The old air-cooled Beetles have rusted to nothingness in much of the world, but they're still quite common in Alameda. So common, in fact, that I tend to think of them as normal "background cars" and have to remind myself to shoot one for this series when too many Beetle-free weeks go by. Since it's been almost three months since the last Beetle down on the Alameda street, we're due.
Like so many daily-driven beater Beetles, this one got hit and had some replacement body parts installed... then never painted. Why bother when it will just get hit again? That's thinking long-term.
You used to see a lot more Beetles with spacers on the engine lid, to improve cooling. There's no factory temperature gauge or idiot light in these cars, so generally your first warning that terrible overheating is taking place involves frying a valve or piston in the #3 cylinder (the one with airflow blocked by the oil cooler). Remember those big RVEECO external oil coolers?
With 53 rampaging horsepower, the '69 was one of the more powerful Type 1s. You could buy a new '69 Beetle for $1,799. No automobile made in Detroit (or Kenosha) could even come close to that price; a 1969 AMC Rambler listed at $1,998, and the '69 Ford Maverick sold for three bucks less. A new '69 Datsun 510 was a little closer, at $1,896. The King of Cheap in 1969, however, was the Fiat 850 sedan, with a $1,466 price tag. Hey, it's Friday- let's have a DOTS Of The Week poll! Vote for the street-parked Alameda vehicle you liked the best; I'm predicting a Monte Carlo-M6 battle here, but perhaps the Mitsubishi van will get enough weirdness points to take the win.