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Discussion Starter #1
This really irks me...I had a nice, long post on this that timed out, and as a result, I lost the entire thing after having to log in again! :mad:

So...this wil be a greatly-abridged version that cuts right to the chase without all the fanciful prose a writer like me is accustomed to.

Basically, there are people out there that are saying that no cars built in today's timeframe will ever be classics because the onboard electronics will become obsolete. Moreover, they claim that factories will only supply OEM replacement parts for these electronics for as long as they are required to by law, and that no aftermarket companies will supply these aging parts, either.

If this is true, then my vision of NBs/21st Century Beetles, or any other car built after the 1980s or 1990s becoming future staples at car shows would be shot.

As clueless as I may be about anything that pertains to mechanics or a car's longevity, I still refuse to believe such a grim future awaits. I would think that onboard computers would simply undergo periodic software upgrades, just as they do on your PCs at home, as an example. Nobody from the most rabid auto enthuiasts to the Average Joe that views cars as nothing more than an appliance would be willing to plunk down $30,000 for a new car armed with the knowledge that it would never be able to be reconditioned once the electronics go south.

What do the rest of you out there think about this?
 

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Interesting , never really considered this. I think as long as there is a demand for a specific model , there will be ways of keeping it around. How many supply parts do you see for the type 4 VW sedan - zip. The New Beetle with its glitches still seems to have its rabid following ( the org is a great example ) I believe we are in good shape for the future. Regarding electronics to operate the drivetrain , there are systems currently in the aftermarket designed to do this very thing and although I can't remember the name(s) It is being used to bypass old vw injection technology. Look to the type 3 VW forum on the Samba to get a perspective on this. If you are referring to the other parts such as the window motors and switches etc, well a lot of these parts are used on Jettas and the Golf so there is an ample supply for awhile. Bart
 

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also to note..... I am more disturbed by the ''Black box '' type of systems that are forthcoming and the hacker friendly things that should never be considered in the automotive industry. the rule of KISS should be followed . (keep it simple stupid)
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I read this on an MSN forum that was put together after some author predicted what cars of today would be classics 20 years from now, in 2033. I'd like to believe that today's water-cooled Beetles will eventually become as respected as old school air-cooleds at VW shows. Even now, we're finally beginning to see more participation, and as I pointed that out in that forum (because NBs/B12+ were excluded), the American "muscle car" crowd that dominated the boards had a good laugh. Whatever, you know? I remember the kids whose dads had Mustangs and Vettes laughing at me way back in grade school 45 years ago, too. (My dad had a '57 Oval, and I've been a Beetle guy all my life). Anyway, the old school muscle car bias was decidedly present there on that forum, so maybe I should consider the source.

Still, it would really suck to learn that something like a '98 or '01 New Beetle, or for that matter, a 2013 Passat or Jetta, would never have a chance of being part of a VW show or collector club as we know them today in the 2030s or 2040s and beyond. You could still have GTGs with the current Beetles on the market at the time, but knowing they would never reach vintage status would be very disappointing. The entire definition of car shows would have to change or be relabeled as "gatherings."
 

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Well this ties in nicely with my "obsolete part" post of a few days ago. I intend to be driving my water bug until I'm too old to be safe on the road, so maybe it's time all of us NB enthusiasts write to VW and say "Hey, listen up." We need to start a revolution and let the modern car companies know that there are those of us who don't ditch a car every 5-6 years. I wonder what kind of response I would receive from VWoA if I tell them about my obsolete side mirror? Might be interesting to do it just to find out.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm all for a revolution like this. There's a supplier in Effingham, IL, Mid America Motorworks, that has so many thousands of replica parts for air-cooled Beetles that a person could literally build a "brand new" one from scratch, but they dropped their aftermatket NB parts back around 2003! :mad:

I have 2 NBs, a 2010 Base and a 2000 GLS. My daughter drives the 2000, and being a teenager more interested in hanging out with her cool friends than keeping her car looking good, I'm going to be spending a ton of money to recondition everything once she moves on to another car. It will probably cost me 2-3 times what the car itself is worth, but I'm determined to bring it back to showroom condition and keep it forever, and we need to see more NB owners that want to do the same so that vWoA and the aftermarket industry takes notice. ;)

I'm not into Asian cars, but I saw someone recently driving a Toyota Corolla from the 1970s that was absolutely immaculate. He even had collector plates. I greatly admire people that do this with cars that most view as disposable.
 

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There's also the "green" side of keeping a car. I think it's much more environmentally sound to keep a vehicle in good operating condition and continue to drive it than to constantly turn over your cars. And let's face it with a few exceptions, there aren't any cars coming out right now that get any better gas mileage than our NBs. I'm a card carrying member of my local Sierra club and I wouldn't part with my water bug for a hybrid or electric vehicle. There just isn't anything affordable car out there now that I would even consider trading in my NB for.
 

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As much as I would like to think it, I don't know that in 40 years our bugs will be considered classics. Don't get me wrong I would love for it to happen and think it would be awesome. But I don't know, I just see them being hunks of crap as most 10-15+ year old cars are nowadays.

It's hard to say though. If there is enough following for them I could see aftermarket companies making some of the electronics for them just as parts are made for a lot of old cars nowadays. But it's really a crap shoot as to what will happen IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I hear what you're saying due to the fact that far too many NB owners just look at them as just another car to drive until it's shot and they need something newer, but for every 10 air-cooled Bugs you still see at shows (or even on the road), 9 will be rusted out hunks of junk, too.

And then there's the fact that 21.5 million air-cooled Beetles were built as opposed to 1.6 million NBs from 98-10 and maybe 150,000 total 12+ Beetles worldwide, of which about 72K have been sold in the US so far, But....

If there weren't people like us, those who are passionate about our modern-day continuation of an iconic car, sites like the Org wouldn't exist. I suspect that there are lots of other enthusiasts out there of other retro-themed re-interpretations of "classics," too, like today's Mustangs, Camaros, Chargers, Mini Coopers, etc, plus all the young kids into Hondas, Ford Focuses, Hyundai Elantras, or whatever, and I wouldn't think any of these people would go along with accepting that their cars would never stand a chance of becoming a future, vintage classic show car.

I'm not saying there will be lots and lots of NBs at VW shows, or that they'll fetch $40,000 at Barret-Jackson in 2040, but within the VW scene, there will be some, lined up right alongside the Golfs, GTIs, Jettas, and Passats......UNLESS these Doomsday people are right about no aftermarket support and/or a government forcing dead onboard computers into a one-way trip to the scrapyard. I for one hope they're dead wrong.
 

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No you're right. But if you look at it this way, because of the lower numbers, even if there is the same ratio of saved to rotten, the NB will be a lot rarer down the road. So those of us that actually take care of them would be members of a very small crowd. Still not $40k or even half million dollar cars, but still rare(ish)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sadly, we are already part of a very small group. When the NB first came out back in '98, it was very popular with the nostalgic crowd, and NB-only events like Roswell were HUGE with several hundred owners from all over the country. The last 2 times, we've had exactly 37 cars show up.....:(

Still, I'd like to believe that this is because water-cooled Beetles have only been around for 16 years, and everyone that went hog-wild in the early days did so because it was the "in" thing to do at the time. Those of us on the Org and the fewer still who continue to go to Roswell, ToD, Talimena, etc. are the die-hards.

One thing about the naysayer's predictions does concern me, and that is the possibility that OEM and the aftermarket may not be able to justify supplying parts to people that wish to restore their NBs (or any other current cars) if only 1 out of 100 or 1 out of 1000 owners would be interested because it wouldn't make economic sense, so in the event this actually will happen, I'm trying to look at the bright side, because those of us who love our water Beetles could still have GTGs and simply replace them with newer ones as needed. The most important thing is that Volkswagen never kills the Beetle again!
 

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Yeah there was a huge amount of interest in the beginning, now, not so much. I mean just look at the org. Back in it's hayday, you could spend hours just reading new posts that had been made since you first logged in. Now you can post and you're lucky if there is something new hours or days later.

Chat too, it used to be a busy happenin joint. Now I think even the crickets are dead whenever I go in there.
 

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This really irks me...I had a nice, long post on this that timed out, and as a result, I lost the entire thing after having to log in again! :mad:

So...this wil be a greatly-abridged version that cuts right to the chase without all the fanciful prose a writer like me is accustomed to.

Basically, there are people out there that are saying that no cars built in today's timeframe will ever be classics because the onboard electronics will become obsolete. Moreover, they claim that factories will only supply OEM replacement parts for these electronics for as long as they are required to by law, and that no aftermarket companies will supply these aging parts, either.

If this is true, then my vision of NBs/21st Century Beetles, or any other car built after the 1980s or 1990s becoming future staples at car shows would be shot.

As clueless as I may be about anything that pertains to mechanics or a car's longevity, I still refuse to believe such a grim future awaits. I would think that onboard computers would simply undergo periodic software upgrades, just as they do on your PCs at home, as an example. Nobody from the most rabid auto enthuiasts to the Average Joe that views cars as nothing more than an appliance would be willing to plunk down $30,000 for a new car armed with the knowledge that it would never be able to be reconditioned once the electronics go south.

What do the rest of you out there think about this?

The PC at home is also replaced after several years, for enthusiasts that can be every year or two. The only way to upgrade the computer system in the car would be to do that exact same thing, replace the hardware with something faster.

Also the PC is designed as a modular unit that relies upon discrete components to form the whole. CPU, memory, hard disk, system board, DVD drive, USB, etc. Where the computer in your car is designed to be a single part solution that includes CPU memory, and programmable memory chips for storage of the instruction code. So the computer in your car has zero upgradability as most of the core programming is fixed.

As for whether that means a car cannot become a classic, I don't think it prevents it from becoming a classic. But once that computer fails, if you cannot purchase a replacement or scavenge one from another vehicle, I think your car is not going to run again.
 

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There *are* companies that make standalone engine management computers, and even for newer cars. Right know they're out of most regular people's price range because they're made for wringing out as much performance out of an engine or engine swap as possible.

If these cars get the same cult following that the mk1/2 watercoolers have now, it will become more of a commonplace to during such drastic mods. But it might be the future, hopefully.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
As for whether that means a car cannot become a classic, I don't think it prevents it from becoming a classic. But once that computer fails, if you cannot purchase a replacement or scavenge one from another vehicle, I think your car is not going to run again.
Yeah, it was suggested on that forum I took part in that the only way today's cars would be in shows of the future is if they are trailered in. That to me would take the fun out of it. That would be like bringing a car to a show with a brand new paint job that has a blown engine or transmission! :p
 

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Discussion Starter #16
There *are* companies that make standalone engine management computers, and even for newer cars. Right know they're out of most regular people's price range because they're made for wringing out as much performance out of an engine or engine swap as possible.

If these cars get the same cult following that the mk1/2 watercoolers have now, it will become more of a commonplace to during such drastic mods. But it might be the future, hopefully.
I hope so, too, because I believe a "classic car" is subjective, anyway. Some people may think a 1993 Saturn or a 1987 Plymouth K-Car is a classic. For all I know, by 2033 0r 2034, there may only be 100 people in the world that would be willing to keep something like a 1999 NB on the road, but I'd be one of them. :)
 

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Interesting thought.

Most electronic things now are disposable, not made to last a lifetime. Whereas most purchases 40/50 years ago were mechanical so the parts could be easily sourced and replaced if need be.
If you compare an old beetle to a new beetle the old beetle has 0 electronic components involved apart from the odd relay, whereas a new beetle has sensors measuring just about everything. Also the electronics in the new beetle are specialised, you can't pop into Radio Shack to pick anything up.

This is the crux of the problem. It's fairly easy to stock parts for simple machines and for most home mechanics to do maintenance themselves if need be. The new beetle makes it easier for maintenance in being able to plug a scanner in and it tells you exactly what's wrong but the parts then become harder to source due to being more specialist. So although you can easily tell what's wrong it's a very specific part you need, you can't swap them in from another car without problems.

It is a problem but I'm fairly sure if there's still a following then suppliers will keep stocking parts.
 

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Interesting thought.

Most electronic things now are disposable, not made to last a lifetime. Whereas most purchases 40/50 years ago were mechanical so the parts could be easily sourced and replaced if need be.
If you compare an old beetle to a new beetle the old beetle has 0 electronic components involved apart from the odd relay, whereas a new beetle has sensors measuring just about everything. Also the electronics in the new beetle are specialised, you can't pop into Radio Shack to pick anything up.

This is the crux of the problem. It's fairly easy to stock parts for simple machines and for most home mechanics to do maintenance themselves if need be. The new beetle makes it easier for maintenance in being able to plug a scanner in and it tells you exactly what's wrong but the parts then become harder to source due to being more specialist. So although you can easily tell what's wrong it's a very specific part you need, you can't swap them in from another car without problems.

It is a problem but I'm fairly sure if there's still a following then suppliers will keep stocking parts.

I run into that problem now with my odd little 98 TDI. Many of the parts on my 98 are different from later years, however only the version found on later year vehicles can be purchased. So to install my new AC compressor I had to cut and splice electrical connections.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I run into that problem now with my odd little 98 TDI. Many of the parts on my 98 are different from later years, however only the version found on later year vehicles can be purchased. So to install my new AC compressor I had to cut and splice electrical connections.
And this poses an interesting dilemma. One of my NBs is a 2000 model, just 2 years younger than a '98. My daughter now drives it, and she's really trashed the interior with badly scratched plastic interior parts and stained carpeting. In addition, the rear bumper needs a repaint and it needs a new front valance, and none of these things even include the maintenance items that it'll need as it ages. Right now, if she were to move on to a different car, my best estimate is that it would take $5-6K to put it back into the shape I'd want. The question now is whether it would be worth it, because A) some of the OEM parts may already be past their shelf life, and B) what if I put thousands of dollars into a resto only to have the electronics fail a few years down the road, say by 2016? Thus, it would be nice to know whether the elctronics will be able to be replicated once that happens. If not, it would be much wiser to apply that $5-6K toward a 2016 Beetle.
 

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Depends on the following. If there are people determined enough, electronics can be repaired or suitable replacements created. Just takes time/money/patience.

That said, I think the NB's biggest problem in the future is the interior plastics. I don't know why they did but VW seriously cheaped out on the quality. I had to reassemble the interior of a 2000 NB recently and had to do it with kid gloves to keep from breaking the panels further than they already were. The door panels were pretty bad, as were the rear quarter panels.
 
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