Coachbuilt Beetle: 1958 Rometsch Lawrence

1958 Rometsch Lawrence Front

This car intrigued us because we couldn’t figure out what it was. Turns out it is a coachbuilt car which was based on the VW Beetle. Don’t let its humble origins turn you off though, these things are rare and trade can for six figures when restored. It is a 1958 Rometsch Lawrence and it has been parked in the Arizona sun since 1969. This project is for experts only, but if you are interested it can be found here on eBay with the starting bid at $25k and no reserve.

1958 Rometsch Lawrence Side

The more we learned about this car, the more we like it. There is not much information available because there were only 85 built and only 30 are known to still exist. This one is already listed in the Rometsch Lawrence registry and has been for sale for some time. That sleek bodywork was all done in aluminum and stuck on top of a VW Beetle. The underside here is rusted out so it is going to need some major repairs, or possibly a whole new pan. Luckily VW parts are plentiful.

1958 Rometsch Lawrence Engine

Even though this car is in rough shape it is amazing to see how much of it is original. The engine and transmission are all there along with many of the hard to find bits. The original tires are even still intact.

1958 Rometsch Lawrence Interior

The interior also looks complete but very deteriorated. Hopefully there is enough left to stitch some new seat covers and door panels. We are not sure how many of the parts came from the VW parts bin, but we hope a lot of them did for the sake of the next owner.

1958 Rometsch Lawrence Convertible

Here is a shot of a convertible currently listed for sale by Holy Grail Garage for $100k. There are more photos here to get an idea of what these cars can look like when restored. It may be possible to take the project up to the level of this car, but you are going to have to really love these cars to complete the restoration. Anyone here up to tackling this one?

Comments

  1. Ron

    Not me. That picture of the guy staring at it with a WTF look on his face says it all. If it’s that valuable, store it inside at least.

  2. mike k

    from a money standpoint– if these can AND do bring in 100k– then this would be a money maker. im having a hard time seeing what makes these 100k cars unless desirability. im having even a harder time figuring out how buying this one at 25k–how i could still get it over 60k total to buy it and restore it. We are talking beetle parts– not like we are hunting for austin healy mk3 3000. Even german quality parts are dirt cheap. i would think a moderately skilled do it yourself person could do the pan/engine at an acceptable show car level– sub out the interior and paint work and still be in way cheaper than 100k. if these sell for top buck, i wish i had the extra money to buy and flip this.

  3. rick

    Maybe the Okrasa engine is not installed but included in the sale? I did not see any pics of it. Yes, just beetle parts but rare beetle parts

  4. Rometsch lawrence registry

    This car is know in the registry. It has body 543. (The Numbers starter with 501)Don’t think restoration of this car is easy. These car have aluminium scan over ?á metal frame. To restore this you have to peal off THE aluminium skin and restore the matal frame first. The contact between the aluminium and metal gives corrosion. The pan and technique is the easiest part of the restoration. The body work can only be done by experts. This car doesn’t have an okrasa engine (like the convertible has). This car have a standard beetle engine. Currently there are 30 cars known. 16 coupe and 14 convertible. RegardsPatrick baptistKeeper of the rometsch lawrence registry

  5. His Royal Flatulence

    Maybe I’m just seeing this through my rose-tinteds, but the metal on this car looks really pretty good. The picture of the door edge is a bit scary – I’m wondering if the doors are steel, because that looks like rust? But overall it seems really quite straight and clean, with most of the work needed being soft trim and mechanical. There aren’t a lot of restoration projects that make economic sense, but this one seems to have lots of upside potential.

  6. Barn Finds

    @Patrick – Thanks for sharing your knowledge here. These are very unique cars that deserve to be documented and preserved. We have updated the post to reflect your corrections. Do you feel the price is fair here? Or is the seller dreaming? I’m sure our re

  7. Wilbur

    I could part out the skeleton, too!

  8. Eric

    The body is aluminum… It is not rust that you see on the door… It is the results from extreme electrolysis. This electrolysis is why these cars are VERY hard to restore. Typically restoration costs for paint and body… to do it right are north of 50k US$. You have to eliminate the contact between the metal wire and the aluminum skin by unfolding the skin as Patrick explained in the earlier post above. Once unfolded you can seal the problem

  9. Eric

    Btw… I know this because I own a Rometsch Beeskow… An earlier car built by Rometsch from 1950-1957.

  10. Eric

    BTW. The car actually looks pretty good all in all. An easier resto than many. Price is right in line with market. Most are much worse due to moist environment storage. AZ is dry and thus even exterior storage is better than indoor storage in humid areas. Back window will have to be made…

  11. Chris

    Lots of VW parts will be needed. That sure looks lke a 1958 steering wheel.

  12. Rometsch lawrence registry

    I expect the car will sell for that price. There are ?á lot of VW lovers in the world and these coachbuild cars based on a VW chassis are the top cars in a VW collection. Rometsch was an independent coachbuilder and bought complete beetle’s to produce these cars. VW didn’t support there business and refused to deliver the chassis only. There the customer had to bring in a whole car or rometsch Just bought a car from the dealer. Parts were specially produced or bought in the market. The headlights are from the Karmann ghia, Just like the inside mirror and sunvisors. Taillight were from ford and the later model had taillight from fiat. Doorhandels and gauges were from borgward. All glas, chrome parts and bumpers were rometsch specific. As these were handbuild cars the chrome and bumpers were made to fit the car. Parts from one car can’t be used on another car without adjustments. Even the bodypanels from one car doesn’t fit the other car. I have three of these cars (all convertables and all restorationproject) and tried to fit parts from one car to the other, but it doesn’t fit)Therefor it is good that this car is nearly complete and has the original bumpers and chrometrim. The front and rear windows need to be replaced. Reproduction front windows are available. The steeringwheel is ?á petri afrika with sun and moon horn button. This is not standard VW and costs around $2000. RegardsPatrick

    • Mark Bergfors

      Hi

      The round little tail lights of Rometsch. Were do they originate from more specifically. Ford? What year and Model? Or were the round ones Fiat?

      I´m restoring an italian built Volvo P1800 prototype and have an idea thye used the same. Mines are missing

      Thanks
      Mark

  13. Rometsch lawrence registry

    Forgot to mention that Rometsch also build special bodies for Fiat, Alfa and some others. The rometsch beeskow and the rometsch lawrence were there own design/brand. Besides Rometsch there were some other coachbuilders that used the VW chassis for there cars. Dannenhauer & Stauss, beutler and drews are bedierf the Rometsch the best known. A D&S car is even unrestored worth more than $100kPatrick

  14. acmeron

    Looking at the convertible paint job, the black is kind of strange and makes the car look like the front end is lifting making it awkward. Continuing the black all the way to the front, and rear, gives the car a lower look. I have seen this car and it is complete down to the strange horn button. With only some 16 coupes left on earth and being the epitome of VW collecting you would think people would be praising, not criticizing.

  15. Trish

    did this sell … does anyone know… or does anyone know where i can get some parts for 1958 Rometsch in restoration… looking for headlights and taillights….

  16. Rometsch lawrence registry

    Hallo Trish,The car sold to the UK. Who are you? I suppose your car is know to me, but i don’t recognice your username. Headlight can be used from the Karmann ghia. RegardsPatrick

  17. Trish

    Thank you … I will update you as soon as I have all the information on my end together… just trying to get the right stuff put together … Thank you,any other helpful information regarding restoration would be helpful…

  18. Rometsch lawrence registry

    Please sent me an e-mail regarding your rometsch. Pbaptist@ziggo.nl

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