5 of the most interesting VW Beetles of all time

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Friday 12 July 2019

This week, the Volkswagen Beetle was retired for good. It’s run started back in 1938 and comprised of three major generations along the way. Here we look back at five of the most interesting Beetles ever.

1. The oldest-known surviving production Beetle

More than 21 million Beetles were produced over the years but this is believed to be the oldest one around. The is a 1941 KdF-wagen Type 60, chassis number 20. It actually predates the Volkswagen name, which didn’t come about until after World War II. It still looks the same though, with the familiar curved bodywork and narrow wheels.

Chassis 20 was once gifted to a German composer, Paul Lincke, two years after Britain declared war on Germany and it was later found rotting under a tree in 1988. It was given a full restoration, finished in 2018.

2. The most expensive Beetle

Only three times has a VW Beetle fetched more than $US100,000 at auction, with the highest-selling Bug going for $128,700 in 2018. It was a 1963 Beetle, one that appeared as Herbie in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977) and Herbie Goes Bananas (1980). It may not surprise you to hear that six other Herbies are in the top ten Most Valuable VW Beetle list.

Though, that isn’t stopping others from trying to beat it - one 1964 Beetle is up for sale for a cool million bucks, its worth derived from its 100 per cent originality.

3. The rarest Beetle

This is a contentious one. However, we’d propose the 1944 Volkswagen Schwimmwagen, an amphibious military vehicle based on the Beetle. Yes, it’s a bit of a cheater but it counts in this category because so few survived the war. One sold at Bonhams in May 2018 for $US230,724. Discounting this, it would probably go to the Kommandeurwagen, or Type 87. It was a blend of the 4x4 Kubelwagen and the pedestrian Beetle, using the chassis of the former with the body of the latter. Around 669 were produced.

4. The most interesting custom Beetle

There are so many strange custom Beetle jobs out there that this pick is quite difficult. We’ll go with this one, an intricate wrought-iron Beetle built by a gate and fence maker. It took 3500 hours to build the car, with around 70kg of iron used. There are also 24-carat gold leafs and 5000 Swarovksi crystals dotting the exterior and a leather interior.

5. The fastest Bug

The title of Fastest Beetle goes to the Nitro Bug, a creation that cost creator Andy Raw four years and the equivalent of $NZ200,000. It can hit 450km/h thanks to a 4000hp Keith Black 8.2-litre V8 running on nitromethane. This extremely expensive fuel means each drag run costs thousands of dollars. But hitting 100km/h in one second and completing the quarter mile in just under six seconds must feel worth it.


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