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

Added October 29, 2012 by Chris Vallone

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

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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.

**TIP**
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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Categories: VW Restoration Tips


10 comments
kstanfield
kstanfield

I'm 30 years old, I bought my 1972 VW Super Beetle when I was 15yrs old as my first car. The engine blew within 2 yrs of owning it. I have kept it all of these year and will begin the process this coming spring to fully restore my first car. I'm keeping the car pretty classic looking, however I'm pulled between keeping the paint color stock for a 1972 (Marine Blue) or going with the color I really enjoy VW stock L380 Tourquoise (this is stock for a 1963 VW Beetle, I think) I guess my question is, Is it total sacrilege to mismatch the years with the stock VW paint options? I loooove the L380 but I feel since I'm doing all of this work, I should put the effort back into making the car original. Opinion? 

EhrenSorenson
EhrenSorenson

Hi I have a 61 sunroof bug that I have concerns on how to approach it. been in family for years. I think it's all original motor frame and body but I'm having a hard time understanding the charts and numbers that I see on the net. I also wondering basic steps to restoring a bug/vehicle. is it body paint interior motor. or interior body paint motor? and books to buy? I've watched a lot of your videos... but I don't have 25K to spend to have you fix it...that I would like.

any help on this would be nice thank you.

All Ways in Atlanta
All Ways in Atlanta

Thanks for the advice.   Just got a 72 convertible for my son and I to rebuild and was thinking about seat belts.   Ours seems to only have the lap belt.  Would it affect the value if modern seats. like possibly from a 2000 bug convertible with the shoulder seat belt built into the top of the seat, affect the value of the car.   Would changing the front brakes to disc brakes be an issue.   And how about slight engine modifications like electric fuel pumps and so on.   Obviously I am not a purist, but I am interested in preserving the overall basic look of a VW Bug.  What do you think?

AdamBondi
AdamBondi

I couldn't agree more. Whilst I love an Oldskool Cal look there is something special about seeing the original Beetle in all it's glory. It's why we fell in love with them in the first place.

classicvwbugs
classicvwbugs moderator

@kstanfield As long as the car looks good, and somewhat period, then go with it.  Just be sure to gut the car completely, so when they paint, they paint everything.  No old color should show.

classicvwbugs
classicvwbugs moderator

@EhrenSorenson Well if you are going to do the work yourself, you need to strip the car down first to a bear shell.  Gut the car and take all components off of it.  Interior needs to come out, chrome, floors, door panels, wiring, etc.  Send it to a painter, when it comes back from paint, assembly begins.   As the car is out to paint, you can work on the motor, seats, cleaning bolts, little parts that need painting and such can get done.  So when it comes back from paint you are ready to put it back together.  Take a bunch of pics before, during and after the strip, so you know how to put it all back.

kstanfield
kstanfield

@classicvwbugs @kstanfield 

Absolutely! There is a VERY custom color on it now and the person that did it, failed at quality. The paint chips really bad (always has), so we will have to take it all the way down which is just better to do anyway. I totally agree with you about the white walls. Very classy.

EhrenSorenson
EhrenSorenson

@classicvwbugs @EhrenSorenson I know the heater vents are in need of replacement. How hard is it to take the body off the frame? it looks relatively easy...but videos always do make it look like that. I it possible to do that in a home shop ie no car lift to help. 

thank you.