My own personal view is that these cars are very over-rated also.
On the other hand, it is a pre World War 2 design and it was eleven years old with a high mileage when you bought it.
You chose smart on the winter car choice. A 1970 VW beetle with its legendary engine. It prolly needed maintence and that's the valve blew...
Screw it, why comment further. Shut up.
I own a VW l970, which I bought in l996. It has been a reliable street car. Even with its air conditioning on in very heavy traffic for as long as four hours (the longest I have experienced so far), it runs well.
My summary - "If you have not owned a Beetle you have not owned a car!" These little cars were wonderful. I owned 3 Beetles when I was young and now in my mid years, I bought 2 Beetles again, a 1970 model and a 1975 model, both in pristine condition. Fact is that you draw more attention than with a newer E-Class Mercedes-Benz (my daily car) and despite the odd handling, the brakes which can sometimes be a bit dangerous, it is still a wonderful experience to drive it. In fact, a while ago my wife and I decided to go on holiday with the one Beetle, like in our student days. We've covered about 6000 km (3800 miles) and it did not miss a beat. Everywhere we stayed and parked, people were looking. It's great and I will see that my grandson one day will also have one. At least he can then also say -"I've owned a car!"
I had 5...a 1963 Karrman Ghia which cost $100 in 1971 had a bashed in headlight. Since the fender was integral to the body I jacked it back and put in a light and drove it all through high school. I liked the little coupe and its ivory knobs and only had 30 hp I sold it for $300...my next VW was a used dark blue with white interior 1969 had the semi automatic my only mistake... stay with the stick shift, Later owned a brand new 73 and 74 were great much more power and the regular Beetle not the Super Beetle handled even better. The Super had better heat controls. Later the speedometer broke on the 74 we kept it at least 15 years and its probably still being driven. They were also in accidents, but it didn't stop them from going just kept repairing them. We drove to Fla, the mountains and in very heavy winters and never got stuck! With a bug you seem to be OK without a/c I later had a Rabbit sedan my dad even had the diesel VW pickup. We went to Nissans after and kept buying 210's they were also very rugged and easy to work on.
I have put 20,000 miles on my bug in 6 months, unrestored 1968 sunroof. It has almost 400,000 miles on it. It is as reliable as the maintenance you put into it. It is like a woman, if you are good to her, she will probably not leave you.
If you buy a Bug, and fix it up proper the way you ought to with any car that's several years old with its attendant wear, and take it to a qualified VW mechanic, it should provide you with fun, reliable, basic transportation.
I had a '72 in the 90's and it was abused and sold as refurbished -- my bad for not seeing through that scam. Still I could tell that once I had a mechanic who knew what he was doing, that car would take me anywhere I would go and was blast to drive.
At the time, if I had taken out 2000.00 more when I bought it, I could have gotten a refurbished Bug (5500.00), rebuilt engine, trans and body fixed up new window seals, etc. instead of all that unnecessary money I dumped in trying to keep up with a car that should have been redone from the get-go -- nip it in the bud so you can enjoy it.
If you're going to get one, make sure of what kind of shape it's in and be prepared to either do the work yourself or dump the coin you need into it to make it daily driver.
But whatever you do, don't let people skew your view of the Beetle by confusing problems due to age and neglect with its overall viability. If you want one, go for it! You'll be glad you did.
I love my 71. It broke a pushrod and I replaced it for $10 myself in a couple of hours including going to get the part and doing the valve clearances. That said don't buy one if you don't want to work on it and curse it and bloody your knuckles on the thing.
Did you read my review carefully? This was my FOURTH, not FIRST Volkswagen. I was very familiar with VW maintenance requirements and the quirks associated with VW's. The engine was serviced regularly, and oil changes were performed every 3-4K miles. The former (and original) owner was a neighbor who always took care of the Vdub.
For "around town" driving in a mild climate, I'm sure it would have done just fine, but the car was more grief than it was worth to me (especially after the engine blew), and after experiencing the "joys" of 3 previous Vdubs, I decided that I'd had enough. It's been 30+ years now, and I've never bought another one.
The question really is - How often did you have the valves adjusted?
If you were changing your oil every three or four thousand miles, I tend to doubt you were adjusting the valves as often as recommended.
Whether it was your 4th or 40th Bug, you should know that they required routine maintenance much more often than the cars of today.