2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Turbo

By Ted Orme

It still bears a retro resemblance to the classic ’65 reviewed below. The charm and nostalgia also remain but, wow, has decades of techno improvement ever made a difference for the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible.

 Let’s start with price and power. The 40 horsepower, air-cooled, rear-engine ’65 Beetle ragtop left the showroom for $2,053, according to My ride was the top-of-the-line Turbo with a 2.0-liter FSI turbocharged direct-injection four producing 200-horsepower, 207 lb-ft of torque and priced at $32,295 (plus $795 “destination” charge). That big number also buys you a six-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission, bigger 18-inch tires, sport seats, leather trim, Fender premium sound system and navigation.

If that price sends shock waves through your Scotch heart (read cheap) as it does mine, just remember what you were making in 1965 – if, in fact, you were even born. Also, to keep this in perspective, says a restored ’65 like Butch Sevila’s has a high retail value of $26,600 today. That’s more than it cost to get you into today’s base model Beetle Convertible, which stickers at $24,995.  


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1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S 

By Vern Parker

Those who stay alert often are rewarded for their vigilance. Last July David Van Duzer was at his computer scanning Ebay for nothing in particular when an item offering a 1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S arrested his attention.

He contacted the owner and was surprised to learn that the car was garaged only a few blocks away from his Arlington, Va., home. The 15-foot, 7-inch-long black sedan showed a few signs of aging but obviously had been well treated since new.

VanDuzer learned that the Mercedes-Benz had been purchased new in Kalamazoo, Mich. The second owner then took the car home to Grosse Pointe, Mich. Eventually the third owner moved the sedan to Arlington, Va., where Van Duzer became the fourth owner.

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1965 Volkswagen Convertible

By Vern Parker

A half dozen years ago Jane Sevila was a pre-teenager. That didn't stop her from expressing to her father, “Butch” Sevila, her fondness for some old Volkswagen beetle convertibles she had seen on the roads.

She thought they were cute and her father, like most everyone else in America, agreed. They shopped around for such a car before finding, on Craig's List, a well worn blue 1965 VW beetle convertible. The owner was a European Union employee and the exhausted car was parked on the streets of Washington, D.C.

The owner told Sevila that she left the car unlocked so criminal elements would not cut the convertible top to gain entrance. The top has a glass rear window.


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1930 Model A Ford Convertible Cabriolet

By Vern Parker

In the four years between 1928 and 1931 the Ford Motor Company produced about five-million Model A Fords. There were two-door and four-door sedans as well as coupes, roadsters, pickups and many other models.

One of the flashier models was a 1930 Convertible Cabriolet. When new it carried a base price of $645. For that price the buyer got a fabric top fitted with chrome plated Landau irons to enable the top to go down.

It was almost 30 years ago that Clem Clement decided that the 1930 Model A Ford Convertible Cabriolet that had recently been offered for sale in Maryland was the car for him. The 2,273-pound car was equipped with the requisite 200.5-cubic-inch, four-cylinder, 40-horsepower engine. However, this engine was not functioning.


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2013 Mazda CX-5 Sport Manual Strippo

Shortly after I got out of the recently reviewed Ford Escape SE EcoBoost, a compact crossover challenger, the all-new Mazda CX-5 Sport Manual , showed up. It was a shocker. Not the style, technology or performance: the price.

The Ford, with $3,400 in options, was pushing $30K. The bare bones, stick shift CX-5 Sport was just a nudge over $20K ($20,695 plus $795 delivery fee, to be exact). To recession era car buyers that spread will definitely get your attention.

What’s more, the Mazda’s 2.0-liter Skyactiv (which, best as I can figure, is Mazda’s catchy term for its whole approach to vehicle design and engineering) four-cylinder with a 6-speed manual transmission earns a best-in-class EPA mpg rating of 26 city/35 highway/29 combined on regular gas – also very appealing numbers to us cheapskates. I actually got 32.6 mpg over about 300 miles of varied roads. By way of comparison, the Escape numbers were 23/33/26, which is about what I got for the week.


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