Local History: 1974 Volkswagen Beetle

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These days, an old vehicle’s history can sometimes be equally as important as the vehicle’s condition. This particular car, a 1974 Beetle with 80,000 miles and in good overall nick, is for sale here on craigslist in the small town of Gratz, PA and has some local history in Central Pennsylvania…

At first look, we think: “What’s the sticker residue on the fenders and roof?” Upon closer inspection, we see “WQLV” and “Radio News” which, after a quick web search, tells us of a car that likely once belonged to a Top-40-format local-focused Class A FM radio station of about 780 watts in Millersburg, Pennsylvania (I was unable to find a picture of this car in-service on short deadline).

Imagine a small-town reporter, carrying a cassette recorder and adorned in fedora and tan trenchcoat, zipping around town in this Beetle. His day consists of an interview with elderly Mrs. Whatsername about her prize-winning Apple Pie in the morning, heading out to the highway expansion project and snapping a few pictures with his Minolta 870 over lunch, then hustling over for a Q-and-A with the local Department Store Mens’ department manager on the latest trend in Polyester suits. He returns the car to the station in the “Press” parking spot, eager to get typing on that Smith Corona and have all three on the Editor’s desk in time for the 5-o’clock live-read broadcast.

The seller of this piece of local history tells us that it has been garaged for the last 25 years, has no rust but does have a recent tune-up and new brakes. They say that it has a “fluid drive” transmission, which I believe means the semi-automatic that was available on later Bugs. All that said, what do you think? Does the history matter as much as the condition?

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