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1963 VW Bug: Peel-A-Way Roof


Bugs are funny things. Some show up en masse, part of a craigslist yard sale where no price is too low. Others are more cherished, restored to the highest levels of the Cal-look customizing craze. And there are still more that are prized for their originality, like this 1963 example here on eBay and sent in by Barn Finds reader Charles H.


The engine is claimed to be original and running great. The seller has owned the car for the last 25 years and reports that the body is in excellent shape, albeit with some battle scars and the occasional dent. Any rust is limited to surface-only, and the car was repainted by the original owner in the correct shade many moons ago. With only 88,000 miles, that engine should have lots of life left yet to give.


One of the best features of this Bug is the canvas sliding roof. This full-length sunroof was all the rage in the 60s and found on lots of air-cooled VWs. Unfortunately, this fad never caught on with other makes and models, and aside from a few failed efforts like the BMW 318ti California Edition, the canvas sliding sunroof seems to be frozen in time, forever a vestige of the flower-power era.


The interior is not perfect, and I’m surprised a long-term owner lived with the driver’s seat in such poor condition. But that seems to be the overall theme of this ’63 Beetle – the lack of work needed to keep it on the road this long. The seller almost seems proud of the fact that he hasn’t done much more than perform a brake job and replace the fuel tank and lines. Bidding is over $3K with the reserve unmet; what do you think this low-maintenance Bug is worth?


  1. Chris in WNC

    LOVE IT!

    I would reupholster the bottom panel of the drivers seat only, and drive it everywhere.

    the only thing that might be a problem is rust-through below the rear window (see the leak stains) but that would not scare me away if the floor pans and heater tubes were sound…….

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    • Patrick McC.

      I second that!

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      • Jeff Staff

        Thirded! Might even be able to pick up a replacement seat for less hassle/cost that new materials.

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  2. George

    Over all it doesn’t look too bad. I’d take a chance on it if I was in a position to.

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  3. Fred

    Something about VW original paint- it should buff out to look as good as the dash. That and a few touch ups would make it look amazing. Great color, looks like Rustoleum primer when oxidized, an incredible deep red when new or buffed.

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  4. Charles H.

    I agree with Fred, just buff it out with some Meguiars Cleaner Wax,and redo the seat bottom and drive, drive, drive!

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  5. 64 bonneville

    I bought a 64 Bug brand new. This model has several options for 63, the push button radio and the gas gauge! Prior to 1964 you had a metal rod marked in gallons to measure the amount of fuel in the tank. More often than not the “stick” went missing sometime before the older models were re-sold. BTW the payment on the new Bug was $63.00 @ month for 36 months.

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    • moosie Craig

      We had a ’64 that was bought new in that year, managed to find the window sticker, years later it was the donor for a Dune Buggy build.

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  6. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    My first car! Loved that rag-top sunroof. Me and my friends took one of those label makers from the ’70s and made labels for each of the controls on the dashboard…in mock-German.

    Ignition……………………..das Puttersparken
    Wipers……………………….der Drizzelflippen
    Lights………………………….das Glimmerblinken
    Ash tray……………………….der Ashendunken
    Glove box……………………..der Stashinboxen

    I forget what we called the radio.

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    • Dougm

      der Statikmaken, heat was der letsgohomen

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      • Woodie Man

        oh man that cracked me up! I’m getting cold just thinking about it! Hilarious. Thanks!

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  7. KO

    Nice car! Love the big rag top and this is the last year for it. I can’t see it going for more than $5500. They’re a blast to drive, almost as good as a vert.

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  8. OhU8one2

    Any VW with a sunroof should have the “pop-out” side rear window’s. Without them you’ll get this buffering noise coming inside the car. Used to drive me absolutely nuts. Keep that 1200cc tuned,including valve adjustments and that slug bug will be a lot of fun to drive. Word of caution,if you go a big dual port engine,plan on brake upgrade. Stockers just won’t do it.

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