This year, Volkswagen released a new New Beetle, and over the decades they built like a gazillion old Old Beetles. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Type 1 is a new Old Beetle, but is its price old news?
When life gives you LeMons, screw making lemonade, get racing! And yesterday's 1992 Geo Metro Limo proved to be a pre-packaged 24-Heurs du Citrons contender, being but a negotiable fiddy over the legal limit. That, and the car's just crazy enough to work build quality pushed it to a well deserved 65% Nice Price win. Also full of win is the fact that the wacky wagon DID get snapped up by LeMons legend, SpeedyCop.
Today's contender is well outside the price range of everyone's favorite crap-car racing series, but is still within the realm of reality to make it a contest. You know the Volkswagen Bug, it's the car that was originally intended ply Germany's Autobahns and later provided the greatly needed exports that helped rebuild the war-ravaged nation.
Germany didn't just export Type 1s, as the bug is officially known, they exported entire factories, constructing the cars in places like Brazil, South Africa, and our neighbor to the south, Mexico. German production of the Bug ended in 1978, when production shifted in total to Brazil and Mexico where they continued for more than two decades more.
Today's Mexican Bug is claimed to have been built in 1997. Be that as it may, bringing so modern an edition into the U.S. is looked upon as unfavorably as that of human border crossers, and this VW has had to gain its citizenship papers at the cost of an 1973 Bug which likely met its maker.
Beetles seemed more like cockroaches so many of them clogged the worlds roads in years past. But today, especially here in the U.S., attrition seems to have taken its toll. Another feature of the Bug was its apparent immutability, every year bringing out a new edition that, to the untrained eye, looked exactly like the past.
But that's not true, and even though this Mexican Bug (sounds like something that you avoid drinking the water for fear of catching) is different in a lot of ways from those of just a few short years prior. The first thing you might notice is a distinct lack of chrome or brushed steel trim, the hubcaps being about the only shiny bits on the car. Both bumpers and headlamp trim are body color, and the door handles, mirror and window trim are all black. This was something that American manufacturers used to do to create ‘Euro' editions of their cars, but here it distinctly identifies this VW as Latino.
Underhood - which for you damn kids is in the back - there's a digifant-injected 1,600-cc aircooled four, which gained a catalytic converter in 1991 as Mexican authorities realized that the air pollution in Mexico city was so bad walking there was like trying to fight your way through a bowl of carcinogenic jello. Still, the car was on the DOT watchlist of vehicles not allowed in the U.S. due to its safety and emissions challenges.
This car is claimed to be all stock with the exception of a front suspension drop and an aftermarket sound system, both of which could be easily rectified if not your cup of salsa. It does not have a sunroof, and everything on the car - steering, brakes, windows, mirrors, and locks are all power-operated - power of the Armstrong variety that is .
Muscling a Bug is not all that taxing, but paying for this one may be. Beetles are not that rare yet, but they do tend to fall into two categories these days - clapped out crap wagon, or VW Vortex, neither of which this 63,000 mile Mexican fits. That's what makes it interesting, and why we're wondering if it's worth its $5,500 asking price.
What do you think, does that price for this VW make you a Latin lover? Or, does that make this a Bug too expensive to catch?
H/T to Rollo Grande for the hookup!
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