By now I’m sure you’ve heard the news: Volkswagen’s beloved Beetle is no more. We all knew it was coming, with the announcement being made in the fall of 2018 but now the reality is here. For 2020 there will be no new version.
It’s bittersweet to lose the cute little commuter but let’s not have that squash our collective enthusiasm. The car is still loved the world over and that’s why now is the perfect time to shop for the best examples. Not only are they fun to drive and enjoy but any time a car model ceases production interest, and typically value, goes up. Deals are out there and if you beat the rush, affordable options abound.
With that in mind, I set out to central Florida, to check out Mecum’s massive Kissimmee auction. There are over 3,000 vehicles crossing the block and sure enough, nearly two-dozen of them are VW bugs, spanning the model’s multiple generations. To kickstart your creativity, I’ve rounded up my selection of good Beetle buys.
1979 Super Beetle Convertible
Condition is everything with collectability and this 1979 Super Beetle falls into the coveted, and seldom seen, ‘like-new’ category. The drop-top is unrestored and shows a scant 240 miles on the odometer. It was sold new in sunny California and has had just two West Coast owners who clearly took great lengths to care for it. At the rear, there’s a 1.6L fuel-injected engine, paired to a four-speed transmission. The car is a triple white combo, meaning the exterior’s white paint is matched to a white interior and white top, all of which look sharp. Other items include chunky cool Bosch fog lights and a rocking Blaupunkt radio. This one for sure is a longterm keeper but for max future value, a new buyer shouldn’t go driving. Those miles need to be kept low.
1965 Beetle Convertible
Second to having one unrestored is a bug boasting a fresh restoration and this 1965 example has just had one. It’s undergone a full, ground-up overhaul and it shows. Truth be told, I’m quite partial to blue but it’ll be hard to find anyone who doesn’t like this one’s Sea Blue paint and tan interior combo. Power comes a 1200cc engine and gears are again selected through a four-speed manual transmission. Branded mudflap and painted steel wheels all add to this bug’s charm. It’s clean, correct and just what collectors are looking for.
Backing up a full decade is this 1956 example and if you’re not careful, you’ll miss the two-toned paint. Highlighting the black exterior are cranberry sides. It’s not evident while parked in the shade but there’s no mistaking the car’s two-tone treatment when it’s in the sun. This one, too, has had a full restoration and been given loads of new parts, including a full interior. There are bumper guards in the front and rear, an AM radio as well as a luggage rack up top. Power comes from a 1200cc engine with a 4-speed manual transmission. This one, too, shows well and would be a great addition to any collection.
2010 Beetle ‘Final Edition’
It’s not just the early ones that are worth keeping an eye on. In recent years VW has released special editions and limited runs which is exactly where the value buys can be had. One of those is this Final Edition. A total of 3,000 were made, split evenly between coupes and convertibles. The drop-tops, like this one here, were painted in Aquarius Blue and came with Campanella White sides. They all got five-spoke 17-inch wheels and Sport suspensions. Each was numbered on the steering wheel (a must-have for collectability) and this one is 1,049. Given the package’s retro vibe and limited offering, it’ll certainly be liked for years to come. Word to the wise: to get the most out of this one, a new owner should try to track down a white top. That was also part of the edition.
2010 Beetle ‘Red Rock Edition’
Another off-the-radar low production run from 2010 was the Red Rock edition. Just 750 were produced and each came painted in Red Rock Metallic paint with a painted black roof. Like the Final Edition, this one came equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels and a Sport suspension. Inside, they all got black leatherette. While the changes are cosmetic, the different color and limited production should help this one have a bright future for those who are seeking a return on investment.