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No Reserve Ragtop: 1961 Volkswagen Beetle

In the classic car world, values can fluctuate like the stock market. Certain trends or factors unknown can cause the values to skyrocket depending on the genre. Muscle cars and Porsches have seen these trends. Volkswagen Beetles seem to be the exception, prices remain relatively constant making them a safe purchase. If you made a smart purchase you can probably at least break even or turn a small profit when you pass it on to the next caretaker in a few years. This example seems to be a very honest car and will make a great driver for someone. Check it out here on eBay in San Antonio, TX with no reserve and 35 bids taking it to $8,200 at the time of writing.

The fun thing about Beetles is the minor and sometimes major changes between the model years. Volkswagen constantly tweaked things to make improvements throughout the years. 1961 saw several major changes to the engine and transmission. This was the first year of the 40HP engine and a transmission that was synchronized in all forward gears. Beetles are often upgraded to make the car better to drive to terms of power and safety so finding a very original example can be hard. Although it’s not perfect the owner has taken care to preserve the originality of this car and it shows. The engine is matching numbers to the car and was rebuilt in 2007.

The owner has 6K dollars in receipts for work since 2014. Under the Deck Lid, the Solex carb has been rebuilt. The generator, starter, and voltage regulator have been replaced retaining the 6-volt electrical system.  12-volt conversions are popular but the owner wanted to keep things as original as possible. A non- original fuel gauge was removed and the fuel reserve valve and lever were reinstalled to keep things original.

The seats have been recovered with an upholstery and foam kit because the originals were too bad to save. Other service work done is a new wiring harness, front end rebuild, gas tank replacement, and muffler replacement. 68,707 KM are shown on the odometer but it is unknown if that is original or not. The car has received a repaint at some point in its life and some rust and dents are mentioned.

Nobody said its perfect. Looking in the back we can see that some more interior work is needed and the ragtop needs replacement as well. None of this would keep me from driving it while I made improvements. This car would be fun to use as a daily driver depending on your drive or a great weekend car for the local car shows. Being an early ’60s model and a ragtop is enough to set this one apart from the crowd.






  1. Avatar photo Mike H.

    I was ready to bid until I saw the photo of the rot near the LH hinge panel. I can cope with it needing a lot of interior work and a new sunroof panel, I’m fine with the paint not being great but also not hideous, and I’d have been willing to accept some rust-thru in the pan or perhaps lower body, but not rust in the heater channels or rust next to the hinges.

    I have to draw a line somewhere and that is it, especially for this kind of money. Bummer, because it otherwise ticks all of the “project” boxes for me.

    Like 5
  2. Avatar photo Pat

    Given the speedometer is in kilometres, I would speculate this is an import not intended for the US. What is that bracket with the white knob over the radio cover? It’s not for a bud vase.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo 69XL

      Having owned a 1963 Beetle similar to this, mine was a Canadian Custom, that was stripped down like this. Those two nobs are headlight controls and wiper controls. Mine also had no fuel gauge.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Pat

        What is the metal bracket surrounding it for?

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo 69XL

        I went and looked at the eBay ad, and I can honestly say I have no idea. Mine did not have that funky thing.

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo Howard A Member

        I believe that bracket is a flower vase holder.

        Like 2
  3. Avatar photo Ralph

    This would be the only style of Bug I’d want, a “Herbie” style early 60’s bug with the sunroof.

    Like 1
  4. Avatar photo Phil

    Agreed on the rust issue. Euro imports usually came over with road rust. Would love to see some pan and inner fender pics.

    Like 0
  5. Avatar photo Christopher Gentry

    Sold at over 10 grand already

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Stan Marks

      $10,201.01 to be exact The new owner probably got it for a penny over, the next to last bid. Who said a penny isn’t worth anything? LOL!!!..

      Like 1
  6. Avatar photo Plathead Phil

    Thanks, but no thanks! I’ve had my share of these little cuties. In the past I have had a ’56 Ragtop, ’59 Baby window, “66 hardtop, ’67 Baja, ’67 Hardtop, ’68 Sedan, ’69 Sedan, and a ’73 or ’74 Super Beetle. While they were awesome cars in their day, one dare not get out on the highways for fear of a breakdown somewhere. It will be GONE by the time you get back from the tire shop. And besides, few know how to work on them.

    Like 3
  7. Avatar photo Maestro1

    Scott, thank you, i had one of these when I was coming along in the world,
    and it was perfect for a young man on a budget. Everybody loved these cars, and with good reason.
    So someone buy this even though I object to the price, give it what it needs and watch everybody else fall over over it in love.

    Like 1
  8. Avatar photo TimM

    I had two of the early bugs and I would never pay this amount of money for one!! Even in perfect condition!! If that means I’ll never own one again I’m ok with that!!!

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo Bob

    How I liked the “ gas lever “ vs a gauge UNTIL I figured I forgot to flip the switch back after I filled the tank up. We all know what happened then .Bob

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Bob McK

      To you and everyone else that owned one of these…

      Like 0
  10. Avatar photo GeorgeL

    Given that the speedo/odo is in KM, it’s quite possible this is a Canadian-market Beetle. Overall the car looks great, but tough to ever bid on a Beetle without seeing the floorpan. Seller should know better, but it looks like they got a good price regardless.

    At first glance this is a great looking Bug, but there’s issues (not uncommon for a nearly 60-year old car!). For example bumpers are aftermarket, so one wonders what happened to the originals. Final hammer price seemed a bit high for what it is. I’d want way more pictures before paying that kind of money. Seller did well on this one.

    Like 1

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