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Buying a Classic Volkswagen

3 min read
Buying a Classic Volkswagen

Buying a classic Volkswagen can be a daunting task if you are not so sure what to look for in terms of quality. Many people purchase the classic Volkswagen Beetle along with other Volkswagen guilty pleasures such as the Thing and the Bus. But the first thing you need to figure out is how much work you are willing to put in to keep the car up and running. Whether you are looking for a classic that requires minimal work or a project car there are a few things you should consider before purchasing one of these classic VWs.

When you go out with the intention of buying a classic Volkswagen be prepared to take a flashlight, paper and pencil, and even a towel so you can inspect underneath the vehicle. Another thing you should be prepared for are the prices if you are looking for a project vehicle then you can find tons of classic models for under 3,000 dollars. I was able to pick up my own 71 VW convertible super beetle for 3,500. However, if you want a car that runs and looks sharp then be prepared to spend up to 20k or even more!

You can find many places online that sell all types of classic Volkswagens. The samba is my favorite site for looking at used VWs. You can also go to your local auctions to see what they have available but the main thing to do is never purchase your vehicle without looking at it in person first. Once you get to the location of the vehicle make sure you inspect it up and down to see if it is in the condition you’re looking for. You should avoid inspecting the car in dim light even if you have a flashlight because you will probably still miss some signs of rusts or dents.

Once you are inspecting the vehicle ask yourself “What needs to be done” and “How much is it going to cost me”. Generally small mechanical problems are cheaper than actual paint and body frame issues. While you are there take out all the tools you need and thoroughly inspect the vehicle in and out. Many people get worried when they notice a car has engine problems but it is easier and cheaper to fix an engine then to work out rust and body issues. Look closely at the heater channels and the floorpans. If they have rust on them expect to pay around $2500-$3000 to have it repaired. Generally when the heater channel is rusted the floor pan isn’t far behind, so replacing both of them at the same time is a good idea. What you might think is a little rust can end up turning into hours or days of welding while you watch your money quickly slip from your wallet. The rust is actually the biggest problem you will find in an old classic Volkswagen. Surface rust is OK and can be fixed with sanding. Its the rust under the paint that you want to look for. This is noticeable by small bubbles behind the paint. The problem is you won’t really know how much damage is done until you start sanding, if the rust is already eating away at the body then it needs to be fully replaced.

The bottom line is that you don’t want to settle for the first classic Volkswagen you find whether it’s a Beetle, Bus, or Thing. You have to keep in mind that many old parts are hard to find so try to find a classic that has complete parts and that is fixable. You also need to take into account the year and the model to see how popular it was. The least popular it was the harder it will be to find parts. If you search around for awhile you will be able to find the right classic Volkswagen that suits your needs and is restorable.

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