“Champagne taste and beer money” is a phrase that comes to mind as your humble author comes away from his first round of Amelia coverage. Between eight-figure cars in Florida and Bring a Trailer recently punching its way into in-person auction sale prices, getting swept up in top-line numbers when covering the collector car market is all too easy. It’s refreshing, then, to have a People’s Car remind us that good fun is still available without having to take out another mortgage.
Despite a heated market, a $20,000 budget remains an excellent entry point for a variety of collector vehicles. You won’t just be picking up someone else’s project, either: selling for $17,851, this original-owner, well-maintained 1967 Volkswagen Beetle sports a refurbished engine, clean interior, and newer fuel components. Sure, it isn’t concours-perfect, but it looks ready on day one to step out for a weekend cruise.
Everyone over the age of 40 seems to remember when a drivable sub-$1,000 Beetle could be had just about anywhere. That might not be the case anymore, but since the Beetle was once as ubiquitous as its insect namesake, they still exist in relative abundance. That’s helped keep prices accessible despite time and attrition, although some top-flight examples are heading toward entry-level new Porsche territory.
1967 has proven an attractive model year for Beetle aficionados: among a large host of changes, a larger 1500-cc, 53-hp engine became available and Volkswagen upgraded to a 12-volt electrical system. Suspension revisions included a wider track and softer torsion bars. It was also the final year for older-style bumpers in the United States; the ungainly 1968 chrome slabs took away from the appearance and probably didn’t do a whole lot more to defend the little Beetle against the comparative behemoths with which it shared American roads.
Given its one-owner status and work completed over the years, our valuation team puts this Beetle at a #3 condition, and its sale price suggests the market values it there as well. That’s a sweet spot of you ask us—a solid-condition collectible that you won’t be afraid to take out and enjoy.
Watching gorgeous cars parade across your screen or the auction block is fun, but let's face it—we're here for how it feels to be out on the road in a car we love. Seeing a well-bought, happy little bug is proof that the cars that move us are still out there for the taking.