Used car report by Paul Wager
Those of us unfortunate (or masochistic) enough to have recently endured a trip on one of British Rail's Inter-City cattle wagons may have noticed that the recent VW promotional campaign on the nation's railway platforms uses a photo of a Beetle. Peer out of the horribly stained British Rail windows for long enough, and you'll notice that it's one of the silver Last Edition Beetles from 1978; the limited edition of 300 silver metallic 1200 Beetles marking the last official imports of the Beetle to the UK.
The car featured here (offered for sale by Skipper of Cheltenham on behalf of its owner, Melissa Bridson), is number 165 in the last 300, and has managed to notch up 66,443 miles since being supplied new in February 1978, by Hertfordshire VW dealers, Harpers. Whilst not in Concours condition, which is hardly surprising in view of the mileage, the Beetle is certainly sound and free of any major rust. The paintwork has been subject to extensive 'blowing over' in the past, but this appears to have been done fairly weil; the front end was due to be tidied before sale in any case, which should remove the rust bubbles beginning to form at the base of the front quarter panel, and around the headlight rims. The retaining channel for the front bonnet seal is fairly rusted too, but it shouldn't be much of a problem to eradicate this, and the under-bonnet area shows evidence of rustproofing treatment in the past, which can only be a good thing!
The interior, finished in the standard light blue velour upholstery is in good condition although it could benefit from a good clean, and the car is fitted with a radio/cassette unit, with door speakers. The plaque proclaiming the Special Edition status of the car and the fact that it is number 165, is still in place on the glovebox; incidentally, the tax disc holder has come from the local Rolls-Royce dealer! This model was, of course fitted with the fresh-air ventilation system and fan, and the padded dash; another useful feature is the seatbelts, which are of the type used by VW in several models around this time, which clamp around the floor-mounted buckle, rather than having the buckle attached to the belt webbing itself - buy this car, and never worry again about smashing the window as you let go of your seatbelt!
The whole car is held up by a set of Michelin MX 155-section tyres which look as if they'll see a good few miles yet, and it comes complete with a service history encompassing several official VAG dealers, plus Volkswares of Leicester and local specialists Richard Hulin.
Skipper Sales Executive Charles Martin, himself a former Beetle owner and MG racer (but now looking to buy a Triumph TR4...) admits that they would accept a figure in the region of £5,800 for the car, but stresses that the amount of tidying to be done to the Beetle will of course reflect the purchase price.
If you were to offer around £7,000 then you can be assured that the shortcomings will all have been eradicated, but we cannot help feeling that the price is somewhat on the high side for an average-mileage car which is not in Concours condition. Still who can say how many of the original 300 Last Edition cars are still alive and kicking..?
Price of this model when new: £2,626.
Article reproduced by kind permission of the Editor, VW Motoring
Used car report by Paul Wager