical repair and/or a small amount of bodywork attention. Group '3' or 'C' cars are described as those which may or may not be runners and may or may not possess a current certificate of roadworthiness, but which do require fairly extensive mechanical and body repair to make them really usable.Problems arise because a vendor often wrongly assumes that his or her group 3 or C car is actually a group 2/B. and asks the appropriate price as indicated in a value guide. It will not be until you come to actually examine the car that the mistake, or sometimes the deliberate misrepresentation, will come to light. This is not too annoying if you have travelled only a short distance to view the car, but following a long and totally wasted drive it can be infuriating.
If you are looking for a reasonably prolific Beetle variant then you will save much time, money and temper by only travelling to view cars situated fairly close to your home. In this case it is best to confine your search initially to local newspapers and other publications. Word of mouth is also an excellent way of finding a local car, because one of the people you inform that you want a Beetle might just know where one is available. Going out and finding a Beetle before it is advertised for sale also brings the benefit of allowing you to make an offer for the car without having other potential buyers hovering in the background ready to outbid you, which can often happen if you and theyboth answer an advertisement and turn up for a viewing at the same time.Another advantage of viewing locally rather than in the national media is that many of the cars you see advertised will not be owned by Beetle enthusiasts, and the prices asked can sometimes be far more reasonable,because the non-enthusiast does not always attach any
special 'classic' or other value to his or her Beetle; to such people, their Beetle is simply a car– not a classic, not a cult car.In the UK, regional advertisement-only publications which specialise in used cars offer other useful media to study. These usually feature far more Beetles than
local media, giving a far better selection at the cost of having to travel further within the region to view likely cars.Instead of viewing advertisements for Beetles, you could always place a 'wanted' advert yourself, and this should generate a selection of available cars for you to choose from. The greatest benefit of placing a 'wanted' advert is that you will often attract responses from people who would not advertise their Beetle for sale but who would instead part-exchange the car or perhaps sell it to a relative or friend. You may also attract responses from people who were not previously thinking of selling their Beetle – in both cases, you alone will be viewing the car and there will not be the possibility of other potential buyers appearing on the scene to outbid you.The author has noticed general pricing trendsapplying to cars according to which media they are advertised in. National magazine advertised cars tend towards the top end of their expected price range,especially cars which are advertised in the more 'up­market' magazines which have pages full of advertisements for affordable classic cars yet glossy editorial features on Ferraris and pre-war blown Bentleys. There are some 'man in the street' type classic magazines which seek to assure readers that their own car is a classic (and that therefore they should continue to buy the magazine), and the advertisements in these tend to feature less extravagantly priced cars. The UK Beetle/VW press appears at the time of writing to include the widest selection of sensibly priced cars, and is probably the best national shop window.
The prices asked for cars in regional advertisement-only publications, in common with local newspapers, are in general realistic, although the occasional silly price creeps in from time to time.If you wish to see the very largest selection of Beetles for sale then visit one of the larger Beetle shows which are held throughout the summer months. Rather than having just a photograph by which to judge the car before embarking on a buying expedition, you have the cars there in the flesh. Don't, incidentally, hand over money at the show (unless you are buying from a known bona-fide dealer), but arrange to visit the vendor and carry out the transaction at his or her own house. The reasons for this advice will become clear later in this chapter.There are five sources of Beetles. I. The vast majority of Beetles which are bought and sold pass from one private vendor to another. 2. An increasing number of Beetles are sold by dealers who specialise in classic cars. a particular marque or preferably a particular model. 3. Relatively few Beetles nowadays find their way on to general car dealers' pitches. 4. The Classic Car auction is a relatively modern but growing phenomenon at which more and more classic cars seem to be traded. S. General motor auctions very occasionally have a good Beetle.Each potential source of Beetles has points both in and against its favour, and each will be briefly discussed in the order in which they appear above.

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