1973 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
We’re often asked what makes a good first classic car for beginning enthusiasts. It has to be fun, relatively cheap to buy and maintain, and reliable enough to be driven regularly. Air-cooled Volkswagens often make the shortlist. More than 21 million (!) Beetles were sold worldwide over their seemingly endless production life, which started in pre-war Germany and ended in Mexico in 2003. In the U.S., they were sold in the U.S. from 1950-79.
This ubiquity won’t do wonders for their long-term values but it does mean that parts will remain plentiful and Beetles enjoy strong aftermarket support. The simplicity of their air-cooled engines means that even a novice can tackle one as a first project.
While they were certainly never fast, they are capable of keeping up with (legal) modern traffic though you won’t be passing often.
In any case, the basic Beetle spawned many variants but the iconic original remains abundant and affordable. A nice convertible, like this week’s eBay find, represents an interesting entry point in top-down fun. Later Beetles, sporting plastic dashes, lack some of the earlier models’ panache but are also more capable on modern roads and offer even lower costs of entry.
Everyone seems to have a VW Beetle story—what’s yours? If you’d like to know what to look for when shopping for a Beetle, watch this.