Once Bitten You’ve Got The Bug!
Beetle restoration has become somewhat of a national craze. When we first started into business, we did so because we were accused of being the cheapest people around, and drove Beetles® because of reverse-snobbery. We all knew that we were better than the rest of the world because we could drive around in a little Beetle with no heat, which had all kinds of strange habits.
We will furiously defend the Beetle from attack from all outsiders, but after a few beers, when you analytically think about the Beetle (like all good engineers do), you realize that the car was very spartan, and lacked certain amenities, which are considered necessities today. Can you imagine a Beetle with six-way Bose sound, heated, six-way power seats, power antenna, power door locks, or a computerized information system to tell you whether your ashtray is open or closed? Nah, we didn't want all this stuff. We would have settled for heat--just plain heat. Or not even real heat, just something above freezing!
Well, we're a little older now (supposed to be wiser); thirty pounds heavier, with a wife, two kids and a mortgage, and we're looking for lost youth. Ah, that's it — that's the cause of the Beetle craze: finding our lost youth!
There is absolutely no valid reason to restore a Beetle. There are better things to do with your time, and better investments. Restoring a Beetle is great therapy, dryer than fly fishing, and without the baggage of group therapy.
The Beetle may not be, at the present time, an investment grade antique (although certain early Beetles and convertibles are). It is certainly a special interest car, whose price will only appreciate. Recycled Jack has turned down an offer of $14,000 for his wife's ‘79 convertible, and we have heard of an early Ghia convertible offered for $16,000, but (alas!) you can still purchase a Beetle in need of repair for $500.
What Beetle should you restore? The most logical answer is to restore the Beetle you have, or closest to the one you had as a "first car". The Beetle you have is at least a devil you know, and anything can be fixed. You probably have some books on the car already, but if you don't, the first book to buy is the Complete Idiot Manual; this will give you the basics of the car. The second is for our restoration manual, and the third and fourth are the high-performance books. Read these for a few days, and then take a basketful of money, and come see us. We'll suggest a course of action.