Tuesday, January 3, 2017

1966 VW Bug Convertible

There’s nothing like a classic VW Beetle convertible to get your mind thinking of summer days and car shows. Right now, the temperature in New England is dipping down into the 20s at night and it’s downright unpleasant to be outside. That’s why I flagged this Beetle drop-top here on craigslist, to think warm thoughts and how I’d restore this $4K project. 

The pictures certainly aren’t the greatest, but what I can see shows me all I want to know: this is an early-model Bug with the attractive chrome bumpers, slim taillights and recessed head lamps. The seller says there is “0 rust,” which I can only infer means there is no rot present. That’s good news, as Beetles of this generation often need an entire floor pan transplant if they’ve been neglected.

I wonder if that no rust claim also means original paint? It looks like it could be, and I believe a sort of primrose yellow was an available color on Beetles of this generation. The seller says he simply has too many projects to take on and needs to let this one go, only getting as far as new tires and new brakes before letting it descend into the “ran when parked” category. Thankfully, it appears to have been stored indoors.

The Beetle retains its 6V configuration, but not much else is said about the vehicle’s mechanical status. I did notice in this photo that the underside of the engine lid is a different cover, but given the car is the same color on every panel, I’m guessing this was a replacement engine lid that was quickly repainted to match. Overall, the price seems fair and this Bug soft-top seems like a great buy for the price – what do you think?

Source: barnfinds.com

1970 Ocelot SS Dune Buggy

I am neither a fan of, nor a hater of dune buggies. I don’t dislike them, but I have never wanted to own one. Even so, I do appreciate the attraction they have for some people, and there’s no doubt they can be fun drivers. There are a couple in my neighborhood that are out on the roads every summer and their drivers are always smiling.

Dune buggies were invented by the now iconic Bruce Meyers, who first launched the Meyers Manx back in 1964. The Manx was a cute and swoopy little fiberglass body built to fit on the ubiquitous VW chassis with the engine pretty much out in the open, no doors, and both driver and passenger sitting more on top of than inside the body of the buggy.

Dune buggies were a product of southern California beach culture, and they definitely look the part.

Since Meyers built the first dune buggies more than fifty years ago, over 300,000 dune buggies have been manufactured and sold by a wide variety of builders.

After I saw this ad, I  set out to learn something about the Ocelot SS dune buggy that is shown for sale on here on craigslist in Trumbull, Connecticut about ten miles from where I live. It did not take me long to discover that the Ocelot was built by Automotive Design Associates, Inc.

The big surprise for me is that this company was based in Stratford, Connecticut, where I now live. I’ve never heard of this company before but that certainly got my attention.

In any case, this little speedster looks to be in fairly decent condition. Here is what the seller has to say about it: “Original gel coat fiberglass body in very good shape. Does NOT run. Includes additional (was running) single port VW engine. Has old Porsche rims and buggy seats from the 60’s. Floorpans and frame in good shape. Have old Pennsylvania title last issued in 1979. Last registered in 1988.”

The photographs supplied are pretty good and except for a bit of rust in the pan shown here, the car looks very clean.

Volkswagen engines are pretty easy to rebuild – I’m a terrible mechanic, but years ago, using John Muir’s famous “How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive” even I was able to work on my various VW’s with reasonable success. You can find the PDF of this incredible manual online for ready reference if you want to take a crack at rebuilding this buggy’s engine. And hey, you get two engines as part of this deal anyway.

Dune buggies have a pretty big following and I was easily able to find all sorts of online resources and information about them; I discovered that the Ocelot was a copy of the Bushwacker and shares a number of features with that brand.

The Dune Buggy Archives site features a number of Ocelots and has information about a number of other dune buggy brands that surfaced over the years. The more I looked at this sleek little car, the more I find myself liking it. I surely do not need another vehicle, especially one that does not run, and I definitely do not have any place to store or work on this Ocelot SS, but I hope someone else will find it as attractive as I do, and get it back in shape to drive. The asking price is $4,500, which seems a bit steep to me, but then again, I think most car prices today are crazy, so what do I know?
Update on Ocelots – I found two listings for manufacturers of Ocelot Dune Buggies! There was one based in Fullerton, California as well as the one from Stratford. Do any of our readers know more about the story of the Ocelot SS?

Source: barnfinds.com

1959 VW Beetle

This cheerful 1959 VW Beetle is a desirable early model, which appears largely complete despite a repaint in yellow. This car is listed in Texas, and it appears the dry climate has done it plenty of favors with the seller confirming there is no rust in the pan, nor is there any rust in the heater channels. You can find this classic Bug here on craigslist in Austin where it’s listed for $5,500.

I can’t tell if that’s an old Boston University sticker in the back window, but it’s pretty clear this Bug hasn’t been in the northeast recently. I love the detail on the engine cover on these early cars, along with the small, “bullet-style” taillights and of course, the lovely chrome bumpers. This Beetle is parked in front of a VW-based dune buggy kit car and has some other interesting company in the garage.

The door jambs and various places under the hood and trunk lid reveal red paint, which would make sense for this interior color scheme. When a car isn’t rusty and has been repainted, it bothers me far less than a car that’s a bucket and has been poorly painted in an attempt to cover it up. This Beetle appears honest enough, but the early cars are worth restoring and I’d want to return this one to red.

Not much detail on the mechanicals other than it runs and drives and the car has recently received new brakes and tires. Of course, if it’s been used reliably for years and maintenance has been kept up with, there isn’t likely to be much to report on a simple car like this (though if that’s tape on those hoses, they should be replaced sooner than later.) Overall, this looks like a solid platform for an OEM correct restoration, but that’s just me. How would you preserve this fine ’59?

Source: barnfinds.com

1963 Beetle

The Beetle is one of the most iconic cars in history. Volkswagen made millions of them and most of us have either owned one or know someone who did. In 1963 alone, VW made 838,488 Beetles. But most of them have been driven into the ground by now, and many survivors have been modified over the years to no longer be original.

This 1963 Bug for sale here on craigslist in Tucson, Arizona looks original and in very decent condition for its age. According to the seller, it is “uncut, and unmodified. Unrestored. Engine never pulled. Still 6 volt, 1200 40hp engine.” It is only missing the rear seat frames and spare tire (where did they go and why are they gone?)

This old bug is said to have never been in an accident. It is showing some surface rust typical of desert cars, but the body looks solid. The seller does not say much about its condition though and unfortunately provides no photos of the engine, interior, or undercarriage. According to the ad, this car sat unused for almost 30 years and was brought back to roadworthy condition in 2014. The fuel pump was replaced, valves adjusted, new tires were added, and the brakes were rebuilt. The current owner says he just made a a round trip to San Francisco and back to Tucson, apparently with no problems. He rightly points out that it is unusual to find an example in this condition anymore, and while I am no expert in VW values, the asking price of $3,500 (or best offer!) seems reasonable for a running, unrestored, original Bug from the early sixties. It would be interesting to know more about this car’s history, and I wish there were more pictures provided, but I think someone will be buying this car soon. I do like these older Beetles, and even though I am less likely than its current owner to enjoy a long drive in an underpowered and relatively uncomfortable car, it would be a blast to drive this Bug around town. How often can you find a mostly original classic car you can drive everyday for $3,500? And a trip to Tucson sure seems like a good idea in the middle of winter….

Source: barnfinds.com

1970 VW Beetle

Despite being the victim of a poorly maintained clear coat paint job, this 1970 Volkswagen Beetle seems to be a perfect candidate for a daily driver classic. Beetles still have the same things going for them that they had when new: reliability, durability and parts availability and price. This particular car is available here on eBay and is located in Washington, North Carolina. The opening bid is $3,195 and there’s no reserve.

image: http://barnfinds.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/y9-630x354.jpg

By 1970, Volkswagen was still using derivatives of its famous “Think Small” campaign from DDB. If you’re interested in learning more about what is possibly the most revolutionary ad campaign ever, take a look here. Their television ads were very similar, such as this one touting the larger engine made standard for the 1970 models. Even folks that didn’t particularly care for the little cars had to admit that they were tough, economical and got the transportation job done, while offering many opportunities for individual customization.

As you can see, some of the customization has taken place on this car. I’m pretty sure 1970 Beetles didn’t come with  two-tone paint, I know they didn’t come with clear coats, and they had chrome bumpers with a black stripe in the middle. The roof rack is certainly functional and to me adds to the utility of the vehicle.

Inside we have a slightly dirty but perfectly functional interior. After 103,000 miles and 47 years I have doubts about its originality, but this doesn’t really matter, does it? There are so many Beetles running around that I don’t think anyone would choose this example for a concours restoration anyway. The seller has done some recent work to get it mechanically up to snuff, including a complete brake rebuild with shoes, master cylinder, brake lines, wheel cylinders, and new reservoir. There’s also been an engine oil change, valve adjustment, timing set, carb adjustment done and a new distributor installed! To me, this perfectly functional classic deserves a home where it’s driven and enjoyed. What do you think?

Source: barnfinds.com

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

1968 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

1968 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

Source: hemmings.com

1969 VW Beetle

1969-beetle-survivorNormally, I would consider $4,800 to be way too much for this old Beetle, but if the claims are true here this could turn out to be a bargain. There isn’t a lot of information in the seller’s listing, but they do mention that the car has only covered 48,000 miles and is all original. Obviously, you’ll want to inspect it before sending any money, but it might just turn out to be a great deal for the right person. It’s located in Federal Hill, Rhode Island and is listed here on craigslist. Thanks goes to Peter R for the

tip! air-cooled

I’ve tried to jump on the VW bandwagon, but have had a really hard time getting excited about these little cars. They do have some novel engineering and fairly good looks, but there isn’t much else to get the blood pumping. I suppose that little air-cooled engine could be easily souped up… See, I’m trying to convince myself again! All it takes is a drive behind the wheel to get me back to reality though. Well, maybe I could still find some reason to get excited about this particular slug bug.

Beetles were cheap cars that were meant to be driven into the ground and thrown away. So, finding one as nice as this that hasn’t already been restored can be a real challenge. This VW seems to have survived the ravages of time unscathed and is now ready for a VW enthusiast to take over the task of maintaining and keeping her safe. It would be tempting to fix the small flaws and make the car perfect, but if it really is original, it might be best to leave well enough alone.

For so many years everyone wanted to restore everything. People would hunt around for nice unrestored cars just like this to completely restore! Sure, it made the job easier, but as you all know, they are only original once. Holding back and only addressing a car’s real needs may be more of a challenge than actually restoring it. Now that is something I could get behind. So, who’s up to the task of preserving this cure little econo car?

Source: barnfinds.com