Black-Plate Survivor: 1966 Volkswagen Beetle 1300

We’ve seen a few examples of the venerable Volkswagen Beetle recently at Barn Finds, and their condition has ranged from the drop-dead gorgeous to ones requiring plenty of TLC. This 1966 Beetle stands out for me because it is an original survivor with plenty of documentation. It has no immediate needs, although the buyer may elect to refresh its interior. The Beetle is listed here on Craigslist in Hayward, California. With values climbing rapidly, the sale price of $14,000 OBO looks pretty tempting.

The 1966 model year marked one of change for the Beetle. While Volkswagen concealed the most notable upgrade under the hood, some styling changes are worth noting. The company updated the exterior door handles and added a “1300” badge to the hood, but the new slotted wheels and flatter hubcaps made the most significant impact on the appearance. The buying public had become used to the deeply-dished caps, but the new ones were considered more modern. It helped their cause that they weren’t as damage-prone as the items they replaced. The original owner ordered this beauty in Pearl White. The seller doesn’t mention any prior restoration or repainting, so we can assume it is the factory finish. It retains a decent shine, although there are the usual marks and imperfections that demonstrate it is no trailer queen. Even with those faults, its presentation would not cause shame. If the buyer elects to retain it as a survivor, it is a role that it should perform with no problems. They don’t mention rust issues, and if the Beetle has spent its life in California, it may have resisted the worst that nature can throw at it. The trim looks good, and there are no issues with the glass.

If this Beetle has a weakness, it could rest with its interior presentation. It is serviceable, and a set of slipcovers would hide the worst of its problems. That may be the option the next owner chooses to retain the car as a genuine survivor. Its seats and other upholstered surfaces wear Red leatherette, and the cover on the driver’s seat has split beyond repair. There is also some deterioration with the headliner that may prove irreparable. Sourcing replacements for the faulty items would be easy, but the color mismatch between a new driver’s seatcover and the remaining trim may be more than some people could handle. The alternative would be to splash $1,200 on a trim kit that would have the interior presented in as-new condition. It is a matter of personal choice, and while some may decry that decision, it would be understandable.

The most significant change the Beetle received in 1966 was the inclusion of a “1300” engine. Technically, it was a 1,285cc engine that continued the family tradition of air-cooling and rear-mounting. The power jumped from 40hp to 50hp, and while that might not sound a lot, it did represent a 25% increase. The extra ponies pushed the top speed from 72mph to 82mph, which wasn’t bad. This Beetle is a numbers-matching survivor, although someone replaced the factory air cleaner with an aftermarket unit. The seller holds significant documentation, including service records dating back to when its odometer showed a genuine 5 miles! It runs and drives well and is ready to hit the road with a new owner at the controls.

The Volkswagen Beetle was an inexpensive car when new, and values dropped substantially as more modern vehicles left the humble “Herbie” in their wake. The last Beetle I owned was from this era, and I purchased it for a three-figure sum in the 1980s. It wasn’t in showroom condition but was tidy and mechanically sound. Had I known how values would skyrocket, I may well have kept it as a long-term investment. It isn’t unusual to see spotless examples top $25,000 in the current market, and if the trend continues, they could eventually move beyond the reach of mere mortals. This one isn’t spotless, but its attraction rests in its originality. I feel that justifies the asking price, and I won’t be surprised if it finds a new home relatively soon. Could that new home be yours?


  1. alphasud Member

    Is it worth the asking? Probably with all the documentation and being as original as it is. I think with this car I would be inclined to refit the period correct carburetor, distributor, and 6volt generator. That fuel filter needs to leave the engine bay and be reinstalled above the transaxle. I would also want to make sure the original engine hasn’t been removed.

    Like 3
  2. Mountainwoodie

    Man, that’s some crazy money for a bug. If I had the nerve to ask that, I’d at least fix the seat. But then it’s not mine GLWS!

    Like 5
  3. mh

    way..way over priced for what it is… I would rather spend 25 grand and have one that has been gone thru completely… you add up what you would spend on this and it would certainly exceed 25 grand..

    Like 7
  4. Bob McK Member

    Love the car… But is needs a lot to make it worth the asking my opinion. But who knows, someone may prove me wrong.

    Like 2
  5. Jimbo

    I had one in 1981 that I paid $500 for. It was the exact color out and in. Had a factory manual sunroof that didnt leak. It had rusty floors from being parked on the street during Chicago winters.

    Like 1
  6. Alex D.

    My father bought a 66 Bug for $1810 new. That car became my first car on my 17th birthday 50 years ago. I went on to sell it to my best friend for $300 and it became his first car.

  7. Pete K.

    In the mid 70s I had a 65. Bought it from a woman down the street for $35. Needed a passenger fender and windshield, did a tune-up and oil change, didn’t have $100 in it. Great little car. Hell in 1970 they sold new for $1,998 ! Sure miss that little puddle jumper!!

  8. Bamapoppy

    Good little cars. We’ve all had one, or 2 in my case. Cheap, not always dependable but much more so than my Fiat. This one, with documentation, is only going to be worth top dollar when it’s completely sorted. My 2 cents.

  9. Robert Hagedorn

    I’ve heard stories about the 1300 having a redesigned carburetor that leaked gasoline down into the engine. VW supposedly fixed this in 1967. My ’65 worked perfectly.

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