Working Factory A/C! 1994 Volkswagen Beetle

Despite the fact that Volkswagen Beetle production ended decades ago for the United States, the company’s Mexico operations continued to manufacture it and the classic bay window Bus for years afterward. While the design largely stayed the same, some minor enhancements were made to ensure the antiquated design got a few updates in the creature comfort department, but these tweaks were minimal at best. The Beetle seen here is one of the Mexican-built models with a production year of 1994 and comes with factory air conditioning. Find it here on craigslist in Delray Beach, Florida for $7,900, and thanks to Barn Finds reader Pat L. for the find.

The Beetle has been in the country for a few years, according to the seller, and features exceptionally low mileage. The odometer reads 32,342 kilometers, which translates to approximately 20,062 original miles! What’s amazing is that Mexico continued to build the Beetle through 2003, so this isn’t even a “new” example by those standards. Still, the low mileage has translated into a body that remains in fine shape, polished hubcaps that shine like new, perfectly preserved chrome bumpers, and nary a sign of rust in sight. The color combo is attractive as well.

The interior looks largely the same as the last Beetle to be sold in the United States in 1979, with a few differences; the dash has been revised and the A/C controls are nicely integrated; the steering wheel is the same one you’d find in a late 80s Golf, Jetta, or GTI. The seat upholstery is obviously a more modern-looking cloth pattern, but many of the other details – from the bus-like gear shifter to the single gauge in the cluster – looks just like the Beetle your father drove in high school. The seller notes the air conditioning is extra rare, which makes sense given the Beetle never lost its identity as an economy car, even after decades of continuous production.

The engine is a familiar sight, with one major tweak: beginning in 1993, the traditional carburetor was replaced by a Digifant fuel injection system, which makes this Beetle even more appealing to anyone who has wanted that old-school look without the old-school mechanical bits. Electronic ignition was also introduced in 1993, along with other enhancements like hydraulic lifters. Overall, despite looking like something made in 1973, this Mexican-market Beetle is an intriguing choice for a classic car you won’t mind using as the occasional daily driver. The asking price seems more than fair to me; what about you?

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    I just went to a popular VW site and it looks like there are vendors selling A/C and fuel injection parts for these so at least you still have the ability to keep one on the road. Having port injection should make these run real nice and get good fuel economy. I remember when I drove my 72 I had to be aware of weather that caused my carb and intake to ice up. Only took one time pulling out in traffic to verify you had throttle response before doing so. I think I threw my underwear away that day!

    Like 12
    • kaf

      My father had a ’72 Super Beetle that had a Holley “bugspray” (if memory serves) that iced up all the time.

      He finally ran one of the heater ducts to the carb that he controlled with one of the heater controls.l

      Like 2
    • JoeNYWF64

      Did your ’72 not have a flexible hot air hose or even steel pipe from the exhaust manifold to the air cleaner, like on American cars?
      It’s possible today’s ethanol gas may eliminate the above problem, even with no heated air to the carb in cold damp weather.
      1st time i noticed on these that the wipers are pointing in the wrong direction!

      Like 1
      • alphasud Member

        Yes, the first thing I did was to install an original oil bath air cleaner with the preheat. Also made sure the exhaust cross over was preheating the intake manifold. What irritated me was my neighbor had a 74 and that drove awesome. I was in high school at the time so other shops were helping me with this.

  2. Bob C.

    It’s too bad these were unable to stick around a while longer in the U.S.

    Like 5
  3. mike

    Someone isn’t doing their research again. To meet US emissions requirements in 1975 the 1600 cc engine was introduced with Bosch L-Jetronic Fuel Injection. So the current car was probably updated but not a switchover to FI from a carburetor.

    Like 1
    • Brent in Winnipeg

      Yes, my 1975 Beetle had the Bosch fuel injection. Would start in any weather, just not produce any heat. :)

      Like 2
      • Man From Shilo

        And we all know that living in Winnipeg you NEED heat! 😄

        Like 1
    • alphasud Member

      I believe the writer was referring to the Mexican market VW. You are correct Bosch L-Jet on 75 and up. Digifant is much better. Digital ignition control along with multi-port injection. When I worked on them back in the 80’s most had been removed BC not many people knew how to tune them properly when the engines started getting tired. Digifant has maps built in to compensate.

      Like 2
  4. Bobby Q

    Craigslist post states it was imported from Mexico about a decade ago. How was it legally imported to the US ten years ago? It certainly won’t pass safety and emissions, and won’t pass exemptions as a classic as 10 years ago this vehicle wasn’t a classic.

    Like 1
    • Robert Coker

      I worked for a used Porsche dealership here in the Atlanta area who had a few of these. The issue with these Mexican Beetles is that they can not be sold as vehicle for the road. If I recall, they didn’t have VIN numbers or some other issue that made them illegal. He had them for YEARS, trying to figure out how to get rid of them.

      Like 1
      • Erik Tisher

        Based on what I’ve seen on other sites, Florida will pretty much title/plate any gray-market vehicle, 25-year rule or not. Caveat emptor, but there’s a good chance you’d be GTG with this one.

  5. JoeNYWF64

    If the a/c works, why is there a FAN behind the back seat?! Is that factory & for back up if the a/c breaks? I would rather it be up front. lol

    Like 1
    • Joe Fair

      Air cooled.

      • JoeNYWF64

        The craigslist ad has been removed that had a clear pic of the fan, which looked plastic & electric.
        You can still see it here, tho not as good …
        http://cdn-0.barnfinds.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/red-beetle-rear.jpg
        It is mounted INSIDE the car behind the rear seat & points upward at a 45 degree angle & forward. I doubt it’s for engine cooling. lol

        I’m quite amazed that ANYBODY!!! stuck with this car in cold areas when the heater was needed. & did not complain like hell & force VW to recall/fix them, & actually drove them in the winter! Did old air cooled Porsches have the same problem? If not, why?
        I was very aggravated & cold when the heat was only lukewarm in my old Falcon when the heater core become clogged up.

        Like 1
    • alphasud Member

      I looked at the Mexican built A/C kits and that box is the condenser. Instead of mounting the condenser up front or under the floor they came up with this design. Not sure how they manage airflow but my intuition tells me they pull air from the cabin to cool the condenser and then push it out underneath.

      • David Coleman

        All of these Mexico models still used the antiquated, SWING AXLE, rear suspension. In the US they switched to a much improved CV joint axle. This improved ride quality, and prevented the DREADED roll over problem, and improved tread life. Swing axles were what condemned the 1960-1964 Covair. Chevy went to a Corvette style rear axle, on Covairs’ but Ralf Nader destroyed the Covair, with his Unsafe at any speed, report.

  6. Howard A Member

    Should have went with the vintage Bug than that crappy dirt bike. They aren’t exactly rare, yet, and not so nice examples come up for around $2-3g’s, so it could still happen. The a/c worries me a bit, I’d have to think you’d have to turn it off to make “Turners Grade” ( AG reference I bet Scotty catches), but with the squarebody, with all the improvements, still only musters low teens, an economical ride would be nice. I wonder if they’d let me over the passes in a Bug with snow tires? Again, little pricey, but a nicer Bug you probably won’t find here. I read, production of this style VW amazingly went on until 2003, although some 2004’s were made. This car in 1994 celebrated it’s 40th year in Mexico, making this a great find.

  7. Dennis

    Back in the early 1990s a car dealer in CT was bringing in Mexican built VW Beetles for sale. This was before the New Beetle was released. However the DMV wouldn’t allow him to sell them, as they didn’t meet US standards for safety and emissions. Buyer beware on this one

    Like 1
  8. AJ

    I had a 68 I bought a couple years old. Lots of south Texas cars had dealer installed ac. Flat out it went 62 mph, when the air kicked on it dropped to 55!

  9. PairsNPaint

    IIRC, didn’t all the Mexican Beetles still use the pre-’69 swing axle set-up instead of the more stable full IRS?

  10. Louis Chen

    This looked nice enough..too bad it’s too far! from the picture of the engine, I’m not sure if this is a F.I. engine? As for the A/C, I’d stay away from it. I recalled a few years back, I worked on one which had a bad compressor. It was a challenge to find one! The early dealer installed A/C units used three different compressors! This one has a nice touch with hydraulic lifers b/c adjusting the valves was a big hassel-every 3000 miles and the engine must be stone cold! It would be nice to check if this one can pass the emission/safety inspections. I do see many of these Mexican Beetles running around here in southeast Texas and they’re Tx. registered….next time I see one I’d check witht owner regarding the inspection….I still have old ’71 Super Beetle and the limited edition ’74 super Sports SB with the rare Recaro seat! I replace the original engines with the improved Mexican engines anf they ran quite good! Long live the Bug!

    Like 1
  11. moosie moosie Member

    I worked in the warranty department for World Wide Volkswagen in Orangeburg New York. We were the distributors for Volkswagen in the tri-state area, N.Y., N.J. & Connecticut, Volkswagen of America imported the cars and we distributed them. This was in 1968 to 1970. From what I remember if a dealer sold a car with A.C. it was installed by an aftermarket company at the Port of Elizabeth, Port of Newark where the cars, type 1, type 2 & type 3’s were unloaded after their ocean voyage and made ready (removing cosomlene mainly) for their transport to the dealers in our market and I’d imagine other areas of the nearby U.S., so I cant say how it was in later years but from the picture for this one the A.C. has the same look as those Beetles did back then. I don’t think the factory ever made a car optioned with A.C. As a rule the A.C. worked very well & I dont remember too many warranty claims for them, the few that did show up were referred to the aftermarket company that sold and installed them.

    Like 2
  12. Booper

    I had a 1972 regular Beetle with A/C. I bought used it was two years old when I got it. When you stopped in traffic it quit working, no power when it was on, you would lose 10 mph when you turn it on going down the highway. I fixed the water problem, twin Webber carburetors, headers,

    Like 1
  13. Phathead Air Cooled Phil

    I’ve had 9 V.W.’s. I will NEVER own another one EVER again.

    Now, if I can just sell my air cooled Porsche I’ll be Phine!

  14. djkenny

    Neat, but no real Value. They are worth less than a true Vintage model. $3000 buys a model with 75k miles in the 90’s. At best.
    There was a company that transferred new Mexican Beetles onto old pans to sell as “Restored” in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. To make them Legal. The Mexican Beetle was a $7000 car New in 2000. They would turn a few every month in the USA with old Pans at $10-11k range. Some reported they were not built as well as the German originals.

    I would not want AC saddled to that motor.

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