Vintage, a word that describes something that comes from a past era, which is more often than not, the best of its kind. These can describe cars like Volkswagen beetles and the Volkswagen mini buses. They were the best and as such, they were the most popular and reliable option to pick from out there. It’s also hard to find vintage Volkswagen parts.
Right after the end of their era, these vintage Volkswagen cars could be found in troves in the market and bought for reasonable and cheaper prices. But, today its genuinely hard to find Volkswagen parts, and their cars are in a rot somewhere out there.
The cars are left in the dust, snow, and rain to be decomposed by the elements. Most car owners didn’t even keep their cars pristine, only a few bothered to use heated garages to store their rare cars. It’s impossibly hard to find these cars out there in the wild without some or other issues. The prices of these cars are exorbitant and mind-boggling, just because they are vintage and are out of circulation.
Here are 10 tips for buying a vintage Volkswagen car.
Deciding Before You Deal Hunt
Buy a vintage car is a huge decision because these cars are very fragile and need special attention. Which brings us to the decision making. Do you want to spend around a 100k on a luxurious factory new bus with full features and windows? Or, do you go for any run of the mill project Volkswagen or beetle for a hefty 10k with a lot of fixing and maintenance to do. It will take body straightening and also a really good mechanic to handle all the damage done over the years to the engine and chassis.
All of this and also how rare and desirable the car model is. The region the sellers live as well as the tax restrictions. And if the car is legitimately owned by the seller, or is it stolen or brought up by nefarious means. You always have to worry about a hundred and ten things before getting such a car, so be well prepared.
Inspection is a no brainer; you need to check the car thoroughly. Bring a flashlight, cleaner (preferably waterless), rag, paper, or tablet if that what you prefer, to jot down the pros and cons of what you find about the car. A flashlight especially will help you highlight the small and negligible. Never inspect the car in the ark or after the sun is down. You are not likely to find the tiny details like oil spills or hidden rusted parts in the car.
The first thing to look out for is the license number, VIN (a unique identifier in every vintage Volkswagen to identify them), oil spills, rust, engine tag, and the engine itself. You will need to inspect the underside of the car and use some sort of rolling platform or a blanket to do the job.
Deciding If It’s the Car You Want to Get
If you find a car for sale that seems to be resonating with your choice then it’s worth a look, but buying it on the spot is a recipe for disaster. You need to find that one car you have been looking for ages, not some car that happens to peak your interest as you were browsing the list of cars for sale. These can and always will have a varying degree of damage or restoration you need to do.
The rarer once will have a huge price hike and the more vintage it gets it veers towards the collector’s gallery. Collectors cars are rare and unique in their way; they might have some sort of quirks that make them stand out. And their price will spike equally with the interest shown, and might even show up in auctions. That is a problem on its own, that you need to address in your own time.
Restoration and Fixing
The mechanical restoration or fixing will be much more tolerable then restoring painting and rusted body. Body parts can be the bottom line for a deal, it’s never worth it to fix paint and body parts. A broken engine can easily be fixed or replaced for old vintage models with a bit of price.
Specialized skills, specialized machinery, dustless ventilated spray room, MIG welding kits, and such are needed. The costs pile up more and more if the car is particularly rare, as you can’t change the body parts from another car. More common vintage cars can be found and you can swap their good parts in your car.
Some parts are much harder to find than other cars. Many cars have had their parts like seat covers, bus middle seats, gas caps, fenders and such changed from the original factory parts, by the countless previous owners. This makes it very hard to get the car’s parts, the hunt for them takes a super long time and might even require manpower in some cases.
Rust is a huge factor, it’s a major problem. Most vintage Volkswagen is rusted to great degrees, and time and patience as well as at times body replacement in the worst-case scenarios. Rotten floors and swollen hoods as well as paints popping like a bloated porcupine in the summer heat. Some rust can’t be removed and can make the car useless completely. So be very careful before buying a vintage car.
If the car has some sort of wear inside, the smell is off-putting, the engine makes noises and the rust is prevalent and has a high price tag. This car is not worth your time unless it has a gimmick or feature that you are specifically looking for. Buy a normal priced car and fix those issues, those will have the same effect of this high priced broken car. Fixing it will be worth your time and save a bit of wasted money.
So the main points are, is this car worth your time, effort, and expenses? Are you inclined enough to get it? DO you have the heart for it?
Always take a few weeks to think about at the very least, before going there to buy it. There are always better deals out there, and a lot of social media groups have links to someone who will sell the same thing for lower prices.
Test Driving the Cars
The best method to obtain the wanted results is to take someone who has experience with these cars or drove them to know the feel of these cars. If you start driving the cars and the shifting is rigid or pops, then you need to change the transmission. The car might have a problem going straight on a long road that needs the alignment of the wheels. Suspension on the older cars was horrible, it’s always better to have modern suspension on these cars for their safety. Brakes and brake pedals might take time to slow the car down and as such you need to change the brakes.
Licensing these cars can be an issue if they are older than a few years old. If that’s the case, you might need to pay for the expired registration for the past amount of years to make it in yours. Some states might need you to pay penalty fees and can cost much higher. You might want to talk to the seller and negotiate with them to pay for it.
The Legitimacy of the Ownership of the Car
Most cars have a title called “Vehicle certificate of ownership” or pink slip in some states. If the seller doesn’t have it, then you have an issue. If they lost it somehow it can be fixed by going to the “Department of motor vehicles (DMV)” and fill some papers. These will lead you to confirm if the seller is truly the owner or not. If they are, then you can take those forms and papers as an affidavit to help you get the car transferred from their name to yours.
If they won’t help you get those forms, then most likely there is something fishy about this car and they might have stolen it. It’s not worth it, so try some other seller to get a similar car.
Obtaining Ownerless Volkswagen
Some cars might be dumped in a barn for years and the ownership of that barn or car wreck yard. This won’t have any ownership certificate and you need to go to the DMV and search for the VIN. IF there are truly no owners for these vehicles, then you can buy the car from the DMV and get the state petrol to assign a new VIN for you.
The best way to buy the right Vintage Volkswagen car for you is to bide your time and be smart about it. Don’t overreach, and always remember to be cautious a