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Classic VW BuGs Beetle tip, go Custom or Stay Vintage Stock? That’s the Question.

Go custom or stay “Vintage” stock? That is the question, in this tip.


When I go to VW shows, most of them bring in a flurry of custom, radical beetles to show off. The stock vintage sections have been dropping in numbers over the years. Sometimes 95% or more of the bugs at shows are flat out CUSTOM. There have been times when I go to VW shows where all the custom bugs look the same, that I literally had to just STOP filmming the show because it was getting so redundant. Too many VWs dropped, narrowed, pimped, suped up, it gets irritating to me. Everyone is trying to be different with their custom bug, but in essence they are not, you are just like everyone else.

Too many early bugs like ovals and splits are customized. These are the VWs that should be preserved, production numbers for these cars were not as high as the later bugs. Many times, bug people ask me why they can’t get the prices for their cars when it comes time to sell them. Ya know you may have a ton of time, money, and effort into getting your car the way YOU like it, but once you shave off the historical essence of the car, you lose an audience, you diminish its value. I tell this to a lot of VW owners and many seem to still not get it. I have the track record to prove it, I have only lost money on one beetle, and that was my first beetle that I ever bought.

I see so many bugs for sale on eBay that are customized, and week after week, months after months, they do not sell. I even see some up for over a year and no sale! Sometimes you have to face reality and say, “hmmm, maybe I am doing something wrong.” Guys ask me, “Chris I can’t sell my bug, what do I do?” First thing I say is, “put white walls on it.” I don’t care if they are porta-walls (the fakey white wall), PUT EM ON! And then they say, “but I don’t like white walls.” SO I take deep breath, take a step back and… “Ya know, I don’t care how you feel about them, but the mass audience CARES about them, do what the buyer wants.”

In the past, (believe me I have tested the waters) white walls boost the $$ sale of the cars by a few thousand dollars. It makes the car PoP. And you do not have to buy expensive white walls, you can go with porta-walls. So for a fraction of the cost, the return is good. I have a video here on it.

VW mags are not making the scene any better either, much of their stories are about the customs anyway. So this entices vw owners to go pimp mode, slammed, chopped, etc.  like as if it is being different, but it really isn’t.

Bottom line is, STOCK VINTAGE increases in value. Now I don’t always go FULL 100% stock on all my cars, I sometimes put in cloth interiors that were not originally offered, but I always keep the vintage feel regardless, it fits, and its return is great. Custom is a FAD, and fads die out. You tell me, who’s buying a bug that went custom in the 80s or 90s or 2000s? Are those styles going to be remembered? HELL NO. Well they might be remembered, but as the time goes on that particular custom style that was popular then, will be ugly NOW and for the future.

Too many times the bugs are customized beyond belief, and sometimes there is then no way to go back to its original state. I cringe when I see this on a split or oval.

The only positive side to this…the stock bugs are the rare ones. Meaning, they will be sought after for years to come.

Chris Vallone

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Last Updated: October 29th, 2012