Skip to main content

The Rating Game

April 2024
1min read


I especially appreciated Bruce McCall’s section on the Volkswagen Beetle. I am not surprised that people were sold on the ads. They were good. But what is surprising is that even after people bought the car, the ads still seemed to have so strong an effect that most Beetle owners wouldn’t believe they bought a bomb.

I was one of the people who fell for the ads. My car overheated and would diesel for five to ten minutes after I turned it off. It had two valve jobs before thirty-five thousand miles and required a third one when I sold it at thirty-six thousand. The rear upholstery fell apart a few months after I bought the car. The Beetle was underpowered and would slow down on the slightest hill or even in a headwind. The front end had to be greased about every two weeks.

When I confronted other owners with these problems, they would generally agree that they had the same difficulties, and more, but still believed that they had made a “good buy.”

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this magazine of trusted historical writing, now in its 75th year, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate