I’m experiencing a very odd mix of confusion and desire, a welcome change from my normal state of confusion and incontinence, but still not ideal. It’s because of this astounding 1974 Super Beetle that’s going up for auction. That’s not the amazing part: the amazing part is that it has only 56 miles on the clock. I have no idea what I’d do with such a car.
Yep, 56 miles, or, since it’s an Italian-market Beetle, 90 km. Here’s the story of the car, accoring to Silverstone auctions:
It is a one owner car that has covered just 90km. It was supplied by G. Terragni Volkswagen, Genova on the 23rd January 1974 to its proud purchaser, an elderly gentleman by the name of Armando Sgroi. He had never owned a motorcar before and didn’t really want this one. He was, however, a deeply religious man and walked every Sunday from his house in the hills to his local church. This was only a short distance but it had become a struggle as he became more and more frail. The ‘Little’ car was used less and less as his church-going became more infrequent, and up until the last occasion in 1978, it had covered just 90km. There are original photographs of the car taken when it was first discovered in the barn and its presented today after light recomissioning [sic] having benifitted [sic] from a good coating of ‘Waxoyl’. It still holds the original oil in the engine and is shod with its first set of tyres. The original books and invoice are still intact along with the its, presumably unwrapped, tool kit.
Oh boy, the archetypal little-elderly-person-who-just-used-it-to-go-to-church story, and it seems to be true. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Beetle this old, this unworn, and this original.
This would an interesting Beetle even if it wasn’t essentially time-warped from the era of the Ford Administration: it’s a VW 1303, which we in the US know as the Super Beetle. Unlike the American Super Beetles, this one still has the old, non-battering-ram bumpers (though you can see the rubber-filled cutouts for the massive bumper shocks in the fenders), and no vents in the engine lid because it has the 1300cc engine – US-spec Beetles all got the 1600cc engine as soon as it was introduced in 1970.
Even better, though, is that this is an Italian market Beetle, which means it has the amazing, Italy-only front indicator lights, with their clear front lens and amber side lens. For Beetle-indicator geeks like me and probably no other healthy people, this is like the holy grail.
But, all that said, the big deal about this VW is that it’s driven less in its 42-year life than some cars commute every day. And that’s what’s causing my confusion. As desirable as this is, what would I do with this car?
I mean, as much as I’d love to feel what it would have been like to drive an almost-new Beetle, you just can’t put mileage on this car and have it retain what makes it special.
I mean, for some cars, they’re rare enough that it doesn’t matter how low the mileage is – they’re still meant to be driven, and it’s worth it. But for a ‘74 Super Beetle, shit, you can still find these in good shape on Craigslist for under $5000 – you’d be crazy to put miles on this when you can get essentially the same driving experience for so cheap.
What would I do with this? I guess if I was wealthy enough, I’d just park it in my living room or something and use the trunk (properly lined) as a wet bar; that’d be pretty sweet.
Beyond that, I’m pretty stumped. If I had the $45,000 this is likely to sell for in my pants pockets, I’d sure as hell be tempted to figure something out, though. I’d probably just sit in it a lot, and scrutinize those indicators until my wife arranged for me to be placed in a facility that can help people with my afflictions, or at least study me in the hope of helping others.