In the Garage Since ’65: 1959 VW Beetle

This 1959 Volkswagen Beetle has been in the seller’s garage since 1965, and while he calls it “rough,” it doesn’t seem as far gone as you might expect – especially since the seller says the body is intact with little rust. Thanks goes to Barn Finds reader Jon L. who flagged this, and you’ll find the Beetle here on craigslist in Medford, MA with an asking price of $9,000. Seems slightly high to me, but these don’t come up for sale this complete, this often.

The earlier Beetles have the smaller taillights and chrome bumpers with over-riders, and all those items are intact here. While not a desirable oval rear window, these older Bugs do tend to a command a premium over later models. The pictures also show this example is equipped with the cool Webasto sliding roof, which, while the canvas is long gone, is still an awesome period feature to have.

The interior isn’t super pretty at the moment, but it is the attractive cardinal red shade which always looks good against the black. The dash appears complete, with the factory radio and gauges still present. Even the white-rimmed steering wheel looks surprisingly clean considering how filthy the rest of the interior is. More than anything, the Beetle looks like it is in need of a good de-trashing before we pass judgement.

One would hope if the Beetle was parked in 1965 that the engine is still original. Perhaps it was an engine failure that led to it being parked, but all of these are manageable issues if the numbers-matching unit still installed. However, the seller is including an extra engine in sale, which you must take if you purchase the ’59. For $9,000, is this long-stored Beetle worth the asking price or is negotiation needed?


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  1. Albert

    Interesting find. I actually think it’s a 1960. 1960 was the first year for that style steering wheel and interior. a 59 would have still had the same wheel as an oval window, and 1958/59 had their own unique interior that wasn’t used prior to the big window switch.

    Like 4
    • J. D. Shealy

      My sister had a 1959, I think it was, and my Dad had a 1960 for sure. The 1959 had semaphores for turn signals, so I agree this looks like a 1960, all 36 hp where it would hit 70 on a steep and long downhill run with a following wind. Great car, except for dating.

      Like 9
  2. Gaspumpchas

    I think this should have the 36 hp engine, and the one pictured is at least a 40 hp mill. How would u know if you would buy it with the dirt and garbage inside it? if the seller is telling the truth, that means it was only on the road for a few years. For 9 large , complete inspection needed. Good luck with this cool little bug!!

    Like 5
    • Greg

      That picture isn’t in the Craigslist ad. I think the barnfinds people got it of the internet and added it.

      • Gsuffa Gsuffa Member

        That is the engine from another Beetle featured here. No Reserve Rat: 1963 Volkswagen Beetle

        Like 1
  3. Dave

    First of all, 36 horse engines, with the cast-in generator stand, stopped in 1960, the 640 horse (shown in the photos) started in 1961, so the numbers-matching probably isn’t gonna happen. The 009 distributor is about as far from stock as it could possibly be, and having the cheap Chinese plastic fuel filter right over the distributor? Good thing it quit running, that is a “Carbecue” looking for a place to happen.

    Like 4
    • Gaspumpchas

      Thanks for setting me straight on the yr of the 40 hp engine, dave. And that fuel filter–ever see a vw engine burn? Water wont put it out. Good luck, hope someone who likes these old bugs gets this one!!!

  4. DanaPointJohn

    Ooo Boy, so much more to know about this Beetle before being able to consider its value. If you live in the area, go do a thorough inspection, making sure to bring your jack. It appears to have a lot of promise, but who knows the value?

    Like 2
  5. Greg

    Where did the engine picture come from? It is not in the Craigslist ad.

    • James

      From the VW rat featured a couple of days ago

      Like 2
  6. Fordge

    Although the engine has an older style distributor cap, the carburetor has an automatic choke on it. The ’60 that I owned only had a manual choke. The oil bath air filter is more toward the ’63 era.

    Like 3
    • Marshall

      If that sunroof cutie were in my neck of the woods, I would go over there to check it out! Ever since I was a kid, I have always loved the 1958 – early 1964 “Herbie Generation” bugs. I owned four of them back in the day, including one white sunroof ‘62 that I decked out like Herbie, another red sunroof ‘62 that I called “Howard“(my first car), and a ‘61 and a ‘63 bug. Also, I also on a “non-Herbie” ‘66 bug.

      My dad had a 1960 ceramic green bug. It also had the 36 hp engine, non-syncro 1st gear, and manual choke. 1960 was the only year they were painted ceramic green. 1960 was the last year for the 36 hp engine with its characteristic “high shrill“ noise when revving it. Also, 1960 was the last year with the manual choke, and the non-synchromesh first gear.

      Like 1
  7. Rex Kahrs Member

    I wouldn’t give 9 grand for this thing if James Dean and Marilyn Monroe drove it to Elvis’ house!

    Like 7
  8. stillrunners Stillrunners Member

    Bad chrome on the hub cap so I’m going to pass.

  9. Bob McK Member

    Hope someone inspects this and reports its condition to us.

  10. Brian Scott

    The ’67 I found 3 years ago had paint that looked about that nasty, but after a full day getting up close and personal with a quality orbital polisher, I left the paint as is, and later took it to a show where they automatically enter people who show up with vintage VWs. When they announced that it has won 1st place in the ’60s class I pert’neer fainted. The people you meet and the fun reactions elicited by an old Bug are priceless. With (insert any name vehicle here, except maybe a Jeep Wrangler) other vehicles, there’s always some element of the crowd that dislikes you, but rarely is that the case with the Beetle. I love it as such.

    Like 2
  11. James Turner

    Over about 10 years ago I had 5 Super beetles. I was driving along and looked in my rear view mirror and to my horror there were flames coming up over the back window so I drove to the side of the road and me and a girlfriend got out of it in a hurry. Someone across the roadway came over with a large fire extinguisher. and extinguished the fire. Then the fire truck got there and some A-hole young guy shot foam all over the engine compartment even though the fire was out already. Imagine pulling out and cleaning all that foam off the engine head fins etc. Anyway, You have to be very careful NOT TO POSITION THE FUEL FILTER OVER THE ENGINE BUT AT THE REAR FIRE WALL TO THE LEFT SIDE OF THE ENGINE. ALSO, USE A GOOD GLASS QUALITY FUEL FILTER AND FUEL LINE INSTEAD OF A CHEAPO PLASTIC FUEL FILTER. My lesson was learned the hard expensive way.

  12. Gaspumpchas

    AMEN, James…

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