1970 Volkswagen Cabrio 1.6 single port from Germany


Most fun for the money, but wants to be loved


Transmission failure at 200,000 kilometres.

General Comments:

This is the car I've always wanted, and I'm not disappointed at all. If you've ever driven a Bug, I need not say much. But a convertible is a totally different matter.

You find excuses to put down the top whenever it doesn't rain. You enjoy driving like you never did before. And you catch yourself going much more slowly, taking detours you didn't even know existed, and generally having fun in what feels an almost childish manner.

Plus of course it's a classic, and a very well-received one too. You get thumbs-up from other drivers. You are invariably the one whose car is selected for drives together with friends, co-workers and family. Strange people smile at you. Hitch-hikers beam with delight.

And all of a sudden, the little shortcomings of an old car are totally irrelevant. So the roof leaks? The engine spills oil? The transmission seizes? You forgive it all. It's fun.

Priceless fun, but not costly fun. That's the beauty of it: it's a Bug underneath, which means cheap parts, easy repairs, reliable technology (or rather, lack thereof). Cheap insurance, low tax, good gas mileage (for its age anyway). There's no car in the world that could give you more fun for the money.

Still, it's reliable and comfortable enough as a means of daily transportation. It has more interior space than a Miata, is faster than a Yugo, offers better visibility than a Pontiac Trans Sport and is probably much safer than a motorcycle. Seriously, you can live with it (if you're childfree, that is -- it might be tedious with kids and the stuff they need, even though it seats four). And it's definitely worth it.

If you know which way to tighten a bolt and how to use a jack, and if you're ready to do a bit of maintenance every now and then, you'll be rewarded with a fun, reliable, and cheap-to-run car. It surely needs more attention than a modern one, but hey -- it's a Bug, and they're supposed to be members of the family that happen to live in the garage, not appliances to go places in.

If that's what you want, you won't be disappointed.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st August, 2001