I am looking at getting my first car and it will probably be a 1973 VW Super Beetle. I was just wondering if it is possible to turn a hardtop beetle into a convertible? If it is possible, how much would it cost? Thanks for your help.
You can but it won’t be cheap. The roof is a structual part of the vehicle. If you remove the roof then you’ll have to add structual stiffeners to the subframe/unibody. That’s what they do when they build convertibles at the factory.
Given sufficient time and money (mostly money) anything is possible. How large is your budget?
Cutting the roof off a 1973 Beetle is not the best way to get a convertible Beetle, and will cost WAY more than just buying a convertible in the first place.
If you want a convertible Super Beetle, shop around until you find one. You’ll never be able to make one as good as a real one.
Are you planning to use this car as a daily driver? Have you ever driven a Beetle of this vintage? I can’t imagine trying to keep up with modern traffic in a car like this.
This is way more fun to think about than to live with (I’m talking about any old-version Beetle). Have you driven one extensively? Slowwwwww, and not so good in a crash.
You could add a sunroof.
I’m not really sure what my budget is right now. I found a beetle convertible on the internet today and my dad is talking to the owner of it. I understand they are slow, but I don’t plan on doing 90 mph down the highway. Thanks for your help, maybe a sunroof would be a better idea.
We’re not talking doing 90. We’re worried about you trying to merge onto a busy freeway. If you take and extensive test drive, OK, but you need to know it is much slower than any economy car made today.
Have you ever driven an old beetle, I had a 1967 Beetle in 1983. Fun to drive but a death trap. How are your mechanical abilities, you are going to get plenty of practice on a Beetle. It might be fun, but not as a daily driver.
There is a person in my neck of the woods (South Jersey) trying to sell two nicely restored Super Beetles. He was originally asking 14-15k apiece, he’s down to 11k per car, it’s about 10k more than I would pay for one though.
It’s not cost effective to do this. Buy a convertible if that’s what you want but do not have one cut up.
The 73/74 Super Beetles are the best ones ever made in my opinion. They will cruise at 70 MPH all day long and they handle pretty well due to the upgrade suspension with McPherson struts.
In '75 they went to AFC fuel injection and this complicated things quite a bit.
Before buying any Beetle I would advise you perform the following test right off the bat.
Raise the rear deck lid to access the engine. (engine off of course)
Notice the large crankshaft pulley driving the belt?
With a rag if necessary, grasp that pulley and pull it back as hard as you can.
Now, shove that pulley forward as hard as you can.
If you feel anything more than a slight movement or hear any thunk/clunk/whatever that is louder than a barely audible “tick” then the engine needs to be overhauled. Pass on the deal or negotiate the price down.
Also, look the engine over and see if it’s leaking oil badly. When the air-cools leak oil from numerous places this also means it’s time for an engine overhaul.
Hope that helps.
Don’t Try It. Tester Is Correct. The Floor Pan Is Stronger On A Covertible.
What appeals to you about a bug convertible? How about a Volkswagen “Thing” from that era?
With a Sawzall, a few blades and about an hours time you can remove the top from ANY car. But then what?? No top at all? just a tonnau cover? But be aware: Without the support of the top, unibody cars get VERY flexible with the top removed…A REAL VW convertible is a COMPLETELY different body than the hardtop version, made in a different factory…
Were convertibles ever offered in non-Super Bettle versions? I think yes but I am not sure. I seem to remember convertibles being prefered as Class 5 off-road race vehicles due to stronger pans and it wouldn’t make sense using a McPherson strut car off-road but I bet people did it.
Don’t bother. The amount of structural steel you’ll have to add to strengthen the body will add too much weight, and the engineers at VW didn’t design the car that way. Buy a VW convertible and enjoy it. This car wasn’t fast, wasn’t the most safe car to crack up (but what is?) but it is really cool, so buy what you want, just don’t try to “Monster-Garage” a perfectly good sedan into a ragtop. Rocketman
Sawzall and enjoy this relic while it lasts hopefully for a summer.
I don’t see a 1973 Beetle as a long term relationship anyway.
You should see some of the custom VW Bugs they do down in Mexico…The top is gone, body shortened about a foot, fenders flared out…They look like cartoon cars…
A guy over on the Crown Vic net took a Sawzall to his and the result came out pretty good! Vics have a frame under them so the flex was not to bad…Had a muffler shop bend him a “roll bar” out of tubing that connected the door posts together to stiffen up the now unsupported side pillars and allow the doors to close properly…
If you want a fun convertible, look at used Miatas - much better cars in every way.
Who can I talk to who can make me a top for my crown vic
Brandon, this thread is way old.
I recommend that in the future you start a new thread for your questions.
The only one you could talk to is a customization shop that does major body modifications… and this one would be MAJOR!!! It’d cost you far, far more than the car is worth. And then some. There are major structural issues involved.
My suggestion would be to trade it for a convertible. There are still a few being made. Or consider a sun roof.