Vintage or State – Of – The – Art When you pull up to the intersection you see a very familiar site. In the turning lane to your right you see a vintage Volkswagen Beetle. As the car turns in front of you, you can’t help but watch it drive by. Noticing every detail from the oblong headlamps and wheel covering front fenders to the beetle shaped body and very small taillights in the rear of the car. You say to yourself, “Looks like a 1964.” After a couple of cars have passed you see a very unfamiliar site a 1998 Volkswagen Beetle. You say to yourself, “Wow what a difference.” You often wonder what it would be like to own either one.
Understanding the major differences between the 1964 Volkswagen Beetle and the 1998 Volkswagen Beetle might help you decide if you want to buy a vintage automobile or a state – of – art automobile. There were a lot of changes made to the 1998 Beetle that really make it a lot different from the 1964 beetle. I will mainly focus on engine placement, servicing, body style, and safety. Being owner of a 1964 Volkswagen for a number of years I have learned that in order to own a vintage vehicle you have to give up some of the latest technologies a new car has to offer. As we all know there wasn’t very much vehicle technology in 1964.
With the purchase of a1964 Beetle you get some very unique things when it comes to vintage cars. The 1964 Beetle had an oil cooled rear engine, this made the Beetle stand out among all other cars of its year, and it was rear wheel drive. Having a rear engine gave the owner one major positive point, it gave him easier accessibility to all of the parts in the engine by just jacking up the rear of the vehicle for do – it – yourself servicing. Another standout for the 1964 Beetle was the “Bug – Shaped” body, hence, the nickname “Bug”.
It had front fenders that covered the front tires and rear fenders that did the same in the back. It had oblong headlamps and oval shaped taillights. When looked at from the front, which, by the way is where the trunk is located it looked as if the car was smiling at you. However, when you talk about the 1964 Beetle you must not fail to mention its lack of safety features.
Because safety belts were not a mandatory item in vehicles for that year Volkswagen did not put them in. Not only were they without safety belts they also had the fuel tank in the front of the car. Needless to say this can be very unsafe when it comes to even a minor rear – end collision when your car is the doing the rear – ending. These are prime examples as to why they made so many changes to the 1998 Beetle.
With the purchase of a 1998 Beetle you get a different car all around. When it comes to engine placement you no longer get an oiled cooled rear engine. Now you get a water-cooled front placed engine. Having a water-cooled front placed engine makes it harder to access all of the engine parts, unlike the easy accessibility of the 1964. This has not only change the thing that made a Beetle unique it also made it front wheel drive. For a normal car owner this could be a nightmare for servicing.
This means having to take your vehicle in to get serviced by a mechanic as opposed to doing it yourself with a vintage Beetle. One of the things that catches most peoples eyes when they see a 1998 Beetle is the new body style. Although it is similar and you can tell what kind of car it is it does not hold all of the features that the 1964 held. For example, the headlamps are a little more round and the fenders no longer cover the front or rear wheels and the taillights are bigger.
However, the overall body style remained similar. It still has a Bug – like appearance but with a rounder and more concept car look. When safety is mentioned the 1998 Beetle has safety features that far exceed those of the 1964. To begin with all new Beetles have to have safety belts, unlike the 1964, but the safety features don’t just end there. 1998 Beetles also come with airbags driver and passenger side, and a stronger body and frame to support all the changes made to the vehicle. Because of all the new safety regulations the gas tank had to be placed in the rear of the car. Overall safety for the 1998 Beetle far exceeds that of the 1964 basically due to the regulations car manufacturers have to comply with.
In conclusion, when purchasing a vintage Beetle or a new Beetle your decision basically comes down to what you are willing to sacrifice. It will either be engine placement, body style, or safety. Depending on what you like if it is an oil cooled rear engine, easier servicing, vintage body style, and safety features that comply with 1964, then you are better off choosing the vintage Beetle. However, if a water-cooled front placed engine, mechanic based servicing, and state – the – art safety features then the 1998 Beetle is a better choice for you. Whatever Beetle you choose I hope this helps you make a more informed choice.