Monday, December 14, 2015

Read this auto news blog if you going to buy old bentlee car

"Wanting a Beetle but not wanting the potential trouble of an old car, Jim Fuller opted for a brand new Mexican Beetle. Here’s how he got on"

beetle-auto news blog

Beetle ownership came fairly late in life for Jim Fuller. He’s always been a classic car enthusiast, and always harboured a desire to one day own a Beetle, but had just never quite got round to it. “It’s the styling I love They’ve stood the test of time better than almost

any other car, gradually evolving over the years to become an icon, a legend of world motoring. And that distinctive exhaust note whistle is so endearing,” enthuses Jim. “Every time I was out and about and saw a Beetle parked anywhere, I just had to go and have a closer look.” The reasons why it took him so long to take the plunge were simply spending money on other things, getting married and thinking a Beetle wouldn’t provide enough space for children and luggage. Oh, and having free company transport to and from work. Before he knew it, he’d reached the grand age of 52 and was standing at a crossroads in his life, knowing it was now or never.

Negotiating a minefield
So, in 1999, Jim started looking in earnest for the motoring love of his life, but exactly which Beetle should he purchase? “I didn’t want a project car. My DIY restoration skills aren’t really good enough, so
I had to decide whether to purchase a cheap or an expensive used example,” he reflects. “Once I started looking, it pretty quickly became clear that buying a Beetle was like negotiating a minefield! I looked at a couple of examples locally at around £2,000,
but they looked like they needed as much spent again, if not more, to make them even half-decent examples. The more expensive ones looked better but, at the back of my mind, I still had this niggling worry that all the mechanical parts were 40 or more years old.
“It was then it dawned on me – why not purchase a brand new Beetle?” This being 1999, remember, Mexican Beetles were still being imported into the UK and sold by a small number of specialists. “My thinking was buying one of these would give me the classic Beetle styling I so love, but I’d also be buying reliability, rather than possibly having to sort out someone else’s problematic old car. At the time there were three importers of Mexican Beetles, and the closest to me was Volkspares in Sydenham, South East London.”
So, on November 13 1999, Jim travelled to Volkspares to view and test drive a brand spankers Mexican Beetle. How did he find it? we asked. “I was impressed. It really did drive

like a new car. Everything felt tight, there were no noticeable sqeaks or rattles and the engine ran very sweetly. One of the things that really drew me to
the Mexican cars was the fuel injection. I’d heard a lot of horror stories about dodgy starting, poor fuel economy and carburettors icing up in the winter, and really wanted a car that would be totally reliable.

“The same with the electrics. I’d been told
old Beetles often suffer from voltage drop, that regulators can be troublesome and that the headlights are very bad at night. I thought if I bought a new one, none of that would be a problem. At least, that was what I thought...” 

Deposit down
We’ll come back to that in a moment, for we don’t want to spoil Jim’s elation. “I was sold. I placed an order for a brand new Beetle costing £9,620, right there and then. My wife, Jenny, chose the colour of Windsor Blue, a beautifully rich dark blue metallic, and I left a deposit of £500. “I could barely contain my
excitement waiting for the telphone call to say the car was ready for collection and, three days later,
on November 16 1999, Volkspares telephoned me to say they had located a suitable car for me that had been imported into the country by Beetles UK in Bristol. Once the car had been converted to right- hand drive, UK registered and an insurance cover note obtained, my son, Paul, who owned a 1973 Beetle at the time, and I took the train to Sydenham to collect the car, and drove it back to my Suffolk home. That was on December 29 1999.”

At last, Jim was the proud owner of his first Beetle, fulfilling a life- long dream. But that dream was shortly to be shattered. A little over two weeks later, on January
17 2000, he went out to the garage, only to find the car wouldn’t start. Telephone calls were made, the warranty paperwork was processed and the Beetle was taken away by Jim’s local garage, VW Cars of Burwell, Cambs. They initially diagnosed a faulty battery, which was duly replaced, but while still at the garage the new battery went flat overnight. Further tests pointed to a problem with the heated rear window that had been fitted as an optional extra and, after some fiddling around, the problem was solved with a new relay.
The reality was it was a pretty simple fault and, once the errant relay had been identified, easy
to rectify, but it put a bit of a damper on Jim’s excitement about his new car, especially as one of the reasons he’d gone for a Mexican Beetle 
in the first place was the perceived electrical problems he might encounter on an old German Beetle! “During this period with the Beetle’s electrical problems, Jim became dispirited,” reveals his wife, Jenny. “He’s a perfectionist and things have to be right. Jim was becoming a nightmare with the car, so I told him, either get it sorted or sell it!” To try and rekindle his enthusiasm for the car, Jenny drove it around for a couple of months. “In that time, it proved to be totally reliable, to the point that one day Jim said perhaps it was time he had his car back!”
The first show Jim attended with the car was
the Alternative Motor Show Treffen at Mildenhall, Suffolk, a show that caters primarily for Eastern Bloc cars. “Being the only Beetle on display, I was invited to bring my car onto the showfield, and it received a great deal of interest,” he remembers. “That was when I really started to fall back in love with the car again. In case I had any more problems in the future, I decided to join the Mexican and Brazilian Beetle Register, who invited me to display my car at Stanford Hall in 2002, where it won Class 4 and I received my first trophy. I remember being overtaken by BMWs and Mercedes on my way home and thinking to myself, yes, you may be faster than me, but you haven’t got a trophy for your car sitting next to you on the front seat!”

As you can see from the picture to the right, Jim really got the show bug and started displaying his Beetle on a regular basis. But the car also remained his daily driver, and was mostly left out in the open on his driveway. Indeed, it was driven daily for 11 years up until 2011, when it was put into ‘semi- retirement’, and now it’s used mostly for shows, high days and holidays.
Clean freak
So did you make the right decision buying a newBeetle? we asked. “Definitely. The car has been totally reliable, and it still gets comments wherever I go in it. I’m fastidious about cleaning it, and I’ve never driven it anywhere without seat covers fitted. No one has ever sat in the back seat, and there’s never been any luggage in the boot! It’s also been

maintained as per the VW schedule by VW Cars.” There was one surprise along the way when the
car needed a bit of a touch up in the paint shop. After years of thinking the car was Windsor Blue, it transpired it’s actually Battik Blue.
“Dirt doesn’t apply when it comes to my Beetle,” Jim grins. “Yes, it obviously gets dirty when I drive it in the rain, but it soon gets clean again.”
Jim has now clocked up 84,000kms and has accumulated 25 awards, including six Class 4 wins at Stanford Hall, class wins at Stonor Park, VW Action and Best of Show at the Battlesbridge VW Show in 2010. “I love the car, because it represents the last
of the breed (a bit like me!) but it’s just as lovingly cherished as the very earliest models. I’ve made many good friends over the years at VW and classic car shows, which are always good days out,” Jim enthuses. “There’s a particular slogan I’ve seen printed on a car sticker that really appeals to me and sums my car up perfectly: “Conceived in Germany, Born in Mexico, Raised in Britain.” 

No comments:

Post a Comment