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TOD Maiden Voyager
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I have always wanted an air-cooled bug and I've always wanted to learn how to fix them and everything. Since summer is just starting I was thinking it's finally time to get one.

First of all I know almost nothing about engines, but I want to learn. If I get one that's in good working order would I be able to do a lot of the maintenance myself?

I'm thinking of getting one for $2000 at most. Is it possible to get one that is in good working condition for that? It doesn't have to look all that great. I kind of like the beat-up look anyway. It's a 40+ year old car, I think it should look like it.

I live in Mass so it will be a summer car only and, I don't really do a lot of driving. The only places I go are all within 10 miles. And It's almost all back roads. So is it a good idea to do this or should I just not even bother getting one at all?
If you're still real serious after reading John Muir's book, you might want to pm one of our org members (vwgary) - he's originally from your part of the world and previously owned a gazillion air-cooled VWs.
Maybe he still knows where some bargains are lurking. Good luck.
 

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I own 2 aircooled VWs. One is a 66 beetle convertible and the other is a 69 VW bus. My wife and I just love these cars! And yes, you cannot only learn to work on them, you can easily completely rebuild the engine! Those who recommended the Muir book are dead on. You need one of those even before you buy a car so you will be acquainted with them. When you do buy one, or any old car for that matter, DO NOT BUY ONE THAT NEEDS RESTORATION TO BE ENJOYED! So many times I see newbies get in over their heads and end up selling a dead pile of parts and getting out of the hobby. Buy one you can enjoy tomorrow and can fix up as you go and as you learn. The next thing is join a local aircooler club. You will need these guys for parts, advice, and help. You can go to thesamba.com and find a club. And remember, with any old car, rust is death so check it out underneath before you buy. A lot of VW rust, such as floor pans, is cheap and easy to remedy. Some other rust can be very expensive. Learn the difference before you buy. Good luck and have fun!
 

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I built several from a 60 cabriolet to a 59 barndoor bus, if your looking for an air cooled VW stick to pre 67 for anything that will hold value, also dont worry about winter driving, thats what they were built to do:D find one and get a really good undercoating on it and you will be able to drive it anywhere
 

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"that kid with the bug"
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415 Posts
ok, i didnt read the entire thread but i wanted to throw my 2 cents in.

i used to own a 1970 Vw bug that i completley rebuilt, i only sold it because i had to drive over 60 miles round trip every day for school. old bugs require alot of loving care, but they will reward you every day by starting and running like they always have. that is if you replace any part that comes off of it with a part of equal or greater performance. stay away from EMPI unless its vintage, Gene berg is great, Scat makes amazing shifters, and Jake Raby(see here: Raby's Aircooled Technology) is someone to listen too and follow.

now that thats out of the way, you can find a decent bug for under 2 grand. look around for a local VW show and ask for help! you will be suprised at how many old school VW guys will offer their time and help to you!

Matt
 

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"that kid with the bug"
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415 Posts
i disagree, if you go with an early 70s model or a late 60s model you get the IRS rear suspension.

Matt
 

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Don't Drink the Kool Aid
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307 Posts
Yep that is what forced us to sell our 74 Superbeetle. That and all the dings and dents a 16 year old driver with a habit of not paying attention put in it. It was a fun car and the fact we have a guy that specializes in working on them here in town really helped.
Ya old bugs and salt do not mix at all. They just melt away :(
 

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"that kid with the bug"
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415 Posts
i broke many CV joints. but then again i had about 190HP and 205 FT lbs on tap. all you really have to do is upgrade to bus CV joints on the outer an leave the inner stock. i never managed to break on inner CV, and i beat on that car!

anyways, i prefer IRS to swing axle because of the tire wear and camber issue. but hey, to each their own. fat chicks need love too!!

Matt
 

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Matt, I have to agree and disagree. As for parts, you are completely correct. I buy only German parts. The rest is junk which will fail in short order. If I can't find a new German part, I will go for an old, used German part.

Now as far as performance in an old VW goes, I have problems with investing $8000 into a VW so it will perform like a Camero when you can buy a REAL Camero for half that. Maybe its just me, but my stuff is bone stock.
 

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A ToyBo S
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25 Posts
A year plus late to this thread... but I had to say.. Muir's book is a philosophy text as much as it is a repair book. And it may be hard to explain to anyone under the age of 50.
 
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