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16k Mile Survivor! 1959 Volkswagen Beetle

The person who buys this 1959 Volkswagen Beetle shouldn’t need to spend a dime on it beyond the purchase price. It appears that it has all been done for them, from the immaculate paint to the freshly retrimmed interior. It is difficult to find anything to fault, making this a tremendous turn-key classic for the right person. Located in Tampa, Florida, you will find the Beetle listed for sale here on eBay. The bidding has quickly sailed past the reserve and currently sits at $11,600.

There’s not much that we can fault with the exterior presentation of this Beetle. The owner admits that he recently treated the car to a repaint, and I believe that it underwent a color change at the same time. The VIN indicates that the Volkswagen was built somewhere between August of 1958 and July of 1959. I’ve examined VW paint charts from that period, and this shade of Yellow doesn’t appear on any of them. However, the steel that hides beneath that immaculate paint is original and remarkably solid. The owner chose not to touch, paint, or undercoat the floors when the repaint was performed. These remain as they left the factory, and there’s no evidence of rust or other problems. Following the repaint, the owner replaced every weather seal and gasket, which means that dust or moisture entry should not be an issue. The trim is in excellent condition, and there are no visible flaws with the glass.

When we turn our attention to the interior, we find a continuation of the theme of a spotless presentation. The owner treated it to a retrim, and the Stone Beige leatherette upholstery on the seats appears flawless. The same is true of the remaining upholstered surfaces, the carpet, and the headliner. It seems that the owner also refreshed all of the painted surfaces, which add to the car’s positive impression. It isn’t perfect because the original wheel has some crazing, while a couple of smaller trim pieces have bubbles appearing on their plated surfaces. These are only minor details, and you have to look pretty hard to spot them. If the buyer decided to take this VW to a show or a Cars & Coffee, they wouldn’t need to hang their head in shame because of the interior condition and presentation.

It seems hard to find any bad news with this Beetle because not only is it numbers-matching, but it seems to be in sound mechanical health. It is powered by the almost bulletproof 1,192cc air-cooled flat-four that should be producing 36hp. Bolted to that little four is a 4-speed manual transmission that directs the power to the road via the rear wheels. Outright performance is not the strong point of Beetles from this era. However, they will happily cruise all day at around 60mph while taking mere sips from their fuel tank. Many owners, especially those living in colder climates, chose to upgrade the electrical system in their Beetle to 12-volts, but this car retains its original 6-volt configuration. The engine bay presents nicely, and the owner refers to the vehicle as a turn-key proposition. That suggests the buyer won’t need to spend a dime on the drivetrain. The listing also indicates an odometer reading of 16,000 miles. The owner doesn’t mention mileage in the text of his listing, so it isn’t clear whether it has rolled over at some point.

Initially conceived, built, and marketed as an affordable people’s car, the original Volkswagen Beetle possesses the most instantly recognizable silhouette of any vehicle produced in automotive history. They were popular when new due to their affordability, and that popularity has grown with each passing year. Today, spotless and original examples commonly change hands for $40,000, while figures beyond $50,000 are not uncommon. Whether this car can reach those dizzying heights is hard to tell because the non-original color could have some impact. It is worth noting that the bidding has already surpassed the reserve, so a new home is mere days away for this little classic. This might be an auction worth watching…unless you intend to bid instead.


  1. Stevieg Member

    What a cute, happy looking little car. You’d never guess it was designed by Nazis lol. Someone will own a real treasure. I doubt the mile claim, but it has all been done, so it really doesn’t matter.

    Like 9
    • Albert H

      That’s one of the misconceptions about the Beetle that I wish would die. The Nazis didn’t design the car at all. Development of the idea for the Beetle had been going on at various companies through Dr. Porsche before Hitler and the Nazis came to power.

      Like 31
  2. David K Sebben

    Too bad car manufacturers can’t do this today….build an affordable, basic car. I’d love to own this one.

    Like 15
    • Craig

      and die like men, while sweating and reading a map

      Like 6
  3. Haig L Haleblian

    No way an original color

    Like 11
    • Mike

      Yellow looks odd on a 50’s bug.

      Like 13
      • GPAK

        Yup, as soon as I saw that aweful colour I came straight here to the comments,
        this car is ‘NOT a SURVIVOR‘ !
        and like the other one a week or so ago it is just ANOTHER overpriced Kafer !

        Like 2
    • Tom

      It’s looks like what VW called Texas Yellow, from the 1970’s. I know because I had one that color.

  4. alan hubbard

    She may be numbers matching, and beautiful. But paint and interior trimming is not original. Very pretty car, nothing I see would keep me from buying her.

    Like 3
  5. Steveo

    Repaint, retrim and who knows what but this is a survivor?

    Like 7
    • Gumby

      Yep. Not much of a survivor if it’s been redone in incorrect colors and materials. Still a nice car,just misrepresented.

      Like 8
    • RKS

      Adam Clarke will throw that term at everything. It’s very annoying.

      Like 6
  6. Stevieg Member

    It still survives, so it’s a survivor. Keep in mind that Mr. Clark lives down under. They might have different phrases down there, or different context. He often refers to door panels as door cards. In Great Britain, a fag is a cigarette. Just because it is different, doesn’t make it wrong. Even if it were wrong, none of us are right 100% of the time. Relax, lighten up, and enjoy this website for what it is.

    Like 9
    • MrBZ


      Like 3
  7. Troy

    At time I’m posting this bidding has reached $12k but it begs the question how can it be both a survivor and restored in the wrong color there posting says they go to great lengths to bring cars back I would call the mileage suspect unless you are getting it documented from the original owners

    Like 4
  8. Jack Quantrill

    Whilst in Honolulu, in 1959, the local vw dealer hired a bunch of college kids to drive a shipment of brand new vw’s off the ship to his lot. Naturally we, raced them as fast as we could. In one case, the gas hose was too far from the Car’s tank. A beefy Samoan grabbed it by the bumper overrider and lifted it to the hose!

    Like 5
  9. Craig

    too bad the seller didn’t post a ‘before ‘ pic. it would answer alot of questions.

    Like 3
  10. lbpa18

    “Survivor” is a broad term, often misunderstood and misapplied. Obviously if its here it has survived. Though quite unlikely it has but 16K miles on it, it sure looks healthy from the photos.

    • onree Member

      So… by that standard every car is a survivor?

  11. JimmyJ

    Whoever ‘worked’ on it should have paid some attention to the underside of it. That needs a lot of attention. Still a very nice looking bug! I’d drive it

  12. Dan D

    The general meaning of a ‘survivor’, in automotive terms, is not this car.

    Like 2
    • RKS

      That’s what I’m talking about! Good article!

      Like 1
  13. Kathy

    Love me a bug, but no, they do not sip gas by 2021 standards. They are ludicrously inefficient gas guzzlers. And I could care less because they are adorable.

    Like 2
  14. Dwcisme

    Maybe not original colour but, good job on the colour match. Since this has been a southern car, there is a lack of corrosion. However, Beetles can start rusting simply because a Canadian has read this article. My father was a huge fan of Bugs (we had 4) but in the New Brunswick climate, the undersides started rotting the moment you signed the sale agreement.

  15. Raymond

    What cute little nettle Volkswagen in German it’s das auto

  16. Shar

    Loved my 59! No power but great mileage! No gas gauge, just a lever on the floor to the spare little tank when it started to sputter! The heater barely kept the windshield clear in cold weather. In the summer we used spray water bottles for air conditioning. Best $500 dollar car ever!

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