Oval Window Sleeper: 1957 Volkswagen Beetle

The owner of this 1957 VW Beetle Oval Window refers to it as an older restoration, but I would probably call it a refurbishment. Certainly, what occupies the engine bay today is enough to grab your attention when you bury the right boot, which makes this nice-looking old Beetle a very tempting proposition. Located in Eldred, New York, you will find the Volkswagen listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has now reached $16,000, and the reserve has been met. It looks like someone is about to own a very entertaining little car.

Finished in Agave Green, the Beetle is an attractive looking vehicle. The only obvious rust is a small amount that is beginning to appear around the headlamps. This is pretty minor, as are the few chips in the paintwork. The owner supplies plenty of shots from under the car up on a lift, and it’s absolutely spotless. The alloy wheels are an interesting addition that I really don’t mind, and those, when combined with the lack of ground clearance, give some indication that we aren’t dealing with your average Beetle here.

It appears that the original 36 horses have called for reinforcements because the 1,192cc engine is now a distant memory. What occupies the engine bay today is an extremely tough 2,165cc flat-four. It isn’t clear just how much power this engine generates, but “plenty” would probably be a good answer. It features a forged crank, a forged and lightened Chromoly flywheel, Carrillo rods, A/A pistons and cylinders, a pretty heavy camshaft, along with numerous other very impressive components. Breathing is via a pair of Weber 44mm IDF carburetors on port-matched intake manifolds, while the spent gases exit via a set of pretty intricate looking headers. There’s no point having power if you can’t use it, so the transmission and clutch have also received some reasonable upgrades, and should be up to the task of harnessing the power. The only mechanical issue that the owner notes is that due to the Beetle riding so low, it has worn a hole in the muffler. Otherwise, he says that the car is really fun to drive. I don’t doubt that at all.

The interior of the Beetle has also been refurbished, and while the photos are a bit lacking, it appears that the seats and door trims wear new, Brick Red upholstery, There is fresh carpet on the floors, and the headliner also appears to be new. Apart from a pair of aftermarket gauges under the dash, the interior appears to be original and quite unassuming, and gives no real hint of what is happening at the rear of the car.

This 1957 Volkswagen Beetle ticks an awful lot of boxes for anyone searching for a classic car. Its external presentation is extremely clean, and it is structurally sound. It is an Oval Window Beetle, which makes it very desirable. And it has been built to provide a combination of solid performance and reliability. For the person searching for a completely original car, it might not initially seem like a great candidate, but the beauty of the car is that all of the modifications are completely reversible. This means that returning it to its original specifications would not be out of the question. In fact, if the next owner was to source a standard engine and transmission for the car, they could potentially sell the current power-plant and find themselves ahead financially. Me? I’d drive it as it is and have a really great time.

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Comments

  1. LMK Member

    I like it a lot….

    10
  2. Andy

    I can’t tell if this has IRS now, but an IRS 5 speed would be what I’d bolt to this engine, and that would make this a Bug I would drive the hell out of.

    5
    • Jason Mace

      Swing axle.. So no.

      • Rhys Williams

        If you fit a camber compensator bar under the axles, (not an anti roll bar), and adjust the torsion bars for a bit of negative camber, you can improve the handling a lot. It won’t be as good as an IRS, but OK. Larger diameter and width of tyres on the rear than the front and an ARB on the front also helps. That’s what we did with our cars. You just don’t expect any Beetle to handle like an Alfa or BMW, regardless of rear suspension. Just treat them with respect and have fun.

        1
  3. OhU8one2

    Since my past history with VW’s left an interlasting impression. I believe with this motor and trans set up, with the right driver, you should almost pull the front tires up off the ground. And you should have no trouble beating the 80’s IROC Camaro’s from stop light to stop light. Lastly I would highly recommend changing out front brakes to disc if not already done. Better to have great brakes and good running engine, cause if it won’t stop, it ain’t worth $#!+…..

    9
    • Jwinters

      beating an 80’s IROC is not much of an accomplishment

      16
  4. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    I almost wish we hadn’t featured this one because the more I look at it, the more I want it…

    13
  5. Patrick Morello

    I love it, the only thing I would do is put on a tuck away exhaust.

    3
  6. Rube Goldberg

    A VW like this, at these prices, is pure nostalgia. They are crude automobiles to drive. The engine upgrade is welcome, but we’re still not talking GTO here. 150 hp in one of these may not be the best idea. I would much rather have a Super Beetle, and am currently looking for one in my area. Better suspension, brakes, handling, just a nicer Bug, and are still below the radar, price wise. These are miserable to drive, and I’m sure more than one person that emptied their pockets buying these, regrets it later in a stiff cross wind. Fun cars, but I’d never spend 5 figures on one. It’s still a ’57 VW.

    5
    • Kurt

      True enough Rube, the Super Beetle, with at least front disc brakes, can handle CA freeways with the DP 1600 engine. Too many Porsche wannabes wind up in unnecessary wrecks.

      3
    • triumph1954

      Rube Goldberg. Pure nostalgia, crude automobiles and miserable to drive? I drove a 1965 V.W. Beetle to Florida and back from New York 3 times in 2 years, !972-1974 Did not think it was miserable at all. Then I sold it and bought a 1970 Dodge Dart Swinger 340 after I was involved in a wreck with it. Super Beetle was not a better car. My Wife bought a brand new Super Beetle in 1977. Did not handle as well as a regular Beetle and not as good looking car as regular Beetle. This 1957 is a nice car and worth the money!

      4
    • Rube Goldberg

      I appreciate your passion for the older Bugs, but you’re making the Super Beetle out to be some terrible car, it was not. I’ve had plenty of experience with standard Bugs, and yes, they are crude, and a challenge to drive, not sure what Bugs you are referring to. If I may remind you, I was there when the Super Beetle was introduced, standard Beetle sales had fallen flat, and something needed to be done. I can’t find production numbers on the Super Beetle, but it helped VW to surpass the Model T in production, mostly thanks to the Super Beetle. Besides, I’m on SS and can’t afford 5 figures for a mere VW Bug, and a Super Beetle, at 1/3 the cost, is a much more viable option for me and good enough.

      2
      • triumph1954

        Rube Goldberg. I was there when the Super Beetle was introduced also. Regular Bugs had surpassed the Ford Model T before Super Beetles came along in !972. I have had a lot of experience with VW Bugs over the years, !962,1965, 1967 and 1975 and 1977 Super Beetles. In high school we could buy nice bugs for under $300. I didn’t say Super Beetles were terrible. I always thought regular Bugs were better. I like all air cooled V.W’s. That’s what makes BarnFinds great, different opinions on different vehicles.

        1
  7. Dave

    Pretty car with that exterior paint and brick red interior. I don’t want it at all, but it is pretty.

    3
  8. bobhess Member

    Having spent a considerable amount of time modifying suspensions on these cars I can tell you it doesn’t take much to get them to handle properly. Notice the slightly negative rear camber and upgraded shocks. That alone does wonders but lowering the front and adding good shocks and a properly designed roll bar is pretty much all you need to do. Agree on adding the front disc brakes to take on the increased speeds. Rears are plenty big enough and you can retain the parking brake. Stiffer torsion bars front and rear could really make a handler out of it but the stock ones are fine for the street. Neat car.

    10
  9. RIck

    That’s in great shape so long as the new paint isn’t hiding terminal cancer in the rockers. That engine should be an easy 110hp.. add a camber compensator on the rear and it’ll handle just fine. Ovals, true ovals, are getting harder to find. This is still a great buy IMHO..

    7
    • Rhys

      My 1956 Beetle, with similar specs, was pulling 150 bhp at the wheels and 200 lb/ft torque at only 4,000 rpm. The asymmetric cam was only starting to come on at those revs and it would easily wind out to 8,000 rpm. It commanded respect on the drag strip and was tractable around town. My brother owns it now and is going to rebuild the engine.

      2
  10. Louis Q Chen

    The only mod I’d make on this nice bug is to restore it to original height and no worries on scrapping bottom. I have the same engine set up on my ’71 Super Beetle. It’s a great weekend cruiser! I’d buy it if I had the extra $$$.

    1
  11. bobhess Member

    Spent 3 years in Europe working for NATO. We were down in Germany (from OSLO) cruising around 120mph on the Autobahn when a bright blue Super Beetle went by us like we were parked for lunch. Detected wider steel wheels with small caps and 45 series tires but nothing else. Caught up with it at the next gas stop and had to see it. Turns out it had a sub frame that pivoted under the driver’s seat when you lifted the counterbalanced body from the rear. There sat a Porsche 3.0 liter ahead of a matching transmission. Car was lowered some, adjustable shocks and sway bars and not much else. Beautiful work! Driver said it got a little light in front around 150mph….

    5
  12. bobhess Member

    Footnote… This car isn’t any lower in front than my wife’s Mini Cooper S, the new Corvettes or Toyota Supras. My Dodge van isn’t much higher either. Low is the way to go…and yes I did some growing up on the west coast.Even lowered my mother’s Ford hard top without her knowing it.

    4
  13. Bob McK Member

    The only thing wrong with this beauty is that someone lowered it and lost the original wheels with moon hubcaps. Other than that it is perfect. Someone is going to get one FINE car.

    2
  14. Dan

    I briefly owned a ’67 Beetle almost 20 years ago. I’ve considered buying another, but it would have to be a third or fourth vehicle. Someone is going to have a lot of fun with the featured example!

    2
  15. David Ulrey

    Apparently I’m the only one who doesn’t much care for the red interior in it. That makes life much easier for the seller and the buyer. Lol

    2
  16. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Sold for $16,000.

    1
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Kicking my tail!

      1
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        LOL!
        Game on!

        1
  17. Del

    Was this the one that Jim Sullivan was driving when he disappeared ?

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