Classic Sports Car
Year of manufacture 1997 Recorded mileage 79,000 Asking price £12,500 Vendor Peter Vardy Heritage, Edinburgh; 0131 322 6712; petervardy.com/heritage
WHEN IT WAS NEW Price $5300 (1989) Max power 44bhp Max torque 72lb ft 0-60mph 20.5 secs Top speed 78mph Mpg 32.5
Back in the 1930s, when Ferdinand Porsche was sketching what would become the ‘People’s Car,’ I’m sure even he wouldn’t have thought for a moment that his creation would still be on sale into the next millennium. Such is the oft-told and diverse story of how the Volkswagen Beetle became not only the world’s bestselling car, but a cultural icon to boot that charmed its way on to movie screens. Not bad for a pretty basic means of transport, designed to get families from A to B on the newly built autobahns of Germany more than 80 years ago.
Of course, the car born in 1938 developed on its way through its life and, like any true Hollywood star, had quite a few nips and tucks in a desperate bid to hang on to its youthful appearance. Starting out with a heady 25bhp, by the time the final curtain of production came down as late as 2003, the hardy Type 1 had risen to a scarcely believable output of 50bhp.
When Europe was starting to lose interest in the ageing Beetle, Mexico couldn’t get enough of the lovable shape. Although a few cars were made through the 1960s at other sites in the country, full-scale production started in Puebla in 1967 and continued at the plant into the following century, bringing the number of Beetles made globally to an astonishing 21 million.
One of the many millions that puttered out the door of the Puebla plant is the car shown here, which Peter Vardy Heritage has for sale. Registered in 1997, this example has fewer than 80,000 miles on the clock – barely run in for a Beetle. Finished in a gorgeous dark purple, the bodywork is immaculate and comes with a mere smattering of brightwork. By the time this car rolled off the line, many of the shiny parts had been replaced by cheaper and more modern trim with matt black taking over from the once ubiquitous chrome.
The interior is akin to an early Golf, and looks positively modern with a padded, vinyl-covered dash instead of the more basic metal of earlier versions. Velour fabric covers the seats and there are even the decadent trappings of luxury with recliners in the front. Steady on, VW…
Where there was once a Beetle on every street up and down the country, the little Bug has over the decades been in and out of fashion more times than the, er, Beatles. This is a wonderful chance to snap up a rare, last-of-its-kind icon.