5k: DT’s Own 1966 Volkswagen Beetle

From Dec. 7, 2013: It is with a heavy heart, but a pragmatic frame of mind that this editor (CFlo) writes a DT feature for his own first car. This was the car I drove to high school, the car I awkwardly picked up girls in for first (and last) dates, the car I did my first burnout in, and the very vehicle that taught me about lift-throttle oversteer. From this car I learned basic mechanical skills and it’s partially to blame for me becoming a full-fledged gearhead and my decision to pursue a career in mechanical engineering which I am still enjoying to this day – in addition to moonlighting for DT! This 1966 Beetle has been called many things, not the least of which was “Buster” as named by my younger brother. But after 14 years, now it’s time for someone else to call it their own. Find my 1966 Volkswagen Beetle for sale right here on Daily Turismo, located in or around Torrance, CA for $5500

Update Dec. 20, 2013: I’ve lowered my asking price to $4650.

Update Jan. 20, 2013: Lowered price again to $4200. Willing to negotiate; this car needs a new home!

The car is no longer for sale; editor CFlo has decided to keep the Beetle and recommission it as his daily driver.

Ok, before we go any further, my car is also listed here on thesamba.com. As the center for all things aircooled VW on the interwebs, it’s only natural to advertise there, as the readership is admittedly much larger than DT’s own. The full list of specifications, high points, low points, and so on can be found in that ad, which is to the point and matter-of-fact. My full album of 70 images of the car can be found here on imgur.com as well. But in the DT posting for my car, I’d like to get a bit more personal and nostalgic, and describe what it was like to be a kid driving a relic of a VW to school every day amidst a sea of ’90s Japanese economy cars…and ok, quite a few Volvo 240s as well.

I always took pride that I resurrected this car myself, from a non-running aborted Baja Bug project to the semi-respectable lowered street machine you see here. When my parents suprised me by buying a project car for me during Junior year, I was ecstatic. Below you can see the car as it arrived at our house in 1999. It had lived in a garage in San Diego for many years and Sacramento before that, and the previous owners were friends of the family. The paint it wears was sprayed in the PO’s back yard some time in the ’80s; although much of it has been reworked and resprayed since then, it’s close to the Cadillac shade of metallic blue that it has worn well for probably 25 to 30 years. From Wolfsburg this car was Ruby Red, and a VW restorer would surely want to take it back to that shade, but the current mismatched 20-footer paint job fits the car’s character well. It’s like an old friend who you accept despite/because of their bumps and scars.

The main thing you need to know about modifications to this car, dear reader, is that I installed a “Dixie” horn in this car as soon as I possibly could. That’s right, the famous 12-note intro to the South’s own Dixie as made famous by JC Whitney and the Dukes of Hazzard, blaring from a metallic blue beetle in the heart of the San Diego barrios. Entertainment value = priceless. The car no longer has that famous noisemaker installed but it could be included if potential buyers have the same questionable taste as the 17-year-old version of myself.

This Bug is one of those cars that exemplifies the old adage that it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than it is to drive a fast car slow. In an aircooled Volkswagen with swing axles and four-wheel unassisted drum brakes, you can certainly find the limit of traction within the speed limit on most city streets. And you learn car control! The 1641cc dual-port engine gives the car a rather lively character; I can never decide if it’s too quiet or too loud. In its current configuration it will set off parked car alarms at 10mph. But at 45mph with the windows down, it just cruises along without any drama. Brakes are there and function as intended, but unassisted 4-wheel drums are not going to feel familiar to anyone who has never driven a ’60s car. With these binders I learned the value of planning ahead!

Ah, the aircooled VW. How else could you enjoy a 50 year old car that was designed about 75 years ago under the oppression of Nazi Germany? There are so many possibilities for what can be done with one of these, that it’s really up to the new owner to decide if this car is a drag racer, a “patina cruiser,” an off-roader, a stock restored show queen, or just a good old Daily Turismo. Regardless, the value of simple mechanical solutions to simple mechanical problems is greater than the sum of its parts. Wouldn’t you rather be tuning dual carburetors with a floaty-ball synchronization tool than watching American Idol on your couch?

Interested parties, please email me at CFlo@DailyTurismo.com or reply via the Samba classifieds if you prefer.

And don’t forget to check out all the specs here on thesamba.com, and the full photo album here on imgur.com!

See a better first car for your kid, or inner teenager? Email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com