∙ Low mileage and mechanically sound ∙ Not as pretentious as many of the bigger limos.
∙ More economical alternative for some customers
Volkswagen launched its ‘new’ Beetle in 1997. Although its shape drew inspiration from the iconic original, the new front-engined car shared nothing with its famous forbear, save perhaps its intention of being a nippy town car that seated four. Both a couple and a cabriolet soon became available, with, initially, a choice of 1.4 to 1.8-litre petrol or 1.9-litre diesel engines.
This particular variation on the Beetle theme was converted early in its life. It has been garaged all its life and, understandably, hasn’t clocked up a huge mileage. It is powered by the 1.9-litre TDi diesel engine.
The limousine doesn’t come with a great deal of paperwork beyond its V5, but previous MOT certificates do corroborate the low mileage.
Overall, the Volkswagen presents very well. All panels across the Volkswagen’s significant length retain a good gloss and the colour remains consistent across the car. The is cracking in the paintwork on the corner of the driver’s door. The bodywork shows no significant dents or scrapes. The body builders have successfully blended the curves of the original car into the long, very straight limousine; panel gaps are narrow and consistent, and doors open and close smoothly. New sections match well with the original, with the ‘piano black’ sections looking consistent with the design. And there are no signs of the body sagging. The vinyl roof too is in good condition, showing no tears or any signs of fade. The black window trims are largely in excellent condition, though there are one or two very small spots where corrosion has appeared. The section of door top/window trim on the driver’s door has been bent slightly.
A little less Bauhaus than the original, but still quite striking.
The driver’s area - front seats and dashboard are standard VW. As you would expect for such a low mileage, the seat cloth and carpets are in excellent condition - no stains or tears and the seat cushions and bolsters are firm. The central arm rest isn’t crushed from the elbows of bored chauffeurs. Steering wheel and gear stick show no nail scratches, fade or wear, and the dash is similarly good save for a couple of small scratches. Mats and carpets are in good condition. The rear of course is what the car is all about and the execution is well-executed.
The carpets and headlining are dark grey and black - all quite clean - while the seats are finished in two-tone grey with gold centres finished with diamond-pattern stitching. All are in very good condition. The silver-grey sheepskin-style on the floor is likewise very good. There is plenty of room for four to stretch their legs. The door cards/handles are the only areas showing any noticeable wear, but these are only minor scuffs.
The cabin has discrete led lighting (including the mirrored alcoves for the champagne glasses), but also - should the need arise - a dynamic, multi-coloured disco light.
Apart from looking rather dusty, everything under the VW’s bonnet looks to be in good shape; yes, the engine’s at this end now. Plastics and rubber components under the bonnet; hoses, leads, ducting and cowls – all look to be in good shape, retaining a very healthy shade of black and showing no signs of perishing, fatigue or cracks. Fasteners, retaining bolts and clips look similarly good, showing rust in teeth and screw heads, nor accumulated crud around joins and sockets. Hose junctions and joins look very clean. Wiring looks fine - with the addition of a couple of limo-necessary items.
Those grills under the nose are clean and rust-free - and there are no scuffs as the bodywork disappears under the front of the car. The underside is also very clean, showing no corrosion or collision/impact damage. The long exhaust is in great shape and the suspension components look especially good. There is plenty of life left in the tyres.
The Beetle was of course for people who wanted something…a bit smaller, and oddly enough, this limousine sort of carries on that theme - it won’t take up half the street like a Hummer or a Rolls-Royce Phantom. And it doesn’t take itself quite so seriously either. Is there such a thing as a sensible limo? Maybe this is it.
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