Watch out Beetle's about

Some cars you already know are great. E Type, Jensen Interceptor, late 60s 911s. Some you discover are great. In this second category I nominate the humble People's Car, the VW Beetle.
I should declare an interest here. My parents loved Beetles, so much so that they had a string of them; until I was 10 I thought all front engined cars were weird. Perhaps they are.
However, unlike many car enthusiasts this early experience didn't make me hanker after a Beetle later in life. Were I to covet my dad's motors my drive would also have a Renault 20. Fiat Strada and a lot of Volvos. It hasn't.
My only subsequent experience of Beetles was in Baja California when I hired a Mexican built model to tour around. I was quite impressed but it felt a long way from the mid 60s Beetles my parents owned.
All that changed quite recently. As luck would have it we now have two VW Beetles on our hire fleet, a flat screen hard top in the Cotswolds and a Karmann convertible in Devon. I've driven the blue hard top several times and enjoyed its mix of solidity, no-nonsense simplicity and perky budget-911 handling. It's a lot of fun.
Today I drove the Karmann and absolutely loved it. It needed a spin to charge up the battery so I took advantage of the sun, dropped the roof (very easy) and headed off into the Devon lanes around our site near Exeter.
The Beetle is often overlooked as a classic because it is so reliable and familiar. Don't make the same mistake. As a drop top it is almost perfect for a weekend away. It is spacious, very easy to drive and also great fun - it really is a mini 911. It will hang on around roundabouts until you grow dizzy. The convertible roof is easily one of the best I've seen on a classic - wind tight, water proof and simple to operate.
Although our Beetles are both 69 models there are a lot of differences. The flat screen car is purer to the original design and perhaps looks better. The convertible loses a little in looks but gains a lot in refinement. It has more sound deadening, a proper dashboard and a bigger boot.
The Beetle leaves you with one word lingering in your head - engineering. It was a cheap car built in huge volumes but it was made extremely well. The doors clunk, the seats support, the switchgear clicks. It is a real antidote to the slung-together feel of contemporary British cars.
Surrounded as I am by classic cars I don't often drive a new one and think 'I could use this for a weekend away' but the Karmann Beetle genuinely does that. Solid but fun to drive, practical and a drop top too. Hard to fault really.
Find out more about the four seater 921 in hardtop or convertible style to hire from our Cotswolds or Devon sites by visiting www.greatescapecars.co.uk or call 01527 893733. Mention this article, claim 10% off.




























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