This is actually my first post on the forum. I haven't got a glorious Fiero just yet. That project may be put off for a while until I can get a steady job and a nicer place to live. I'm mostly using the forum to read and learn before I jump in to a project like that. My question is instead about a different vehicle project that has practically fallen in to my lap. My new girlfriend took me back to her house a few weeks ago and showed me her 1970 VW beetle. The engine has already been rebuilt. Most of the stuff that would need to be fixed are simple cosmetic things. It's not a Baja Bug and I promised her that if I bought it I wouldn't turn it in to a Baja Bug. (It's Illinois... there's nowhere to drive a baja bug anyway.) My question is simply. Has anyone worked on one of these beetles before? Am I getting in way over my head for my first project vehicle? I've worked on other vehicles before, but never my own. It has a new roof but it needs to be installed. I'd want to replace the stock suspension with something nicer and I'd have to do a new wiring job on it. It still has the old beat up stock wires. The plan is to buy the car, fix it up and eventually sell it, then I'll use that money to start my Fiero project. I've seen these going for around 10,000. She's selling it for 4000. I'm going to try to get it for 3500. Thoughts?
Easy car to work on IF you can do body work. Original/classic Beetles are notorious for floor pan rust. To fix it right, you generally need to separate the body from the floor pan (not the most difficult thing to do but time consuming). A non rusty floor pan is essential to the car for a number of reasons. First (and most important), it's a structural member. Second, EVERYTHING runs through the floor pan. One of the common complaints is that the clutch pedal is sticky. Generally, that's because it's getting bound up (it's a cable operated clutch) and that's usually caused by....yup, a rusty floor pan. Also, if you plan on driving the Bug in anything other than mid summer weather, you'll need heat and defrost. Where does that heat come from? Heat exchangers (built around the exhaust and yet another thing that's prone to rust). How do you get the heat from the motor to the cab. Yup.....through the floor pan. You can see how important a solid classic Beetle floor pan is. If you just want a summer beater, buy it (if you can get it cheap enough....$4k is too much unless it's in pretty good shape) and drive it. If you want to flip it, be prepared to do a lot of body work. If you plan to hot rod it (with an aftermarket exhaust), you WON'T have heat/defrost. The only other way to get that (using OEM parts) is with the optional auxilliary gas fired heater. That was mounted under the front hood and 1) was fairly dangerous and 2) is rarer than rocking horse crap.
Not trying to discourage you but it's good to know what you could get into before you drop your money. Personally, if I could do body work (and had the space), I'd restore some classic Bugs. I've had 'em and I love 'em.