Buyers Guide
Part 1
Body and rust

Body

The body is much weaker then the Sedans body. And much more sensitive to poor welding jobs. The most revealing parts are the doorchinks. They get V-shaped. The gap between the door and the B-pillar is wider at the top than the bottom, look at this. A few millimeters i OK but more should be corrected. This often develops when welding is done on the special strengthening sills.
Check the bodylines carefully. Does the bonnet fit correctly? It should open and close easy.
Check that the engine is in the middle, put a finger between engine and body on each side.
The vertical line of the bodywork in front of the doors is a soft spot that often rusts on the newer cars, but seldom on the older. Complicated to correct.
The doors often crack on the outside where the quarter-glass window opens.

Restoration decriptions:
Here are pictures of a ´58 Cabrio restoration

 

Rust

The Cabrio rusts as happily as the Sedan, even more so, since they are more likely to have water leaks. And Karmann has a reputation from making bodies with bad rust prevention (just look at all rusty Sciroccos from the seventies). Repair-parts for the body is no problem, except for the oldest models. Even the special strengthening sills are available (though not from VW).

Water leaking from the rear window could cause a lot of problems. Check behind the rear luggage compartment for spots and dampness. Lift the rear seat and look carefully, especially on the battery side, lift the battery it up. Check the whole floor on the inside.
Raise the car properly. From underneath you should check the strengthening sills and all parts that normally rusts on a Beetle. On the 1302 and 1303 check the spare wheel compartment, lifting out the spare wheel. If there has been welding done somewhere (likely) how has it been done? It is easier to do a correct welding job from scratch than to fix a bad job.
Never buy a cabrio without looking carefully for rust because they are all more or less rusty, unless they are newly and seriously restored of course.

Body and rust | The top | Chrome and mouldings | Import from USA |
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