HomePick of the Day1949 Volkswagen Beetle

1949 Volkswagen Beetle


The early Volkswagen shows the original unadorned original styling of the Beetle

Here’s the kind of thing that makes VW fanatics flip out, an accurately restored Type 1 from the first year they were brought into the U.S.

New York dealer Max Hoffman, the automotive impresario who also was the early importer of such European brands as Alfa Romeo, BMW, Citroen, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, believed that the American public would accept the odd-duck Volkswagen despite its minimalistic size, accommodations and performance. Hoffman was right, in spades.

The split back window makes this a highly desired VW

The Pick of the Day is a 1949 Volkswagen Beetle that is said to have been recently and correctly restored to original. These early bugs are referred to as spilt windows by the VW clan because of their split-oval rear glass, and they are highly sought after in any condition. I know a guy who just trailered one back from New Mexico, where it had been stored outdoors for decades; he got it running and drives it around, still covered in crud.

This VW appears to be in the opposite condition, offered on ClassicCars.com by a St. Louis, Missouri, dealer who generally specializes in high-end classics. This is a departure for him, but makes sense because of its rarity and immaculate condition.

According to the dealer’s lengthy ad description: “This 1949 Volkswagen Type 1 is a beautifully and recently restored example finished true to original specification. The body is outstanding, with lovely Pearl Grey paint laid down over excellent panels. Decklids fit beautifully and the doors shut solidly with excellent gaps.

“It has a wonderful, simple charm to it, and the paint work is expertly finished, carefully executed to not appear too glossy but with a period-appropriate sheen that lends the car a factory-fresh appearance. The bumpers are excellent, as are lamp bezels on the correct Bosch lenses.”

The 1.1-liter flat four was rated at 25 horsepower

The engine is the original, matching-number 1,136cc flat-four that produced around 25 horsepower for the 1,680-pound two-door sedan. The rebuilt engine is linked with the correct four-speed transmission.

“The engine is carefully and properly detailed with period-appropriate parts such as the brown-top Bosch coil and distributor cap, and black-lacquered ignition leads,” the dealer says. “Engine sheet metal is beautifully restored and painted in a semi-gloss black as correct.”

The interior with its beyond-simple dashboard has been totally redone, the ad says, with correct German square-weave carpet, recovered seats, refurbished switches and gauges, and proper details throughout.

The body and trim look properly done in the large gallery of photos accompanying the ad, down to the unadorned bumpers and semaphore turn signals.

The asking price of $69,000 is fairly lofty for a VW, but this one looks like a very-special find that most-likely would cost as much to duplicate.

“This is a beautifully presented Beetle, a highly desirable example from the early days of this iconic machine and a pure, simple joy to drive,” the ad concludes.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.



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