1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle - $17,995

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It sure looks like the days of inexpensive Beetles are drawing to a close, which is probably a good thing. This cheerful red 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle is still an economical way to join the hobby, featuring a fresh paint job, comfortable interior, and a lively air-cooled Flat 4 motor. Better yet, this dialed-in little Bug is believed to only have 27,449 miles on the clock. There's a very large group of folks out there who love these wonderful icons, and beautifully preserved examples like this are always at the top of the list.

Is there anything about the VW Beetle that hasn't already been said? There's more than one reason why they have endured for decades as the world's most popular car, and this one makes it easy to understand why they've recently started taking off as legitimate collectables. The cheeky good looks impressive build quality all work together to make one fantastic hobby car. This Beetle has been lovingly maintained, and the fact that it has spent most of that life as a weekend car (the super-low reported miles certainly tell that tale) lets us all know the bones are good. The recent repaint is pretty close to the original color and looks exactly right on the vintage runabout, straddling the line between flashy and traditional. Everything lines up neatly and the doors open and close with a precision that belies the car's affordable price tag, and while it's not a show car, it still looks great as a top-end driver. The sought-after Super Beetle offered a curved windshield, larger indicator lights, and subtly reshaped body panels, but the overall look is pure Beetle.

The gray interior is an excellent complement to the bright red bodywork, and the textured and durable tweed material that lines the cabin does a good job of keeping you cool on warm days, and cozy in the winter. Sporty 1980s-era Recarro-style buckets were swapped in up front to provide better bolster support, and they're in great shape, much like the matching rear bench. The Super Beetle was upgraded inside, as well, including a more stylish instrument panel, although it still embraced the VDO single gauge motif with the gas gauge inside the speedometer face. All the switchgear has a very no-nonsense look typical of German cars of the period and the leather-wrapped steering wheel has a substantial feel that's pure Volkswagen. The tweed upholstery on the headliner and door panel inserts is also in great shape, as are the industrial-style gray carpets that insulate the floors, and the shiny black dash is clean as can be and completely free of any cracks or ripples. Like most VW's of the era, options are limited, but this Super Beetle does still carry its original AM radio (although it's in need of an upgrade if you want tunes), along with a heater/defrost unit that's still working great. The forward-mounted trunk is outfitted the same as it was in 1974, and includes its original spare tire and jack set.

The air-cooled 1600 cc flat-four under the boot is likely the Bug's original engine, and it still whistles along without complaints. With such low mileage reported on the clock, it's still an excellent runner that feels very strong up and down the throttle, especially with that smooth-shifting 4-speed manual transmission behind it. It starts easily with that distinctive VW whistling exhaust note, and delivers just the right amount of performance for around-town errands. It remains quite stock, from the carburetor to the hoses to the air ducts, and thanks to routine maintenance through the years, it fires up with ease and doesn't puff out any smoke from the exhaust – somewhat of a rarity in Beetle's from this era. Stir the 4-speed manual properly and it's entertaining to drive, thanks to a stable suspension and decent brakes, which never seem to work very hard on the lightweight VW. It's original underneath and very solid, and even though you couldn't exactly eat off the big floorpan, it looks just about right for a car you're going to want to drive. Minilite style wheels are the lone upgrade to this Bug's curb appeal, but they're certainly welcomed and come wrapped in grippy blackwall radials.

You'll probably find that everyone is your friend when you drive a Beetle, and the way the market is moving, they won't be this affordable for much longer. With great looks, spirited performance, and super-low reported miles, this might be your last opportunity EVER to buy a Super Beetle this special for under $20k. Call today!

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