Air-Cooled Survivor: 1970 Volkswagen Beetle

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The VW Type 1 (aka Beetle or Bug) was one of the most produced automobiles in history. From 1938 to 2003, 21.5 million copies of the quirky little car saw the light of day. The same platform was used for 65 years and most changes from one model run to another were minimal and hard to detect visually. In 1970, the Beetle gained a 1585-cc engine, its largest to date, so they all wore a badge that said “1600”. This ’70 Bug looks like a survivor and may only need two things: a tune-up and a new home.

As much as people would like to give credit elsewhere for the concept, it was Adolf Hitler’s brainchild. He thought that an inexpensive “people’s car” would be needed to navigate Germany’s growing roadway system. Engineered by Ferdinand Porsche, the first production Type 1 emerged in 1938 but little else was done with the vehicle until after World War II. All Beetles used a rear-mounted air-cooled engine which would later serve as an inspiration for the Chevrolet Corvair.

The 1970 Types 1 got to claim a bigger engine which was the primary change to the car that year. The success of the Beetle as an import prompted U.S. automakers to develop a slew of subcompacts of their own in the 1970s. The Bug looks original and has 58,000 miles, suggesting it’s spent more time in the garage than anywhere else. It will need new plugs and points, but the seller has already put on a new set of tires and seat covers for the front buckets.

While all VWs of the era still had drum brakes, this one now sports front discs. Everything is said to work, and it will come with a car cover and a few extra parts. And this example has a sunroof/ moonroof. While these machines were literally everywhere 50 years ago, you seldom see one now except at a VW club gathering. From Madisonville, Tennessee, this Volkswagen is available here on craigslist for $7,995  it was probably $1,995 when new). Thanks, Tony Primo, for the tip and trip down memory lane!

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  1. alphasudMember

    7995 is a fair price if there isn’t any rust in the heater channels and at the frame head where the axle beam bolts to the chassis. Always important to check these carefully before purchase. This looks like and should be the single port 1600 engine and the tin looks original. Car looks like the real deal.

    Like 13
  2. Doone

    Euro model tail lenses and bellows on the rear hood. Looks like it could be gray market model.

    Like 1
    • 19sixty5Member

      Doone, I always assumed European tail light lenses had the amber turn signals, what am I missing? I do see the blue-dots, and the standard reflectors above the bumpers. What exactly is the “bellows” you are referring to? Just looking to educate myself. My only recollection of the 70 model was my Dads, that I would drive when I was on leave from the Army in the early 70’s. I know more (but certainly far from everything) about the about the late 50’s through 67’s.

      Like 0
  3. LCL

    My 67 type 3 fastback had front discs, rear drums..
    Not ventilated. – like on my later motorcycles.
    Twin carbs, pancake engine. Not fuel injection yet.

    Like 1
  4. Marshall

    It’s fun to read some of these posts. This is a very nice bug. Well worth the money that’s ask. 75 would probably sell it. But readers pick it apart like it’s a junk yard ornament. I agree some junk comes on barn finds but this bugs not one of them..

    Like 5
  5. dwcisme

    My dad owned 4 Bugs, a new 1970 being the last car he bought. Paid just under $2K including auxiliary gas heater, wheel trim rings and “ram air” scoop on the cabin intake. They could take having several teenaged drivers but not the road salt from a northern winter.

    Like 4
  6. Mike F.

    Interesting reply Jesse. I agree with Steve RM. The other day there was a blatantly political comment about one of the current presidential candidates. I responded “please lose the politics. This is a car site”. My comment was not posted, his remained. Why?

    Like 1
    • Jesse JesseStaff

      Weren’t the political comments all deleted too? We try to stay on top of it but unfortunately some readers just cant help themselves.

      Like 1

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