Since 78% of you voted pro-Beetle a while back, it's time for us to look at a few of the numerous late-60s/early-70s examples I've photographed on the island. This one doesn't look so different from the '59 Beetle we saw a week ago, but plenty of changes took place under that 30s-style skin during the decade. Most important, the old rollover-friendly swingaxle rear suspension was replaced with a proper IRS unit for '69.
The '69 Beetle came with a 53-horsepower 1500, close to double the power of the engine in the '59, and a 12-volt electrical system had been standard for a few years by that point.
This Bug is pretty rough, but it reminds us of an era in which beater VWs filled the niche in the Cheap-Ass Old Car ecosystem now occupied by the 80s Toyota Corolla. You can still get these things pretty cheap, but the days of $100 daily-driver-ready Bugs have sputtered off into the sunset.
I've owned a few of these cars, and I really liked them (in spite of the sense I had that they were more like lawnmowers than cars). Any engine you can lift unassisted, with cylinders that come right off, makes engine-upgrade hoonage a walk in the park. Which brings up the question: did any air-cooled VW owners actually adjust their valves when they were supposed to? Or was every single one running badly and cranking out more hydrocarbons than 500 Chrysler Newports? These cars were incredibly good at still functioning while running badly.
Jesus is just all right with me. Jesus, he's my friend. He holds up the speaker wires in this Beetle!