COAL:1999 Volkswagen New Beetle – Cheap Fun Winter Beater

Taken the day I bought the car.

The VW Cabrio made such an impression on me, I wanted a Volkswagen to pound around in for the winter.  This one fit the bill.  Cheap, inspected, new snow tires, and cheap!

I really enjoyed driving the little Cabrio.  It felt so solid and firm on the road, it was a ball to drive.  I started watching Kijiji for a cheap decent Volkswagen.  This one turned up two hours from home, for $800.  With new snow tires and a valid MVI, it was worth a look.  It drove well, and no major issues seemed to be apparent.  It was just what I was looking for…a 2.0 gas 5-speed car.  It was owned by a 19-year old girl who went away for college.  Her parents had spent some money on it, including the tires, and some power steering lines.  They had no need for the extra car.

Just look at the rhinestones!!!

She had spent a pile of time decorating the inside of the car.  I found it to be a really comfortable car to drive, but my wife hated it.  She found the seats hard on her back.  It was an absolute ball to drive.  It didn’t have a ton of power, but the engine was eager and it went through the gears pretty well.  Being a VW of a certain age, quite a bit didn’t work.  The door locks never worked right at all.  They, as I recall, had a pile of switches in the latches to tell the door computers and the security system if they were open, closed, locked, or unlocked.  The heated mirrors no longer worked, the power trunk didn’t work right, the airbag light was on, the ABS light was on, and the check engine light was on for oxygen sensor wiring issues.  For an $800 car, I wasn’t going to complain.

Pretty.  I have no idea what the red hash mark at 50 was for though.

The backlighting was a deep purplish colour.  There were lots of lights – many of them illuminated permanently.  The temperature light would glow blue until the car warmed up.  There was lots of heat once that light went out.  I wasn’t sure about the purple backlighting, but it wasn’t too bad on the eyes.

The car served well for the winter.  Lots of fun playing with it in the snow.  It handled like a go-kart, and wasn’t bad on fuel at all.  It saved me from having to drive the truck too much in the salt.  Once the winter ended, I’d intended to keep it and try to sort out some of the issues, but one of my co-workers was after me to sell it to him.  You wouldn’t think a Beetle would be the kind of car a guy would like – but I sold it to him.  It confirmed him as a car enthusiast.  He hammered on it for a few months, and gave it to his grandfather to use as a car to putter around in.  He went from that to a new GTI, and from that to a fancy turbocharged 6-cylinder BMW.  That VW wasn’t a great car – but it was a great-handling car compared to what he and I were used to.

On an excursion around the Cabot Trail.

The little car was a lot of fun for not much money.  Have any of you had something similar?