Follow Up Find: 1957 Volkswagen Oval Window

After a 30 year hiatus in the desert, the current seller purchased this Oval window bug from the original owner. With a marvelous character, this Beetle is well weathered and is almost a driver. Barn Finds last featured this beetle in August, to which it was not in running condition. After a $1,500 price bump for getting it running, this VW is now an even $14,000. Take a look at this weathered bug here on eBay out of Reno, Nevada.

After 3 decades in the desert, the original 36hp engine was locked up. The seller installed a “new” 36hp engine, but the original engine’s location is unknown. Apparently in good health and a smooth runner, the new engine has yet to be tested due to the brake system needing work. When this Beetle was up for sale in August, the brake system was also untouched, but as of now the seller has installed a new master cylinder, and new brake lines. The wheel cylinders are the last piece of the puzzle to make this beetle a driver, according to the seller. New tires have been installed, so after some fumbling with the brakes hopefully you would be on your way.

While the interior offers a real “Wow” factor in contrast to the exterior, there are a few things to point out. A new headliner, carpet kit, seat covers, and door panels have been installed. The new headliner is a much welcomed addition, although water has already damaged the headliner below the driver side pop out window. The seats are a lovely salmon color that contrast well with the interior, but there are some wrinkles and depressed areas. I am guessing that the seats were simply recovered, instead of having the padding replaced so that the covers will actually fill out. Also the new upholstery on the door panels is a bit wavy, and the door cards themselves are pretty bad. If you look along the edge of the door cards you can see how wavy they are. New cards would have helped with this concern. Speaking of the doors, the driver side door latch is missing the ivory colored washer/grommet that fits between the door panel and the latch. Beyond those concerns, the interior is quite inviting, and clean.

Looking like a machine you would have found along Route 66, this Beetle offers an incredible weathered appearance. The body is quite straight, but the driver front fender is a replacement. Like most desert finds, this VW is very rot free minus the battery tray area, and the outer edge of the floor pan. A new battery has been installed, but the metal around it appears crisp, and even wet based on the curled up mat’s reflection. The outer pan rot is curious as it is in the heater channel area. The rest of the floors look reasonable, but the passenger side front has some rust spreading from the outer edge that is hidden by the carpet. Hopefully the heater channels are sound, and this is simply a coincidence. A roof rack is being thrown in with the sale of the car. One thing I cannot identify is the aluminum rack mounted to the cooling vents below the rear window. Throw on some new brake shoes, turn the drums, and rebuild the wheel cylinders and this Beetle will hopefully be a driver! Would you invest the time and money into this Oval Window find?


  1. OhU8one2

    I love it. Get it safe to drive. And then leave it alone.

    Like 5
  2. Arch

    The rack under the back window is an old school ski rack.

    Like 3
  3. Bones in AK

    That is a ski rack on the rear deck.

    Like 1
    • 86_Vette_Convertible

      Looks like a luggage rack to me.

  4. Howard A Member

    See? Now this Bug looking like this seems ok, mostly because, this is what most Beetles looked like in my neck of the woods. The price tag clearly reflects it’s nostalgic, lack of any other examples, appeal, and I never, EVER, thought a Bug, ANY Bug, would bring 5 figures, but here you go. Got to be off your cork to spend this much on an old VW.

    Like 11
    • Mountainwoodie

      Like most of so much today, Howard, who woulda thunk! Apparently someone with 14 K to blow would spend it on a Beetle with a non original engine and needing a paint job. Must be a market for it……….or not.

      Like 3
  5. PDXBryan

    Howard A
    I bet every single highly prized collector’s car at some point had people saying “got to be off your cork…..” when they started to appreciate. But it does bum me out to see bugs become unobtainium.

    Like 6
  6. bull


    That just might be a good description of any late 1950’s VW bug!

    Remember these were “Disposable CHEAP Transportation Vehicles” that started life with owners that had very little money and were later purchased used by owner’s that had no money! The fact that any of these early VW’s survived in any sort of usable condition is simply amazing.

    Let’s not forget the total number of VW’s produced during the late 1950’s and the small amount of that production that actually made it to the US. Any late 1950’s VW in any sort of usable condition is a hard car to find and as of late a very desirable “Collector” vehicle. All one has to do is look at the prices absolute junk VW bus’s bring to understand why early “Bugs” are also following that trend!

    $14k in the collector car market is NEWBIE money territory. With a restored VW bug of this vintage now selling for $25K-$30K regularly at auction this car just might be a much bigger BARGAIN than many of you might imagine!

    Like 4
  7. George

    Looks like a ski rack on the back.

  8. Gaspumpchas

    All good comments Guys! I’d like to see this ol girl done up in white or turquoise, nothing fancy. Ultimately the buyer will set the value. The real extent of the rust in this would scare me. The seller uses the P word 4 or 5 times in he description. To me its still rust that’s gotta go. It warms this grey haired geezer’s heart to see one of these unmolested. I cut my teeth on these ol vw’s. Good luck to the new owner!


    Like 2
  9. Bob McK Member

    That is a lot of money for this rust bucket. Perhaps if all of the rust issues were repaired correctly and it had a show quality paint job, it would be worth that kind of cash.

    Like 1
  10. Del

    Quit smoking.

    At 4000 maybe.

    14 grand for this is ridiculous

    Like 1
  11. Blueovaldude

    Door panels, not door cards.

  12. Mike

    I wonder what shame one would encounter if they brought a bug to a VW show without a roof rack?

    Like 2
  13. Bob

    No one had roof racks on these when they were new, but EVERYONE puts racks on them now that they’re old.

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