Lovable Bug: 1979 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet

Who doesn’t love a VW Beetle? For all their (many, well-documented) flaws, they are charm on wheels, and if you want to slather charm on top of charm, it’s hard to beat a Karmann cabriolet. Here’s a lovingly maintained example from the last full year of cabriolet production, 1979, being offered on eBay by its longtime owners in Oxnard, California for $12,500. Everyone who wants to sell a Beetle convertible, by the way, should travel to Oxnard to take their pictures, because that is one heck of a great beach backdrop. They should probably try to borrow that surfboard, too.

The blue California plates read “ILYKRED,” and clearly, so do the owners of this Beetle. When they bought it in 1983, they were specifically looking for a Mars Red ’79, and they’ve repainted it twice to preserve the hue. The top has also been replaced twice; both were last done in 2014.

Also new in 2014 was the fuel-injected 1600-cc flat four. Rather than rebuilding the original, a replacement was sourced from Germany—one of the last available from the Vaterland, according to the sellers. Mileage on the chassis is nearing 200,000, and a complete maintenance log for the car since 1983 is included in the sale. Even with the heart transplant, however, the sellers note that smogging this car is a pain, and they are leaving that pain to the new owner if the car remains in California.

It’s clear that this car has been well loved; it’s only being sold because the sellers are moving to Mexico full-time and can’t take it with them. Even with this impending life change presumably creating some urgency, they note that they are not flexible on the $12,500 asking price, so now it’s up to you to decide: is the price as lovable as the car?

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Comments

  1. DrinkinGasoline

    As an owner of a 66 with documented VWCA 23K on the clock, I’m not a fan beyond 1967. 66 and 67 were the last true Type 1’s aside the oval’s and the split’s.

  2. Rodney J Massarella

    With it being close to the coast, there might be a hint of rust somewhere. Price seems high

  3. Chebby

    Sellers always claim they are not going to deal with smog, but legally, CA insists that they do. Better sell it to someone from out of state.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      The very reason that the Mexican version VW Type 1 “City” never made it state side. No Soup For You !

  4. John M.

    Here in Massachusetts, any car 15 years or older are exempt from getting smogged so the Beetle will feel have no problem here. It only has to undergo the annual mandatory safety check like others vehicles do here.

    • Dave Wright

      We don’t do any sort of smog in my Idaho county…….don’t miss it either.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      In Ohio, 1990 and earlier is exempt from emissions and that is only subject to limited county regulations. Mostly in the North. Damn Yankee’s !!

  5. Doug Bohm

    Well, hard to tell, but it does look like the wheels and hub caps have suffered a bit from the salt in the air. Such a shame that this car was “uglified” by US safety regs. But that doesn’t explain all of the interior plastic. That falls squarely on the shoulders of the German’s greed to increase their profit margins. But why waste $12,500. If you can’t spring for a ’67 or earlier, buy another car.

  6. San Jose Scott

    Was looking at getting a convertible beetle for our fun car. A super beetle like this has the advantage of having more room in the trunk and passenger area. With growing kids that is important. It is also more livable on the highway filled with kids and their beach stuff. When the fuel injection system is in good repair they work well.

    Agree that the ’67 and earlier ones look the best. They also feel great tooling around on surface streets, more personality. Man though the cost for a decent convertible is high.

    With regards to pricing, for a super this price is about as high as they go. For that I would expect a bit more. For sure they should have it smogged if it stays in CA. A knowledgeable mechanic can get these tuned so that they pass and then run well

  7. RoughDiamond

    Some Super Beetles have a front end shimmy you cannot correct. My father thought the front end shimmy (felt in steering wheel) could be corrected with balancing the tires, then replacing the tires. Neither stopped it or even slightly improved it. So then he took his ’71 SB to the old school VW shop we had done business with for years. The mechanic checked the car over from front to back and inside and out. The mechanic told my father that he could not correct it, that it was an issue that occurred during the production process that affected some SBs and not others. His got the shimmy. I’d suggest anyone interested in buying a particular SB to drive it as much as you can.

    • CaseyJones

      That was suspension alignment in an incorrect setting. There was a special eccentric bolt made to correct the problem of it occurred (and usually did). These are great handling cars with a little more sway bar and shocks. On 6.5″ wheels and worn older tires and a tired old suspension My Super Beetle was impressive down a backroad and predictable. Brakes fair tires old… and I’m still amazed I didn’t kill myself driving it as hard as I did. It always got me home, what a great little car it was indeed. Not as cool or exciting to see as a pre67′ but almost 3 generations in improvements as far as feeling. Almost like a jump from a long hood and a early 80’s Carrera. When I drove others 60’s cars (largely stock) the were such dogs & probably in poor tune. Ours ran like a top 200k+, two teenagers 15 or 20 years, oil changed maybe once a year, valves left alone for 60 or 80k and you couldn’t kill it. A blast in the snow as well. I want another just not a Cab. Another Sport bug in Sapphire Blue this time maybe? The GSX Beetle with the black bonnnet and boot was very very cool. These are what became the “German Look” beetles popular in the late 90’s. Stock looking is great and these as stock car were only moderately tricked out and ran forever. I want another damn…

  8. RoughDiamond

    Some Super Beetles have a front end shimmy you cannot correct. My father thought the front end shimmy (felt in steering wheel) could be corrected with balancing the tires, then replacing the tires. Neither stopped it or even slightly improved it. So then he took his ’71 SB to the old school VW shop we had done business with for years. The mechanic checked the car over from front to back and inside and out. The mechanic told my father that he could not correct it, that it was an issue that occurred during the production process that affected some SBs and not others. He got one it did. I’d suggest anyone interested in buying a particular SB, to drive it as much as you can.

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