Loved Bugs

The Beetle’s days may (or may not) be numbered. As part of our Beetle Week, I reached out to a few VWVortex Beetle owners to find out what the car means to them. I’ve included my own story at the bottom. It’s immensely evident past and present owners are passionate about their Bugs. Volkswagen, if you’re reading, here’s just a sampling of the joy the Beetle brings to people.

Mario: VWVortex member DrTechy
2012 Turbo Beetle (a.k.a. FrankenBeetle), Platinum Gray
Lyndhurst, New Jersey

If Mario’s car looks familiar, that’s because it was a recent Forum Friday entry. The money, time, and love put into this car are incredible. His Turbo Beetle truly changed his life.

“Growing up the beetle was the most unique car I’d ever seen. From watching the Herbie movies with my parents over and over again to playing “Punch buggy” with my friends every time we’d see one, it was ingrained in my brain. Once I was old enough to drive, VW’s became my passion and I owned countless GTIs and Golfs over the years.

Then, in 2012, VW came out with the latest generation of their Beetle. Between their ad campaign and the changes they made to it I fell in love and knew I had to have one! The car means more to me than just a car. It pulled me out of a deep depression and saved my life! I’ve met some of my best friends because of this car, along with tons of other great people! It’s a conversation starter everywhere I go with it, and has given me the opportunity to give back to the VW infomunity by helping as many fellow Beetle owners as I can!”

Kyle: VWVortex member JustFord0099
2013 Beetle 2.5, Candy White
Portland, Oregon

“I will say the beetle has been probably one of the best cars I’ve ever owned. The styling never gets old. The design inside and out never ceases to amaze me. It’s crazy to think I’ve driven cars twice as expensive or more and I get back into the Bug and I’m simply impressed. Hearing the news of the models cancellation was pretty upsetting. I wish VW had brought more of the options and colors that were offered in other markets here. I think the Bug would have stood a better chance of survival.

I plan on holding on to mine as long as I can. It’s still cool to get thumbs up and random infopliments from strangers. Owning this car has been nothing short of amazing.”

Matt: VWVortex member Oidoglr
2013 R-Line Beetle, Reef Blue, previously owned
Saint Paul, Minnesota

“I had been a fan of the sportier New Beetle variants, the Turbo S and the RSi, but I remember seeing pictures of the silhouette of the 21st Century Beetle revealed on Oprah, and then the Black Beetle 2011 Super Bowl infomercials, and finally the full reveal, and was excited that VW was positioning the Beetle as an affordable sport coupe. There were nods to details in the Turbo Beetle that acknowledged an homage to the 911 even in their initial marketing.

At the time, I was in the middle ownership of my 2nd MK5, an R32 (I had owned a MK5 GTI prior to that) and was so smitten with the new athletic design, that I was ready leave behind a wonderful soundtrack paired to an exciting AWD drivetrain to be one of the first buyers of the 21st Century Beetle.”

Matt also noted frustration with what the R-Line Beetle’s performance infopromises. While you could brush off Matt’s criticisms, it really shows that buyers wanted a car equal to the GTI and not a watered-down version.

“I had been spoiled with the high level of features that the MKV platform provided, so I wanted the panoramic roof, the nifty xenon HID headlights with the integrated LED DRLs (which were not yet passé in consumer cars in late ’11) and the dash mounted performance gauge cluster, and dealers were getting the special “launch” models that were originally announced with those packages were showing up without the dash cluster after units with the panoramic sunroof had already caused delays…To get the aesthetically superior HID lights, VW forced enthusiasts into the Sun, Sound & Navigation package which priced the Beetle at around $30k. I purchased my 2013 R-Line Beetle with the Sun, Sound & Navigation package with a $5k discount in October of 2013.

The final nail in the coffin for the Beetle for enthusiasts was that the Gen III EA888 2.0T TSI that came in 2013+ Beetles (and the Jetta GLI) was down on HP and TQ from the MK7 GTI when it came out. For someone who wanted a sporty VW, the Beetle only offered an aesthetic reason to purchase, which for me is a shame that the Beetle had an opportunity to serve up performance with this generations’ athletic appearance.” 

Chris: VWVortex member SilverSpeedBuggy
1998 New Beetle, Silver Arrow, previously owned
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

True story: my first word was car. When I was a toddler, every afternoon I would sit by the window to watch our neighbor, Bonnie, drive home in her green 70’s era “Bonnie car” (as I called them). To this day my parents still call them “Bonnie cars.”

In 1988ish my parents bought a bright orange 1974 Super Beetle (the same year I was born): autostick with the crank sunroof. Sadly, the car had a very rusty undercarriage. Dad drove it a few months before it was permanently parked. There were dreams to get it back on the road, but with three kids (and one on the way), it never happened.

In 1998 I saw the New Beetle in person at the North American International Auto Show and knew I had to have one. Through a stroke of luck, in late 1998 my local dealership had a lightly used New Beetle pop up on their used lot. This was the exact car I wanted: silver, manual (the original buyer wanted an automatic), power windows/locks. While most people were waiting months for their car I drove mine off the lot.

The first year of ownership was crazy. People stopped me constantly asking questions. The kids at the bus stop went berserk the first morning I drove by in my New Beetle. The next morning they lined up and all gave me a thumbs-up in unison. You were a one-person parade in a New Beetle.

I kept that car for 13 years. I modified it to make it more retro: I made custom steel wheels with hubcaps from my parent’s 74 Super Beetle and installed a wood slat PIP roof rack. Later I added BRM alloys wheels and a lowered suspension. My car won second place at local VW show. I sold it to some friends and they loved it almost as much as I did. It was a great car and there are times I miss it. It’s the only Beetle I’ve owned.

When Volkswagen revealed the 2012 Beetle, I wanted one. Bad. I’m sure I drove the sales guys crazy at Classic VW in Mentor Ohio with test drives and visits to check out the latest updates. I never did buy a Turbo Beetle. Timing was never right; bought a new house, started a business, you know, general adulting. Things calmed down, ininfoe increased, and along came the MK7 GTI: it hooked me with one test drive. Much like Matt noted above, if the R-Line Beetle had been as dynamic to drive as the GTI, I’d be in a Beetle today.

Do I regret not getting a Beetle? Now that it could be canceled, yes. Did this assignment make me check out used Beetles for sale? Yes. In fact, I found my dream Beetle while researching the Beetle Week articles: black R-Line, manual transmission, bi-xenon headlights, red-faced leather seats, sunroof, Fender sound system, low asking price. It’s tough not to pine for a car about to disappear.

While we wait for the final Beetle verdict, let’s dream of the future. Could an MQB Beetle be on the way in a year or two? How about an electric MEB Beetle? A four-door model? Time will tell. One thing’s certain: another Beetle would spawn a whole new group of passionate enthusiasts.