Stock or modified: which is worth more?

With older VW prices rising all the time, owners have a dilemma. Do they keep everything stock and enjoy things as they are, or do they make modifications and risk hurting values? Well, this sought after ’67 Beetle for sale at demonstrates how you can enjoy the best of both worlds…

For many, ’67 Beetles represent something of a Holy Grail. As well as having the prettier smaller bumpers, they boasted better lighting and 12v electrics as well a raft of unique and interesting features, including a design of domed hubcap that were only fitted to the 1966-’67 model years. In short, it’s a car with intrinsic collectable worth that really shouldn’t be fiddled with. Yet this one has been Cal-Looked with a slightly lowered suspension, Sprint Star wheels and a much more beefier engine out back – namely a 1835cc unit with twin EMPI 44 HPMX carbs, external oil cooler and a host of other internal upgrades.


Normally, when you start to stray too far from original spec it spoils things when it comes to resale as the market loves the nostalgia of a car that looks as it did when it left the factory. Needless to say, modifications generally have far less impact when carried out on a car that wasn’t brilliant or particularly original in the first place and perhaps needed an awful lot of welding work just to get it through an MoT. But on a fully historied rot-free cars such as this Californian import, the stakes are always going to be a lot higher. That’s why the whole subject of upgrades needs to be approached sensibly as has been the case here…


What the owner has done is get the car exactly how he wanted it while retaining all the original parts. That means he’s still got the original wheels, the original engine and even the original seatbelts so they could all be swapped back to return this rare model to its factory spec.


Moreover, while it’s had a repaint to tidy things up, importance has been given to retaining a big chunk of its original patina. So here, for example, the original slightly yellow headlining has been kept as has the original steering wheel with its years of wear still showing. All too often cars have their personality ripped out of them by being over-restored or simply having everything replaced. By all means fit a new wheel, but keep the old one as well. Ditto things like seats, radios, bits of trim, rubber mats, carpets and boot liners.


At the end of the day, owning an older Volkswagen is all about getting out there and enjoying it. If that means doing a certain amount of personalisation, adding accessories or applying upgrades to make it go, corner and stop faster than when it left the factory, or simply making it run better and be more reliable, we’re all for that. To an extent however, we are merely temporary custodians keeping these vehicles for posterity. The best ones shouldn’t be molested, and if we do implement changes or swap things around, it makes sense to ensure everything that’s done is either done properly or can be easily be undone again at a later date if required. And that goes for both air- and water-cooled VW classics.


The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage.


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