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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Can VW's New Beetle shed boomer nostalgia to win younger hearts?

It's probably fair to say the awkwardly named Volkswagen New Beetle, launched in 1997, was not an outstanding car, even if being based on the Mk4 Golf means it was never a bad one. A proportion of you will balk at the idea of this Bug being a future classic, regardless of its objective capabilities.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/car-profiles/can-vws-new-beetle-shed-boomer-nostalgia-to-win-younger-h...
69 REPLIES 69
MustangJim
Technician

I think that if we could acurately say whether or not a car will become a classic is beyond us, its purely emotional for those that liked them. These cars has a really strong following when they we're new. Yes, it faded over time....but time will tell. We will know in a few years.....I think.
As far as "difficult to work on" , I don't think that ever hampered a car from becoming a classic.
Eddie1
Intermediate Driver

I wish Mercedes Benz built another W123 Diesel but this time with modern rust proofing materials. Imho I think that design was ,and is, a classic from when it was last made in 1985 to this very day .
VW_Insanity
New Driver

Unfortunately as I am finding out these beetles suffer from a lack of aftermarket support unlike the Beetles of the past which have loads of support. Things like door panels that literally shatter and a rubber coatings on dash parts that is trying to return back to crude oil, without good replacement parts for these things it will struggle to be anything like the type 1 beetles of the past. Now that said maybe in time the parts will catch up but with the outlook on things in this world as of now it seems like only a dream for any car to become like the classics of the past. But there is always hope I have a 2002 New beetle TDI as well as my son has a 2010 2.5L. I have been into VW since I was able to turn a wrench with my dad on his sand rail and bought my first Beetle a 74 standard beetle of which I still have. I am insanely addicted to the VW 😉
TG
Technician

This car has all of the basic requirements to be collectible. It's not a run of the mill grocery getter, it has distinctive styling (whether you like it or not), and it was not produced in massive numbers

On the other hand, based on the comments, it, like my Allante, has its haters and it may have to wait until all of the angry people who are mad that they did away with the original beetle get over it. One way or the other it will be collectible

Me personally, I think they look stupid and do not make good use of interior space but hey that's me
johnorm
New Driver

I'm going to say that the "new" Beetle will become collectable. The advantage to the New Beetle is that they are usable fun cars, tons of great aftermarket parts and they that have cool retro style. The low mileage special edition models would be the ones to chase.
MattLaube
Intermediate Driver

The "new" beetle is a sad copy of the air cooled peoples car. Why ? -poor build quality and materials, electrical nightmares and fragile and weakly designed auto trans. The diesels will drive to the junkyard long after the rest of the car has disintegrated. Even though I own a 80 Rabbit with 69 k miles ( another story )VW has traded on it's early reputation as a easy to live with and economical auto which since the bug, it has not been. We all have fix it on the side of the road stories that we endured in our air cooled youth (along with no heat and power) that for some reason we now find quaint and pleasant to recall. My fathers 75 Rabbit was well appointed and had top quality materials and build. My 80 is a cheapened version that started the road to nearly driving VWOA back home to the fatherland. How many Dashers,412's,Vanagons etc of that era do you ever see on the road or at shows...not many . There are actual websites Titled "why I hate VWOA " and my "VW is crap"...Not exactly creating the love is it ...???
woodenu2
Pit Crew

Getting it to run on bubble gum and scotch tape it will not do. Oh well.
MichaelG1967
Intermediate Driver

My Mom bought one brand new in 2009, in the same green color that’s in the picture. She kept until 2012 when she traded it in on a Volvo XC-70 wagon. 

SJ
Technician

Right alongside PT Cruisers ha ha. OK maybe with the Limey's.
SJ
Technician

In my neck of the woods it was considered a girl's car, Miata too.
acooper529
Advanced Driver

The OG Beetle was an air cooled, go anywhere (dangerous in NTSB terms) and never to be repeated vehicle. Our shop kinda sorta specialized in them for quite a few years.
They were FUN to drive! FUN is something that many people, in today's world, wouldn't recognize if it bit them on the ass!
The Golf with the "even more restrictive access body" (new beetle) was a nightmare to service for the average repair shop, which gets to work on them years after they come into the market. I imagine the VW Dealers hated them too!
I can't see many similarities... from my experience in the repair business... other than 4 tires and a steering wheel.
Oldroad1
Gearhead

Engine and transaxle in the wrong end. Never liked em.
farna
Instructor

The early version (97-2011) does deserve to be a classic revival. Hit it in most ways. When they made it bigger the proportions were out and the overall feel was different -- that one (2011-19) can go IMHO.
kyree-williams
Detailer

I think people are unnecessarily harsh on the New Beetle. It was good for what it was, it was borne into a time of retro-reminiscent design, it has aged *far* better than most other retro-inspired cars, and millions bought them.

If anything, the Mk.4 electrical gremlins let the car down.

It’s not as great as the original, but then…how could it be?
JBaguley
Intermediate Driver

Nostalgia vehicles are all about us - both modern Mustangs and Camaros take cues from the Gen 1 versions, Nissan Z coupe, the Mini's as noted, Fiat 500, and of course the new Broncos. Personally, I will not be surprised to see New Beetles become sought-after classics one day. They are unique, they will always stand out and be noticeable. I never had any interest in buying a New Beetle, but I always enjoyed seeing them on the road.
youcanrunnaked
New Driver

Ha! Just yesterday (literally) a young guy drove down my street in a New Beetle with a fart can muffler, and I thought: “So this is now a thing?” Sure, why not? They’re stylish, affordable, and underneath the bodywork is a good car.
youcanrunnaked
New Driver

Well, maybe “good” is an overstatement. VW quality was pretty bad on these cars. By my comment I meant that any of them still around now are probably “good enough” to keep driving them.
MeanMrMustard
Intermediate Driver

I had one. A 2002 Snap Orange Turbo. Fun car. Reliable. Sold it and moved on tho. No one took me seriously in it and it got old the people who would say..I could never drive that, and I got tired of telling them my **bleep** was big enough to “endure” it, in not so many words. I will say that though that did usually **bleep** them up,
83scamp
Intermediate Driver

Not sure how these are still considered "economy cars"? My niece wanted one for her first car. Around our area, the "New Beetle" is going for 2-3 times the price of any other "economy car" in that age range... Beat up, clapped out examples with 175K+ on them are going for $4-5K.... Nice ones are $9K+....
DUB6
Specialist

Ouch!