Hood Ride: 1965 Volkswagen Beetle


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There’s a movement among some elements of the car hobby to embrace the rattiness of a vehicle – hence, the modern manifestation of the term “rat rod” which once actually meant something. These days, some of the younger members of our hobby think just driving a heap is paying the cost of entry for rat rod status but it misses the point. This 1965 VW Beetle here on eBay is said to be a “hood ride”, which is perhaps the millennial take on what a rat rod should be. It is ratty, coated in patina and available for $4,800 or best offer.

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Now, in the case of this Beetle, the rat look is nothing new for the air cooled scene. Frankly, this has been one of the import brands I’ve always associated with being able to pull off that low, grungy look, a styling direction that even today is alive and well in the vintage VW circle. In the seller’s photos, you can see a few other vehicles in the background that are weather-beaten, rusty and slammed to the ground. At least the interior was replaced in this ’65, a nice change of pace from the owners who let the dinginess extend to the insides.

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To the seller’s credit, he has kept the original hubcaps and added the period-correct Bug roof rack. I would assume from the shininess of the paint that he’s applied a layer of clearcoat on top of the rough (original?) finish. As per the ride height – well, I’m guilty of loving a car that’s had all visible gaps removed from its wheel wells, but I’d probably raise this one up a few notches to make it more appealing as a survivor than simply a rat rod. Of course, that’s the beauty of a car like this: either direction is possible with minimal re-work needed.

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In addition to the fresh interior, the seller has added new brakes, converted the car to 12V and swapped in a later 1600 motor from a ’74 Beetle. Overall, this car strikes the balance I referred to earlier. The seller does allude to some rust, which is not fully explained in photos – and given the car has Vermont license plates and is currently in Connecticut, chances are good it’s spent some time in the snow and salt. The seller also has a ’59 Beetle for sale here on eBay, so be sure to check out both listings and let us know what you think of these modified VWs.

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  1. Todd J. Ikey HeymanMember

    Having lived in both Vermont and Connecticut, “some rust” wouldn’t adequately begin to describe the condition of the cars of this vintage that I owned while living there. I would have to pop rivet home-made floor pans and lower rear quarter panels to the cars so they could pass inspection. They used to dump salt on the roads like no tomorrow.

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    • grant

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t the way to repair that be to just set the body on a “new” pan?

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      • lostboy

        I don’t believe it is quite that simple…. Lol

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      • Aaron

        It is that simple, but as long as the tunnel part of the pan is good, you can buy decent new floor parts of the pan for a few hundred, and it’s fairly easy to weld those in. Then your pan and body numbers still match. Plus, and “good” pan that’s still out there will probably have rust through the floors anyway. There’s some pretty good aftermarket sheet metal for these.

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  2. Peregrine Lance

    I’ve owned, and long enjoyed, a Bug, a Ghia, and an eleven-window van–all from the mid-sixties, and never did I realize these were born OTHER than 12-volt! I don’t know how many batteries I had to boost in those times, but surely I would have been enlightened at some point! (No, I never needed a new battery for any of these cars, it’s true, and I never owned a descriptive manual. But I DID frequent the Santa Monica VW palace at 26th and Santa Monica Blvds….Good thing ignorance is bliss, eh?……Can someone confirm the commentary’s “12-volt conversion” for me? Thanks!/pl

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    • jim s

      the book How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive by John Muir would be a good read. for sale on the net new or used.

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  3. jim s

    ” back in the day ” i drove a lot of beetles that looked like this. they were daily drivers or just transportation. none were lowered like this one is and all were in good mechanical shape. interesting find

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