Ran When Parked: 1969 VW Beetle Convertible

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It’s hard to imagine a high school kid not wanting to be seen in a VW convertible in 1987, especially given the alternatives in 1987. Not every parent had a Mustang or other old pony car to pass on to their kid, but more likely a “K Car” or similar. Meanwhile, this rejected VW is listed on craigslist in North Republic, Missouri for $1,200. If it’s not too rusty and the engine is not stuck, the price looks really reasonable. It is a couple of years newer than the more popular beetles, but is still a cool car. It looks pretty complete except for the running boards.

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The question is, then, could you get this up to a “condition 4” car, running and driving, for less than $3,000 or are you better off finding a running convertible for $4k or $5k? Assuming the best, it would need at least fuel and brake system work as well as a top and upholstery work to make it drivable. And, would you stop there or do body and paint work? One could also install a dual port engine and add some horse power. Where would you stop?

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  1. Rick

    That’s a good buy for $1200

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  2. 64 bonneville

    The $1200 asking price is a little high for a car in this condition. The condition of the pan could make it an expensive daily driver. Non running, needing interior and top replacement, would put you up to about $4K over and above the cost of the car, and transportation charges. I priced an interior for a Marlin and the complete kit, not including headliner was around $3500, not including seat foam, or labor to install correctly.

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    • Davnkatz

      And, unless you live reasonably close, don’t forget the cost of getting it to where you DO live.

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  3. MountainMan

    Rick is right, $1200 is a good price. VW’s hold value and the convertibles are very desirable. Seller states the pans are good so the rust that’s visible may be all there is to deal with on this one as far as rust is concerned. I’ve been watching the Samba and CL for an early beetle and I doubt this will be a hard sale.

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  4. Zeppo

    I’d just drive it as is.

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  5. john verityMember

    I bought a VW convertible like this one from Indiana. It looked pretty good but the floor pan rails (beams) that were added to the convertible to make up for no top stiffness were rusted paper thin. The car required major floor pan rail repairs, and was never worth the massive effort it took to get it stiff enough so that it wouldn’t fold in two.

    I had a similar vintage VW bus from the east coast that actually folded in the middle, left to right, because of terminal rust.

    Buyer beware.

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  6. DanielDC

    Price is a little high, but – In my opinion, anyone that is thinking about doing a project car should start out with a Beetle first. There are a lot still out there and parts are plentiful and inexpensive. The car doesn’t take up much space in the garage. The VW online community is great for help. I started with the Beetles and Love them. For someone getting into the hobby it is the best place to start.

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  7. Mya

    If it’s not rusty, sure. If it is, walk away.

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  8. George

    Beetles are very wrench friendly. Great for learning the basics and easy to work on. I kept a number of VW buses and a Thing running over the years. I wish I still had a couple of them. $1200 doesn’t sound too bad these days. It’s been a long time since you could by any Bug in any condition for that much. Let alone a convertible.

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  9. JoeT

    Looks like the engine was swapped for a dual-port already at some point. If the heater channels and support rails are solid the car would be salvageable. Would be a good learning experience for someone wanting to get an inexpensive project car. Easy to work on and parts are available but not too expensive. The most expensive part of the top (other than labor if taken to a shop) would be the wood bows/rear window surround if they are rotten. You can get a complete upholstery kit (seat covers and pads) for under $1k

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  10. Patrick McC.

    Depending on the structural integrity of the pan, this looks like a killer deal. Any pre-1971 (pre-Super Beetle) convertible is worth restoring. It looks like it has had a paint-over-all-the-rubber paint job in the original savanna beige but I think a car like this deserves a brighter color.

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  11. Peter R

    I think very few advertisers expect to get their asking price so given that one could buy it for less and minimal rust, this seems like a fair deal. I think everyone else has said how easy it is to work on and there is a plentiful parts supply – good place to start in our hobby.

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  12. Mike

    Looks like a good rebuild candidate to me. But to do a good job, one should first remove the body completely and make sure what there is of a chassis, is beefed up to be in good shape (the body parts unbolt in theory). The side rails are critical on any car, but super-critical on a convertible .. but they can be rebuilt. I once rebuilt a Porsche Speedster with holes in the side boxes. Replaced them completely with new 20g metal and lapped the ends over anything solid and had it brazed in place by a pro-welder. (Welding is too difficult and ‘hard spot’ for this job). Then, injected high density polyurethane foam into the new boxes (all around the heater tube) and the result was amazing .. as rigid as new .. and the heating was improved too. Covered the boxes with carpet of the original style and you’d never know it was reworked. Raced it a bit after that – see pic. Hope this VW gets another life. Once owned a similar brand new ’62 and added supercharger to it and also decambered the rear end with a transverse compensating spring .. fun car.

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