'In This Mexican Neighborhood, Locals Say ¡Viva el Beetle! '

‘“They say that it drives even just on the pure smell of gasoline,” said Uriel Mondragón, a local mechanic who said 40 percent of his customers own a Beetle. “It is not like a new car. This car does not run out of gas.”’
Right-click on the link, save the file, read the copy.

Bet they say vaya con Nova :wink:

Not that old of a car in Mexico, the old style Beetle was produced there up to 2003.

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I am not a beetle aficionado, I had a '63 bug and enjoyed it immensely. But I do know there is a strong beetle niche group who relish their older bug, not the new bug…

If the VW bug was produced until 2003 in Mexico, why are they not being bought up by collectors and wholesalers, brought over the border, and sold here in the US. I would imagine the basic bodies are in relatively great shape as they do not have much snow and they do not salt the roads in Mexico…

Is it an issue that they do not meet US Specs? When I was in Italy (late '70s), I had a Renault 12 TL, it was a local vehicle, build and sold for the local market. When I asked about bringing it back with me, I was informed that I could not as it did not meet US Specs and I would not be able to register it with extensive modifications to the body and engine…

Because it does not meet the 25 year rule for import. The newest allowed would be a 1998 Mexican Beetle. Next year a 1999 and so on.

Most every part for the Beetle has been reproduced over the years except transmissions. You could almost build one with no actual VW parts.

But like many vintage cars, the demand for original Beetles is fading away. Boomer hippies dying off and all… :grinning:


I have to assume that the author of that article hasn’t spent a whole lot of time in Mexico over the years, and that he isn’t very familiar with the “old” VW Beetles.

I say this because, at one time, VW Beetles were the predominant taxi cab in Mexico City. While the lack of interior room didn’t make a whole lot of sense for a taxi, I recall that the front passenger seat was removed from these taxis in order to provide easier access to the cramped back seat, and also to create a space for some luggage.


… tells me that the people favoring these old “bugs” are blind to the reality of their actual MPGs. Despite having only 40 HP, the average gas mileage on these cars was 22-23 mpg. Any modern econobox can easily double that gas mileage, while having far, far better acceleration, handling better, and being much safer.

Heck, even fairly large cars nowadays can easily achieve better than 30 mpg, thus helping to prove–once again–that The Good Old Days weren’t really that good.


Demand for the microbus seems quite strong though.

THAT is for sure! The VW van market has just gone through the roof!

A fully restored (to stock) van is way north of $100,000

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Interesting. I wonder which factors contribute the most to that seeming discrepancy for the air cooled Beetle?

  • Lower compression ratio
  • Designers unconcerned w/mpg b/c other cars of the 60’s & 70’s had worse
  • Unable to control engine temperature as precisely as a water cooled engine
  • Body style produces higher wind resistance
  • Non-computerized carb vs computerized fuel injection

All of the above, plus 1930s engine design.

They were terrible!

I presume you mean from the driver’s perspective. How about repairs? Were they easier or harder to maintain and fix, compared to other cars?

Dont know, nobody i knew had one.

Mostly the first and last one. Lack of computer controlled timing advance. That makes a big difference for fuel econonmy. Also, the computer can’t run the engine on the lean side to get better economy. It has to stay in a safe zone of the air cooled engine all the time.

It appears that the compression ratio never went past 7:1

I never knew that the window washers were powered by compressed air from the spare tire!

By 2002 here are the specifications:

  • Engine: Fuel-injected (Bosch Digifant) four-cylinder horizontally opposed, 1,584 cc, 50 hp (37 kW), 98.1 N⋅m (72.4 lb⋅ft) @ 2,200 rpm, three-way catalytic converter
  • Rated fuel mileage: 7.2 L/100 km (32.5 mpg‑US; 39.0 mpg‑imp)
    Volkswagen Beetle - Wikipedia
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Varying operating temperature is a problem for achieving clean, consistent tail pipe emissions.

Beetles in the United States had fuel injection in the mid 1970’s, Mexican Beetles received fuel injection in 1993.

There were a number of engine configuration that had more power than the 36/40 hp engines. The dual port 1600 had 60 horsepower. The Toyota 1.6 liter 8 valve Corolla engine you mentioned in another thread was rated at 71 to 75 hp.

Huh? I had a '63 Bug and I know it did not have its windshield washers powered by the spare tire. It’s been almost 60-years but I think the windshield washer fluid was pumped up by a foot powered pump bulb, each time you stepped on the bulb, it squirted some fluid up on the windshield.

Now based on the tire pressure washer idea, I got curious and Google it and found a link, but my VW was not like that. I bought it used and perhaps the Foot Pump Bulb was an aftermarket product addition…

The idea of a spare tire powered washer sounds more like a J.C. Whitney product than a VW idea…

According to a Jalopnik Article by bug owner Jason Torchinsky the washer pressurized by the spare started around 1962, had a valve so the washer didn’t work if the pressure dropped below a 26psi, so the spare could still be used.

My dad had a late 50’s or very early 60’s bug in powder blue (exact year has been lost to time) and has fond memories since it was his first car but also doesn’t miss having to unfreeze the doors again when arriving at work, family friend owned “walter” a light yellow beetle beloved by the owner.

A cousin owned a dozen air cooled vw’s shared with a friend that was a mix of Beetle’s, Square backs, and Fastbacks. Building the best cars with what was there among the dozen in the late 80’s. Did start his passion for German cars, only Japanese brand’s he’s owned were from family members. Bought a TDI New Beetle to get home from Texas after the Brazilian VW he flew down to buy wasn’t as good as he thought it was.

The VW Beetle was soundly engineered for its time, but that time was the 1930s, and that old design was simply outdated by the time that it became popular in The US, Mexico, and other nations.

I wonder if some diy’ers keep an old tire in their shop just to supply compressed air when they need a little, like to spray some small part w/a jet of air to clean it? Or to clean a computer keyboard? Seems like a workable idea.

I’m following a magazine article series on renewing a 2002 Beetle to a daily driver. They’ve run into a continuing problem that nobody seems to know how to fix. They are fighting an intermittent check engine light, the diagnostic code indicating a misfire. But the engine seems to be running perfectly. One advantage of the classic Beetle, that sort of ambiguous difficult to resolve problem will never occur.