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Thread: Bring back the Old Beetle?

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Bring back the Old Beetle?

    The New Beetle is a very nice car but it costs way too much - as do all new cars. $10k is the least you can possibly spend (on the Nissan Versa with next to no options and too much in the way of complicated, can't-fix-yourself electronics).

    What's needed in these desperate times is a return to a true "people's car" - something that's not only priced in line with our downsized buying power but also something we can keep running with a $25 set of ratchets, duct tape and RTV.

    That car is the Old Beetle.

    It may have been the perfect car. In continuous production for nearly 50 years, largely unchanged - on the order of 40 million of them made. The only reason they're not still being made is because (drumroll, please) our friends in the government outlawed them - albeit in a roundabout way.

    For our safety, government demanded that new cars meet certain crashworthiness standards. The Old Beetle - a car conceived in the mid-1930s - could not be made to meet standards invented by American bureaucrats 40 years later. This is one reason why the Old Beetle could no longer be sold here after 1979 - the last year it was offered new in the United States.

    Reason number two for the Old Beetle's demise had to do with emissions.

    Our government once again decreed that all new cars could only produce so much pollution - and not a puff more than that. The Old Beetle's air-cooled horizontally-opposed "boxer" engine was simple and rugged and cheap - but couldn't make the cut.

    This is why the Old Beetle was dropped from the rolls in Mexico, too - where it was still being made as recently as 2002.

    These things - safety and low emissions - are of course desirable. But they're not free - or even cheap. An Old Beetle's Solex 1-barrel downdraft carburetor was the basic component of its entire fuel system (the rest being a gas tank, some fuel lines and so on). The carburetor cost less than $100 for the whole thing, brand new. Your ten-year-old kid could install the thing, too. Literally.

    How much do you suppose it would cost you to replace the electronic fuel injection system on a New Beetle - or even to do a major repair?

    Think you could do it yourself?

    An Old Beetle has no ABS or even rear disc brakes. The "electronics" consist of a map light and the battery that's under the backseat (assuming the floorpans are solid). There are four forward gears, no hydraulic clutch, skinny 13 inch tires on stamped steel wheels and a bodyshell that weighs less than 2,000 pounds - which lets you get by with an engine that makes not much more power than a good-sized garden tractor.

    The thing runs on the cheapest, lowest grade fuel (think Mexico) and can be swapped out for a new (or junkyard) replacement, when the time comes, with a floor jack and for a couple hundred bucks.

    No radiator, no coolant, no hoses - no bullshit.

    It was, briefly put, the distilled essence of "car" - perhaps the best four-wheeled appliance ever created. And ultimately, that is what a car is, or ought to be: an appliance. A means of getting to work and back efficiently and economically. The rest - air bags, GPS, leather, 400 hp engines - is just so much frou-frou. Nice frou-frou, to be sure. But all it does is jack up the price and commit us to debt-slavery in perpetuity. For unlike a house or a decent stock portfolio, a car is not an "investment." It is a money pit. And it is one of the reasons why so ay of us are so broke right now.

    We bought into the spin; we wanted to be that guy (or girl) in the commercial. We liked to jangle our keys, drop brand names and sit self-satisfied in traffic, luxuriating in our leather seats.

    But just think how much richer we'd all be if, instead of having pissed away $30,000 or $40,000 on the new Whatsit (which five or six years down the road is worth $15k, if that) we'd purchased something like an Old Beetle - a car that cost maybe $5,000 - and put the rest in the bank. Or paid down the mortgage. Or some productive thing.

    We'd be a lot less pinched now, for one thing.

    We can't cry of over spilt milk, of course. But we can learn from the past. And we could have cars like the Old Beetle again, if we wanted. It's just a question of telling six-figure bureaucrats in DC to shove off - and of course, giving our own selves a reality check.

    Wouldn't it be great?
    Last edited by Eric; 02-16-2009 at 05:24 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Get a Tata Nano.

    VW were working on a rear-engined entry-level car called the "Go", but have since revised their plans and now it's FWD.

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    Get a Tata Nano.

    VW were working on a rear-engined entry-level car called the "Go", but have since revised their plans and now it's FWD.
    Screw the Guptas. I won't send a penny to either India or China or any other Turd World country in order to help finance the ruin of my own country (and the Western world).

    This country needs to look out for itself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Screw the Guptas. I won't send a penny to either India or China or any other Turd World country in order to help finance the ruin of my own country (and the Western world).

    This country needs to look out for itself.
    I wholeheartedly agree. I have trouble with those who buy Korean made cars. I have nothing against the cars per se, but the low wages paid to their employees.

  5. #5
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Screw the Guptas. I won't send a penny to either India or China or any other Turd World country in order to help finance the ruin of my own country (and the Western world).

    This country needs to look out for itself.
    You'll have to burn your computer then, I'm sure it came from China, or at least significant parts of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    You'll have to burn your computer then, I'm sure it came from China, or at least significant parts of it.
    Yeah. I have written Apple computer explaining to them that I would pay $300.00 more for one of their machines if it was made in the USA. Unfortunately, there is little choice in many areas.

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    You'll have to burn your computer then, I'm sure it came from China, or at least significant parts of it.
    If it were possible to buy an American-made machine I would. And I wish it could be made illegal (or very expensive) for companies like Apple to "outsource" their production to places such as India. This labor arbitrage freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee market bullshit is killing the country.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
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    3 in our family

    At one stage we had 3 Beetles in our family , 2 1970 1500cc and one 1958 1200.

    There was something nice about driving them. Basic yes. but not uncomfortable.
    Bugger the bureaucrats!!! They were probably bribed by the car makers and the do gooders to make the changes for "our good"
    Bugger the polies too!!
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1 View Post
    At one stage we had 3 Beetles in our family , 2 1970 1500cc and one 1958 1200.

    There was something nice about driving them. Basic yes. but not uncomfortable.
    Bugger the bureaucrats!!! They were probably bribed by the car makers and the do gooders to make the changes for "our good"
    Bugger the polies too!!
    I had a '73 Super Beetle (1600 cc) and loved that car. It was slow, yes, but had personality and was fun to drive in its own way. I love speed, but speed is not essential to having a good time.

    I continue to be on the lookout for a '73-'74 Thing reasonably close to where I live.... I plan to paint it Afrika Korps camouflage; the perfect car for the coming Depression!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    If it were possible to buy an American-made machine I would. And I wish it could be made illegal (or very expensive) for companies like Apple to "outsource" their production to places such as India. This labor arbitrage freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee market bullshit is killing the country.
    Agreed. Although components are made in China and other countries, there are a couple of US assemblers.

    http://www.systemax.com
    http://www.xicomputer.com/

    If you purchase a computer, you can also buy a computer from a local place, which is a hodgepodge of parts. At least by doing the above, some of the content is actually done and supported here.

    I absolutely hate Dell, HP, Toshiba, Sony and others who manufacture their computers overseas. That said, I do have an Apple Imac, which is unfortunately made in China. I bought it used, so I did not send any additional money overseas during the transaction. There are rumors circulating around that they may be assembling one of their products in the USA in the future.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    I had a '73 Super Beetle (1600 cc) and loved that car. It was slow, yes, but had personality and was fun to drive in its own way. I love speed, but speed is not essential to having a good time.

    I continue to be on the lookout for a '73-'74 Thing reasonably close to where I live.... I plan to paint it Afrika Korps camouflage; the perfect car for the coming Depression!
    We had those on the Hertz fleet in NZ. They were more popular that the 1500s because of the extra luggage room.
    They were the 1302 in NZ
    In South Africa we had the 1303 which had curved windscreen and larger round tail lights.

    In SOuth Africa I had a 411L for a time. I was auto which intially gave a headache but it got me around southern Africa
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

  12. #12
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1 View Post
    We had those on the Hertz fleet in NZ. They were more popular that the 1500s because of the extra luggage room.
    They were the 1302 in NZ
    In South Africa we had the 1303 which had curved windscreen and larger round tail lights.

    In SOuth Africa I had a 411L for a time. I was auto which intially gave a headache but it got me around southern Africa
    Yes!

    Super Beetles also had the updated front suspension and larger turns signal lights, etc.

    With 10-15 percent more power, a Super Beetle would have enough of a margin to be able to to comfortably keep pace with modern traffic. Lots of speed parts exist for the VW, so it's not a problem to bump the hp up.... .

    I hope I can locate a Thing this year. Need to spend some of my soon to be worthless US dollars on tangible goods...!

  13. #13
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    I had a '73 Super Beetle (1600 cc) and loved that car. It was slow, yes, but had personality and was fun to drive in its own way. I love speed, but speed is not essential to having a good time.

    I continue to be on the lookout for a '73-'74 Thing reasonably close to where I live.... I plan to paint it Afrika Korps camouflage; the perfect car for the coming Depression!
    Going fast in a slow car is a lot more fun than going slow in a fast car.

  14. #14
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    Going fast in a slow car is a lot more fun than going slow in a fast car.
    I absolutely agree with this.

    Plus, you can work on your skills at speeds that aren't so high if you screw up there could be real trouble.

    It's similar on a bike. You can develop into a much better rider learning to really work a 250 cc bike than you ever will starting out on a 1,000 cc super sport - the latter of which is much more likely to get you killed or crippled.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Yes!

    Super Beetles also had the updated front suspension and larger turns signal lights, etc.

    With 10-15 percent more power, a Super Beetle would have enough of a margin to be able to to comfortably keep pace with modern traffic. Lots of speed parts exist for the VW, so it's not a problem to bump the hp up.... .

    I hope I can locate a Thing this year. Need to spend some of my soon to be worthless US dollars on tangible goods...!

    Or a trip Downunder
    Mind food???
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

  16. #16
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1 View Post
    Or a trip Downunder
    Mind food???
    I'd very much like to visit Australia and NZ; hell, emigrating there might be necessary as the uS collapses!

  17. #17
    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    I'd very much like to visit Australia and NZ; hell, emigrating there might be necessary as the uS collapses!
    Better do it fast then
    Think we are on the decline too!
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

  18. #18
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1 View Post
    Better do it fast then
    Think we are on the decline too!
    One thing you guys have over us is a still relatively small population on a huge landmass - and no "urban proletariat" to speak of.

    We have about 100 million too many people here and no good way to get rid of them....

  19. #19
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    One thing you guys have over us is a still relatively small population on a huge landmass - and no "urban proletariat" to speak of.

    We have about 100 million too many people here and no good way to get rid of them....
    And no gun culture.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    One thing you guys have over us is a still relatively small population on a huge landmass - and no "urban proletariat" to speak of.

    We have about 100 million too many people here and no good way to get rid of them....

    I thought the shrub was trying to do that...in Iraq!
    Sadly we are following the USA in many ways.......
    gated communities....= paranoia in my mind.
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

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