Oh, and it dying may have been the fuel injection-controller, which often causes VWs that were converted to carburetors to stall. My '75 would always stall until that thing was taken-out.
The only decent VWs are the 60's models. But even then they still require the patience of a Saint to work with.
Looks like Disney had something to teach us in The LoveBug; don't buy a VW unless if you intend on oil leaks and stalling.
How was the Rabbit for ya?
Mine were all great cars. Sounds like yours was used up when you got it. Over 20 million sold speaks for itself.
Let's not forget the hippy movement in the 60's-70's and the Herbie films; that could explain a number of US buyers.
Some of the comments are fairly accurate. I've had friends that had classic VW's, and their experiences with them were similar. They run fine, but you have got to keep on top of the maintenance. This goes for most any old car. My friends between them owned a VW microbus, a Super Beetle, and a Karman Ghia. It seemed like these cars were constantly having problems. The Ghia had non-stop electrical issues.
My Mother In Law owns a 2003 diesel Jetta, and it too seems to have a lot of electrical and mechanical issues also, and it's only got about 80,000 miles so far on the odometer. It doesn't make sense, because initially the car seemed to be really well built with a good fit and finish, and what appeared to be neat and tidy machining under the hood. But even so, it just seems to be rife with problems on a continual basis. Perhaps it's just bad luck.
Last year the whole intake wound up clogging with carbon deposits, and the EGR valve was so clogged you could barely shove a pencil through it. Before that, the windshield wiper actually came off one side.
But getting back to vintage VW's, I will say that they were easier to work on. It's just that you need to know how to maintain them.
I have a few friends who own VW vans, mostly as a hobby. One friend spent over $5000 on the purchase, and another $5000 on repairs in the past year, and the van is still not road worthy enough for an out of town trip. Huge waste of money if you ask me, but then again, to each their own, and everyone needs a hobby.
I also collect and drive vintage cars, but I buy American ones instead, usually off seniors, low mileage, well maintained models. Usually pay about $1000, another $500 for a killer stereo system, and I'm good to go, only needs gas and oil changes. These old V8 American cars are bombproof reliable.
Cannot say the same about old VWs, they seem to be money pits that should only be bought by a hobby mechanic for weekend driving. Parts and repair are astronomically expensive, be prepared for that, otherwise these cars are not for you!
I drove a new 74 Super Beetle one summer to Florida, and travelled home to Delaware. I drove all over Florida to see as much as possible. I drove on Alligator Alley down the keys, and over both coasts. The VW did not have air conditioned or did I feel it needed it.
I drove it in bad northern winters, and the engine over the rear wheels made it great in snow. That was the best year ever in my opinion. Simple, better HP, and ran great.
I do not like the new VW Beetle. I also had a turquoise Rabbit, and my mom's boyfriend had a cool diesel pickup.
Why do you need a "killer audio system" when you have a nice V8 to listen to up front?
I have a big block Chevelle, and have an amp mounted in the trunk against the rear seat frame, a nice sub and hidden speakers. Resulted in losing the spare tire, but you call AAA Platinum on your cell and get picked up.
Why do you need a great sound system when you have a V8? To listen to your 1970 Doors album in a 1970 classic. Then it makes sense.
I have had 6 VWs. My first car was a 63 VW Karmann Ghia in 1971 that cost 100 bucks. I went from 30 HP to 40 HP to 60 HP in my Bugs. My favorite was the 1973 Regular, not Super Beetle.
I owned a rear-engined bug in the late 70's, and with the exception of our Japanese cars, I have never seen a more poorly built, totally unsafe car. These things were little more than go karts with a cute body. They made the Ford Pinto look like the safest car on the planet, with ZERO frontal protection, and the gas tank in a horribly vulnerable position. If I were suicide prone, I might consider another one.
The "Hippy" movement - give me a break, they were good, inexpensive and durable cars.
My friend hit a pole at top speed head on, and had 2 spares under the hood; one in the slot, and 1 laying flat. He survived with facial injuries. The tires must have softened the impact somewhat. His gas tank was intact. I am pretty sure it was a 73 model.