It’s interesting that VW was able to concurrently sell their iconic legacy product – the Beetle – at the same time as the more modern and better Rabbit. Imagine Honda selling their 1986 Civic alongside the 2016 model; though even this is not an accurate comparison, since VW had completely changed the fundamental concept of their entire product lineup between the senior and junior cars. And sure, by 1976 people were not exactly buying Beetles as fast as VW could make them, but you could still walk into a showroom and get something truly aged – perhaps the closest we are to this today are some of the American manufacturers’ products, like the Panther-platform cars (Crown Victoria / Town Car) or the Chevrolet/GMC vans, but these are only half as old and not facing more modern competition in the same class from their own manufacturers. Check out this 1976 VW Beetle for sale for $3300 in Daly City, CA.
Amazingly, this car is said to have had only one owner – since the term “original owner” is so frequently misused, does the seller count among those? Not much other detail is given, but the Sapphire radio is said to be working, while the car is said to be very clean. There’s something interesting about the base 1970s specification of this car – perhaps it looks like other slightly updated cars sold in foreign markets, with design cues clearly dating from a different era than the actual cars.
California yellow-and-blue plates do something to substantiate the first-owner story, and these should be right for the year of the car. This was the age of the safety bug, with extra-large tail lights and big chrome impact bumpers – perhaps all that show was intended to comfort owners who’d just bought into 1946 crash technology, because they were still getting the same impact zones as Heinrich got in 1946.
The only other part of the car you get to see is the interior. Hopefully what’s under these newish covers is not torn, and it’s not clear why one would purchase seat covers with so much vinyl that they’d be no more comfortable than the seats underneath. Either way, they’d get flung into the same trash pile as the steering wheel cover. Everything that’s visible in the interior looks quite good for its age. The fun thing about Beetles is there are different flavors for everyone – which do you prefer?