The subhead for this quick update could so easily be Mrs MajorGav gets the PetrolBlog Bug. You see, we now own what is probably best described as a very high mileage Volkswagen New Beetle. Like, 315,000 miles high.
Sure, it’s not uncommon for German engines to achieve mega miles, but what’s remarkable about this particular VW Beetle is that it’s powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine. Furthermore, it spent the early part of its life as a hire car in Somerset, dispelling any thoughts that buying an ex rental hack is a bad idea.
Even more remarkably, this 2000 Volkswagen Beetle has always been serviced at the same VW dealer in Yeovil, right up until the point it was laid up in 2012/2013. Everything has been done at Loders in Yeovil. Big stuff, small stuff… you name it, there’s a receipt for it. Leafing through the service history takes time and effort. War & Peace has got nothing on this Beetle’s folder of receipts.
So we own a Volkswagen New Beetle, which is an unexpected twist in the ever-changing world of the PetrolBlog fleet. The question is, what is it doing here and what are we going to do with it?
Reputation, reputation, reputation
You know you’ve developed a reputation in a village when your wife is asked if we’d be interested in a tired old VW Beetle. Our local farmer was attempting to do some work at a property in the village, but his path was blocked by the resting Beetle. Long story short: if he could move it, he could have it. Which is where we come in.
Having towed it to his farm, the farmer invited us over to take a look. First impressions were very good. A few bits of moss here and there, some mould on the inside, but nothing that couldn’t be sorted with a few tonnes of elbow grease. But then we clocked the mileage. At first it looked like 31,500 miles, but in a classic double-take moment, we realised that it was actually 315,000, or 315,451 to be precise.
At this point, most normal people would thank the farmer for his time, before walking away, thinking no more of it. But we’re not like normal people and once we’d seen the pile of receipts and the two-owner V5 doc, we decided a rescue mission was in order. So the Volkswagen Beetle is now sitting at PetrolBlog HQ awaiting surgery.
Wanted: dead or alive?
Of course, there’s probably a very good reason why the Beetle was laid up – terminal failure is a distinct possibility. It’s strange that after a lifetime of wanting for nothing, it was discarded and left for dead. But in our view it deserves better. A car that has travelled so far has a right to expect a second chance.
Considering the action it has seen, the Beetle is in remarkably good shape. You should only enter the cabin whilst wearing Breaking Bad style protective suits, but there’s nothing a deep clean couldn’t sort. Aside from making it hygienically clean, the long term aim is to keep her as is. This Beetle will wear its battle scars with pride.
There’s no blank chequebook here. We’ve placed a ceiling on the amount we’re prepared to spend on resurrecting the Beetle and we intend to stick to it. Worst case scenario: the likely costs will be so high, she’ll be turned into a chicken shed. Best case scenario: she’ll require a few hundred pounds of work and will drive on to achieve 400,000 miles.
Of course, the brakes will need sorting, all the fluids will need changing and the tyres will be flat-spotted, but bigger issues could concern the gearbox, clutch, head gasket or something deep within the bowels of the engine. Time will tell, but for now we have huge respect for this blue survivor.
Besides, the 400,000-mile Beetle featured on Jalopnik gives it a target to aim for.