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Old RWD Bug for getting to resorts? Anyone with experience?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Has anyone used an old read-wheel drive VW bug for traveling to resorts? I have one, but haven't used it for that since the heater is so lousy. But what about that infamous weight-over-the-back-wheels traction? Does it work with good snow tires in snow and ice?

post #2 of 10

Traction is great.  The problem is the ducts from the heat exchanger to windshield run under the doors and rust out.  Some had an extra gasoline powered heater heater.  I remember running a vacuum cleaner hose from the duct under the back seat to my windshield.  Good luck with that.

post #3 of 10

Spent many a winter with a Bug.  Was one of the best snow cars you could get in its' day.  Normally ran studs on the rears.  Used them in Summit County and Alaska so winter was a factor.  They were the ski bum car of the day, you could find any color and year at most any ski area employee parking lot.


For heating there is a gas heater you can get and retro into an older VW; they will keep you warm and enhance the defrosting, just be aware of the carbon monoxide dangers. 


Go for it, peace sign is mandatory.

post #4 of 10

My first car was a $600, 66' Bug.  As has been said the heater sucks.  I would always have a towel & an ice scraper within reach for fogging issues.  An oil pan heater helped to get it started on cold mornings.  The rear mounted engine provided great traction & I ran 4 snow tires with some bricks up front.  The thing did great parking break slides & was a lot of fun.  In this day & age, it would not be my first choice for a snow car.


post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

I do indeed have the peace sign, Stranger, thanks! 


The passenger and rear seats are currently removed. Maybe I could mount a Mr Heater inside somewhere and drive with the windows cracked.


I know it's nutty . . . just musing out loud.


Thanks for the stories about your successes with generating good traction. It could be a fun project to play with since I already have the car.

post #6 of 10

my brother was big into the bug.  i fondly recall driving out to his girlfriends (he was in the navy then) back in 1978/79 or so.   she called, car stuck and he talked his dumb brothers into hauling the 8 mi out with 12 inches just fallen.  we hopped over the snow as the pan was quite good at surfing the snow, the rear wheel was great at traction.  we'd hop out if we did get stuck and given the bug weighed nothing ... was easy to get her moving and we'd hop in with door open.  with cables or winters i'd guess good but i'd opt for worstcondition and use chains or cables.


lots of kits out there for adding windshield defog or even the traditional school bus fan, 12v to drive off the condinsation.


anyhow, if you haven't an other form, a bug isn't bad if you have the wieght to toss in the back.




post #7 of 10

Oh my god. YES!


74 Superbeetle that initially had heat just out of the one heaterbox in the back, hot enough to melt the basket off of a Scott pole. Once that stopped working, I tried to heat the car with Sterno, big mistake. Sterno gives off a damp heat and it was just enough to frost all the windows INSIDE the car. That was my daily driver as a senior at Pocono Mountain, it made a lot of trips to Camelback. I have a BarreCrafter SR-25 rack and my 204cm Pre 1200 SP's with MRR's were always at hand. Good times were had in that car. It was amazing what could be accomplished in hte back seat of a beetle too. 

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 


It was amazing what could be accomplished in the back seat of a beetle too.


So you were a hobbit in a previous life?

post #9 of 10

Beetles are awesome in the Winter.... My Dad ran one in Norway for many years, it would always start up in the cold thanks to the lack of a radiator and once you knew all the tricks regarding damp starts/spark leads/distro caps etc you could be up and away before many had got their screens cleared.


The thinner wheels and rear weight are a plus for snow traction, just practice in a frozen parking lot to get the feel of the rear-end!  Besides, most winter driving problems are people going too fast.... That really isn't much of a problem in a Beetle eh?


In my old '70 bug I found some new-old stock heat exchangers and some flexible foil tubing to re-run the heat..... but I had the engine out for replacement anyway, so it was a reasonably simple task.

post #10 of 10
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