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Old 12-12-2010, 05:26 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
1,693 posts, read 4,093,877 times
Reputation: 2691

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I seriously doubt a "people's car" like the old air cooled Beetles would sell today. I had 6 of them, and loved them all. Unfortunately, in this day and age, people don't even want to roll down their windows, so the "crudeness", in that and other lack of features, which was also the goodness of the air cooled VWs would go unappreciated.

It was a car for the masses, and had no frills, but was GREAT honest, reliable, economical transportation.

If I could get a new air cooled Beetle, I would.
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:56 PM
 
3,189 posts, read 4,962,981 times
Reputation: 1032
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheViking85 View Post
Porsche made it work despite the obvious drawbacks. The fact that their race cars at one point drove around with concrete slabs in the front bumper should speak volume to that.
+1

BTW...I have a '68 Beetle that i still love driving. But I can remember back when i used to drive it in the winter that the front end was like a set of skis unless i put a couple of those 1 foot square cement patio slabs in the trunk (front).
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:18 PM
 
Location: Metro Phoenix
11,054 posts, read 16,755,572 times
Reputation: 12942
It's the sort of situation where the average person knows next to nothing about the Beetle's history, the fact it used to be rear engine/rear drive, and they basically don't care.

The sort of person that buys a Porsche is the sort of person that buys it because it's a Porsche. If the 911 had been dropped in favor of front engine/rear-drive cars ala the 944/928, they would lose a good-sized segment of their buyers since a lot of their character is tied up in the way their car is laid out.

VW could devote hundreds of millions to develop a totally-new, proprietary chassis for the Beetle, and I've no doubt they could engineer good cooling and heating systems for it. They'd certainly be able to make it safe enough, I've no doubt of that.

But at the end of the day, the Beetle would sell as well as it would. I sold VW's for awhile, and in that time, the vast, vast bulk of Beetle buyers were girls and women aged 16-23, maybe a few "dudes" once in awhile, and none of them gave a crud about the engine or layout of the car. They bought it because it was cute! *insert giggle* They wouldn't be buying it because of its lineage or history. Why would VW blow hundreds of millions on this project, when they can instead spend a fraction using the same platform as the Golf, which is one of the most popular cars in Europe?

Furthermore, these new RWD Beetles would start getting a bum rap in the Northeastern and Rocky Mountain regions of the US, much of Canada, and Northern Europe for their inferior roadholding on snow and ice. Fifty years ago, most of your choices for a cheap car were RWD and it was part of your driving education to handle such a car in such weather. Nowadays, it'd just leave a trail of dead teenaged girls and become the most hated and feared car on the road.

Development, manufacturing, and parts are cheaper. High shool cheerleaders aren't hydroplaning on wet surfaces due to a lack of weight in the front and crashing. Everyone wins.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:42 AM
 
3,189 posts, read 4,962,981 times
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Saying the original Beetle didn't have good heat was just admitting that you didn't bother to read the Owner's Manual.

The manual stated that you were to use thinner oil and adjust the thermostat 1 inch for winter driving.
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Old 12-13-2010, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Pikesville, MD
5,228 posts, read 15,194,410 times
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Interesting that a couple people mentioned old Beetles being bad in teh snow. My old air cooeld beeteles were some of th ebest snow cars Iv'e driven. the skinny front tires dug down into the snow and steered well (whther they were down to the pavement or simply acting like rudders), and the engine over the drive wheels meant traction at all times. Even the lowered ones went better in the snow that most vehicles I've been in. But my Baja bug was probably the best in the snow of any of them, though it was friggin COLD inside (the Baja had no heater boxes, so no heat at all).

And yeah, I've had a couple air cooled Beetles that woud roast you out of the car in the winter.
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:45 PM
 
14,780 posts, read 43,481,658 times
Reputation: 14621
Viking hit the nail on the head. Rear engine, rear wheel drive is a horrible layout and leads to twitchy handling at best. Porsche has stuck with it in the 911 for tradition, but they have basically spent the past 40 or so years developing systems to counteract a poor design. There is a reason that all other Porsche's are anything but RR and no one else follows that lead. Also, please note that there is a big difference between mid engine RWD (Boxster, Ferrari, etc.) and rear engine RWD (911). The Cayman is the superior Porsche in everyway, they just don't give it the same engines and systems that you can get on the 911.
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:13 PM
 
Location: a swanky suburb in my fancy pants
3,391 posts, read 8,739,154 times
Reputation: 1623
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
Viking hit the nail on the head. Rear engine, rear wheel drive is a horrible layout and leads to twitchy handling at best. Porsche has stuck with it in the 911 for tradition, but they have basically spent the past 40 or so years developing systems to counteract a poor design. .
My very 1st car was a '66 Chevy Corvair with that configuration (not the one Nader complained about) and it handled beautifully, like no other car I have ever driven. It did have other problems like the air cooled engine leaking oil.
As for VW, I had an '81 rabitt that was a real lemon, piece of junk. My young and stupid niece went out and bought a Jetta and it was one headache after another. I think the only people who buy VW's now are just woefully uninformed and didn't do their homework.
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:20 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,284 posts, read 12,877,433 times
Reputation: 8956
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailordave View Post
I understand why VW had to stop making the rear engine beetle. But with current technology, why can't VW put the engine back in the rear on the Beetle? Is it because of platform sharing?
I don't know why they stopped making it, could you explain or provide a link?

Thank you
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:40 PM
 
14,780 posts, read 43,481,658 times
Reputation: 14621
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryson662001 View Post
My very 1st car was a '66 Chevy Corvair with that configuration (not the one Nader complained about) and it handled beautifully, like no other car I have ever driven. It did have other problems like the air cooled engine leaking oil.
As for VW, I had an '81 rabitt that was a real lemon, piece of junk. My young and stupid niece went out and bought a Jetta and it was one headache after another. I think the only people who buy VW's now are just woefully uninformed and didn't do their homework.

In general the rear engine rear wheel drive layout is worth than virtually any other do to the weight bias being to the rear and the tendency of the car to oversteer and be very sensitive to road imperfections during turns.

It is ironic that the Corvair that you remember handling so nice, was also the first year that Chevy dropped the swing axle and went with a fully independent setup similar to the Stingray Corvette. The main reason for the switch was do to the swing axle exacerbating the cars oversteer tendencies.

I wouldn't say that you can't build a good handling rear engine rear wheel drive car, just look at the Porsche 911. It's more that the setup is not ideal and much of the effort in making it handle well needs to be concentrated on cancelling out the negative attributes of the setup.
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,531 posts, read 8,818,962 times
Reputation: 7592
I owned several VW Beetles from 1966 to 1972. I bought auxiliary gas heaters for them and they put out enough heat to not only keep you toasty warm but keep ice off the windshield. In my first 1966 model if it was freezing rain or snow you had to keep an ice scraper in your left hand and reach out the window to scrape the windshield to see where you were going. If you had a passenger you handed them the scraper to scrape the right side. It was an adventure but I loved the old Bugs. When my Corvette was in the shop my Bug NEVER left me alongside the shoulder.

GL2
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