No Reserve: 1964 Volkswagen Beetle “Show Car”

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Describing any classic as perfect is risky because an in-person inspection almost invariably reveals minor flaws or defects. However, the seller states that the supplied photos fail to do this 1964 Volkswagen Beetle justice. The owner left no stone unturned in his quest for perfection, but with his recent passing, the Beetle must find a new home to settle his estate. There is nothing about this classic justifying criticism, and the upgraded engine should provide significantly improved performance. The VW is listed here on eBay in Cincinnati, Ohio. Bidding sits at $9,200 in the No Reserve auction, and I believe that figure will climb as the end draws near.

The design brief for the original Beetle was elegantly simple. Its creators envisaged a car that would comfortably transport a family of four over vast distances at a reasonable speed. Because it received a relatively modest engine, emphasis was placed on aerodynamic efficiency. This VW rolled off the line in 1964, and it is hard to know where to start. The deceased owner tackled what I consider a refurbishment, adopting a frame-off process in this nut-and-bolt build. They returned the panels to an arrow-straight state and ensured it was totally rust-free before applying its Black paint. He bolted the car back together with great care, producing some of the tightest and most consistent gaps you will find on a Beetle of this vintage. The exterior color and shine look deep enough to walk into, with no evidence of flaws and chips. The trim sparkles against the predominantly dark exterior, with the White wheels adding a welcome contrast. The glass is flawless, and this classic will undoubtedly turn heads.

Volkswagen hit upon a winning formula with the Beetle, and it is easy to underestimate the thinking behind its mechanical configuration. The company worked with an air-cooled flat-four engine, and to achieve a low frontal area and a more aerodynamically efficient shape, it decided to pursue the rear-engine route. The result was a car with a low nose, and most of the noise was confined to the back of the vehicle, where it would be less intrusive. The company adopted a slow and steady approach to mechanical upgrades, and by the time this car rolled off the line, the engine capacity had risen to 1,192cc with a power output of 40hp. This Beetle retains a flat-four, but it is now a dual-carb 1,600cc unit. It still sends its power to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission, but you can be sure the driver has more than 40hp at their disposal. The engine presentation is as impressive as the rest of the car, with no signs of dirt or fluid leaks. It doesn’t flatter to deceive, with the seller stating it starts, runs, and drives exceptionally well. Flying in and driving home is a viable option for the winning bidder.

I said the owner left no stone unturned in his quest for perfection, which is reflected by the interior. The best word to describe it is “stunning.” Everything is new or restored, with the painted surfaces as impressive as the exterior and the interior retrimmed in White and Brown vinyl. The Gray carpet provides a striking contrast and has avoided the dirt and marks that often plague pale carpets. There is no wheel wear, and the seats are spotless. In fact, I doubt anyone has ever used the back seat. The Beetle represented affordable motoring upon its release, meaning buyers received few luxuries besides a heater. However, this car scores a radio to relieve boredom on long journeys.

This 1964 Volkswagen Beetle needs nothing and is ideal for someone seeking a turnkey classic. It appears beyond criticism, and the No Reserve factor guarantees it is days away from finding a new home. Recent sales results suggest the current price should at least double before the hammer falls, although a higher figure is possible. Monitoring this auction could be worthwhile if a spotless Beetle has been on your radar. You never know, but today could be your lucky day.

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  1. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    I had a ’63 beetle exactly like this as my first car. Mine had a ragtop sunroof. Same interior. RED and white vinyl. That isn’t brown.

    Like 7
  2. Mike

    We had a ’66 in Bahama blue. Never knew it was “blue”. It was always a light mint green to us.

    Like 3
  3. stembridge

    This is a nice one, but I personally prefer ‘bone stock.’ I drove a (stock, 6v) black ’64 with red interior like this one as a DD in Atlanta, GA rush hour traffic for six years back in the 1990s. I was one of the few that could make it into work during snow and ice storms. (cue Bill Cosby: “And it gets a hundred miles a gallon – if the fan belt breaks, I use a rubber band!”).

    Like 6
  4. Malcolm Boyes

    Very nice bug and I totally approve of an engine upgrade in a classic air cooled VW.I would have added a 1776 big bore kit to it ( same exterior looks)..I did that to my 73 Thing and it transformed it.We believe the “mystery motor” in my 66 splitty single cab is also a 1776 from a 1972 model with twin carbs ( the seller had taken it to pay off a debt and had no idea)..that scoots too.I remember Paul Newman used to tool around LA in a ratty looking Beetle with a Porsche that and this..

    Like 4

    At Autohaus Porsche in Fairborn, Ohio in the mid 1960’s we had a 58 VW we put a Porsche super 90 engine in along with Porsche drum brakes front and rear and appropriate tires.
    I got pulled over for speeding on a trip between MidOhio Race track and Fairborn to fetch parts for a competitor. Ohio state Patrol asked me did I know how fast I was going…yes, probably about 85. His response was “a VW can’t go that fast.” I offered to show him why and he said, sure. He looks at the gleaming engine with dual carbs… definitely not stock, smiles at me and says I have to write you up for something since I called in the stop. How about a noisy muffler warning. and cool it, please, he said. Coolest. speed stop ever.

    Like 12
  6. Tim961Member

    I had a 1960 back in the day. It was a 6 volt system. I put in a giant 8 track setup and had to put in a transformer in to convert to 12 volt stereo. I had to push start the car everytime because the stereo drained the battery. I just jumped in and popped the clutch after i got it moving!

    Like 4
    • Jimbosidecar

      I had a ’62 Beetle in high school. I also put an 8 track stereo in it but directly wired it to a 12V battery I kept in the trunk. About every 6 months I’d have to charge the battery

      Like 3
  7. John Arnest

    Had a ’66 back in the 70’s-80’s. Last of the true bugs with 6V and bug headlights. With the 1300 engine (upgraded with dome pistons out of a ’65 squareback) I believe it was the perfect model. Wish I still had it…

    Like 4
  8. HBC

    Bought this same exact Beetle in 1964 when discharged from the Air Force. Paid $1200.00, +license & registration in Louisiana. Great car, drove it through college & traded it in for a VW Squareback. Great car, many miles, minimal problems…

    Like 4
  9. Bunky

    Slug Bug! Mickey Mouse Car is what we called black ones- worth double points!

    Like 1
    • Bub

      We called them punch buggies.

      Like 0
  10. Joe Haska

    Just back from Vietnam in 1969, bought a brand new Bug. Just married before I left and thought on my return I should show good judgement. Drove it a couple of years , and had first baby and then I returned to my old careless self. But that car tested us well and gave me time to adjust.

    Like 3
  11. Joe Haska

    Just back from Vietnam in 1969, bought a brand new Bug. Just married before I left and thought on my return I should show good judgement. Drove it a couple of years , and had our first baby and then I returned to my old careless self. But that car treated us well and gave me time to adjust.

    Like 2
  12. Herbert

    Design started out as a wonderful concept, a car for the masses. Too bad it took so long for that to take place.

    Like 0
  13. HHO Guy

    I had one of these in green and I loved it. I didn’t like how it handled though so I turned it into my version of a hot rod by putting reversed wheels and oversized tires on the back and it improved handling enormously. Then one day when I was in Lawrence Kansas in my mid 20s with my youngest brother I came across one sitting in a gas station for sale and was immediately interested because my number 3 cylinder had started to knock and I knew it probably wouldn’t get us back to Denver, so I went in and asked the guy who owned it what he wanted for it. Fifty dollars was his reply, and he said he’d just rebuilt the engine but the trans was bad, which wasn’t a problem for me because mine was the opposite. So I asked him what he’d charge to put the engine in my car and he said “Nothing”. So I got a “new” engine installed plus a carpet kit and a radio for fifty bucks, and we got back to Denver just fine, and I gave the rest of the car to a local junk yard. Good memories.

    Like 1
  14. Harrison Reed

    One cannot help but love a VW. The larger tail-lamps in 1962 spoiled the look of the car, for me. And the radios in these always picked up static from the spark-plugs. If you get rust in the rockers, NO HEAT! But I often drove my uncle’s VW (It may have been a ’51) with the split rear window, before VWs were a common sight. Fun to drive, but very spartan. By 1964, they were far more user-friendly and less minimal.

    Like 0

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