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  #1  
Old 07-29-2012, 01:47 AM
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Question thinking about a beetle for daughters first car

The oldest daughter will turn 16 next May. We will don't plan on buying anytime soon and are looking to keep the initial purchase price around $1000, and fixing it up a little. The wife and I were thinking about getting an classic beetle as her first car because it seems to meet our requirements.

Small, we don't want her to be able to fit a bunch of friends in the car with her.
Manual, we want her to learn now.
Cheap, there seem to be quite a few around for cheap.
Easy maintenance, from what little I know about bugs, they are easy to work on, and I want her to be able fix just about anything on it.



So to be honest I know nothing about VWs. I know there are some nice VWs on here so I have some questions.

What are some good parts sites?
Can I get AC? With the heat around here it is something I feel they will need.
What are some common problems to look out for? We are going to get a cheap car and fix it up so she will know how to work on it but don't want to end up over paying for some hidden problem.

I am sure there will be more questions but that is it for now.

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Last edited by Bumble78; 07-29-2012 at 08:30 PM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:47 AM
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We had similar thoughts when we went to get our daughter's first car. We bought her a 2001 New Beetle, and she was thrilled. After only a few months, we were definitely NOT thrilled. While the engine performed like a champ, all the other parts seemed to be made of the cheapest possible plastics and attached with...maybe Elmer's glue? Seriously, almost weekly the window switches would snap off in her hands. The interior door levers broke, the glove box latch broke off, cupholder broke,etc. We spent weekends scouring junkyards for parts (as buying them new from the dealer each cost too much - approx. $60 for each of those window switches).

In case you're wondering, this particular daughter has always been extremely careful with her belongings. She is meticulous almost to the point of obsessive, so it was certainly not a case of her being too hard on the car.

I'd recommend a Honda or Toyota...
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:59 AM
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When I bought my MKIV Golf we sat in a Beetle. I personally disliked the fact that you can't remotely see the ends of the car and I'm 6'3"
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnna View Post
We had similar thoughts when we went to get our daughter's first car. We bought her a 2001 New Beetle, and she was thrilled. After only a few months, we were definitely NOT thrilled. While the engine performed like a champ, all the other parts seemed to be made of the cheapest possible plastics and attached with...maybe Elmer's glue? Seriously, almost weekly the window switches would snap off in her hands. The interior door levers broke, the glove box latch broke off, cupholder broke,etc. We spent weekends scouring junkyards for parts (as buying them new from the dealer each cost too much - approx. $60 for each of those window switches).

In case you're wondering, this particular daughter has always been extremely careful with her belongings. She is meticulous almost to the point of obsessive, so it was certainly not a case of her being too hard on the car.

I'd recommend a Honda or Toyota...
I have seen quite a few of the New Beetles on Craigslist. They all seem to have some issue.
We are looking for more along the lines of the original body style.
If we had the room for a parts car I would pick up this set.

And the back up is pretty much any car that runs decent under $2000.
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:15 AM
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classic beetles are fun. I say go for it, it could be a fun project.
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:48 PM
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There's not much cooler than a classic beetle for a first car, especially for a girl.

i don't know anything about them though they were bound to come with A/C at one point, right?
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:26 PM
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I had a classic Beetle as my first car. My wife had a classic Beetle as her first too. They are very cheap to maintain, and cheap to insure. They can be reliable as long as you get a solid one to start with. Best bet in my opinion would be a 71-76 Super Beetle as they have a bit more safety features built in. As for the a/c, it was a rare factory option. A lot of dealers sold kits that got installed at time of purchase. Living in southern California without a/c in my Beetle was ok because of those awesome little vent wings that open. Even on the hottest summer day, they rocked.

In the original post it's hard to tell if your asking about a classic Beetle or a New Beetle. If your referring to the water-cooled front engine New Beetle, then that is a different beast. They are much safer as they have modern things like air bags and crumple zones. They have some electrical issues, but other than that they make good daily drivers.
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:38 PM
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I had a classic Beetle as my first car. My wife had a classic Beetle as her first too. They are very cheap to maintain, and cheap to insure. They can be reliable as long as you get a solid one to start with. Best bet in my opinion would be a 71-76 Super Beetle as they have a bit more safety features built in. As for the a/c, it was a rare factory option. A lot of dealers sold kits that got installed at time of purchase. Living in southern California without a/c in my Beetle was ok because of those awesome little vent wings that open. Even on the hottest summer day, they rocked.

In the original post it's hard to tell if your asking about a classic Beetle or a New Beetle. If your referring to the water-cooled front engine New Beetle, then that is a different beast. They are much safer as they have modern things like air bags and crumple zones. They have some electrical issues, but other than that they make good daily drivers.
That is good to know, we keep an eye out for those years.

Sorry if i was not clear but we are looking at a classic beetle.

Do you know if they make a reliable aftermarket AC kit?
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:50 PM
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That is good to know, we keep an eye out for those years.

Sorry if i was not clear but we are looking at a classic beetle.

Do you know if they make a reliable aftermarket AC kit?
Yes! Classic Beetles are fun. My first car was a 10 year old '62 beetle. Very workable. I remember taking the engine out by lowering it onto a skateboard. I was able to improvise a roadside fuel pump fix with a safety pin. (Mcguiver eat your heart out). Great cars for learning about cars.

Don't know about AC kits. I remember seeing something called "Arctic Air" in an older (late 50s) beetle.

Good luck with it!
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Old 07-30-2012, 02:36 PM
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Old 07-30-2012, 02:57 PM
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Nice, I suggested 2/40 A/C, but the wife thinks it is too hot during the summer. We will see, I have seen quite a few on Craigslist within driving distance, just need to clear space in the one car garage.
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Old 07-30-2012, 04:45 PM
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I like the classic Beetles for a new driver for many of the reasons mentioned here... especially since they're slow. I'd have a hard time putting my kids in one due to the lack of modern safety features. I don't think they'd hold up well against a modern SUV.
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:27 PM
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If not a classic, maybe a Mk1 VW or similar car. Plenty of them fit your requirements (manual, cheap, cheap to fix, etc) and they're more likely to have an option like A/C.
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Old 07-31-2012, 06:31 PM
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If you are looking for a Classic Beetle I got a 74 Bettle with a new motor and transmission it just needs some body work. Also I am in Florida.
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