1968 VW BEETLE 1500
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
It is only to be expected that a 1493cc Beetle would offer improved performance than its lower-powered siblings and this example feels eager and willing, though a long motorway journey would prove tiring. The Beetle handles well and should cause no problems to anyone not used to driving a rearengined car. The ride is pretty good, given that the suspension has been lowered a fraction, the gearchange is typically rather vague, while the brakes are surprisingly competent.
Bodywork specialist Demon Body Styling fitted new wings and, we gather, sills and inner arch panels back in 2006 before respraying it in Rover Amaranth Pearl (metallic purple to the uninitiated), a colour that we feel really suits the saloon’s subtle lines. The work was obviously done to a very high standard because it has held up well over more than ten years’ use; the few significant scratches look like they could be dealt with easily. We could find no rust anywhere on the car and it looks just as good underneath. Sticklers for originality will not like the fact that the Volkswagen script on the engine cover has been replaced by one reading simply ‘Bug’ and there are a couple of holes where we imagine the ‘VW’ initials should be. All the chrome is in good order and the aftermarket Empi Eagles wheels are in excellent condition.
HOW’S THE INTERIOR?
It’s pretty groovy in here, with a purple-painted metal dashboard and matching door frames plus purple-edged black carpets and overmats. Seats have been reupholstered and are surprisingly comfortable and supportive, but the threespoke Mountney steering wheel is, Pioneer stereo and drilled window winders are not original. Door trims and the headlining are in good condition.
UNDER THE BONNET
The car starts instantly and ticks over with a smooth, vocal ‘wuffle’, suggesting a Beetle in rude health. The engine bay is extremely clean and well presented. The coil, distributor cap and plug leads look like recent replacements and everything looks stock. The transmission appears to be fine and there are no ominous noises or obvious leaks.
THE CCW VIEW
This car’s cheeky charm could win just about anyone over. The colour really suits it and all of the body restoration work has clearly been done to a high standard since it has lasted extremely well. The fact that it’s almost like a Hot Wheels model come to life is intrinsic to its overall appeal. The car has a comprehensive service history file, which includes MoT certificates dating back 20 years. It all seems to be in fine fettle mechanically and we reckon it’s good value for money, too.
The engine looks original, the leads and coil look new. Traditionalists may prefer an original-spec wheel.