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Patina Ragtop: 1959 Volkswagen Beetle

Heavily patina’d air-cooled Volkswagens are not exactly a new concept, but few of them often feature as much attention and money spent on the oily bits at their owners spend on the cosmetics. Thankfully, this 1959 model breaks with that habit as the seller has clearly made significant updates under the hood while mildly enhancing the roughshod exterior’s appearance without going overboard. The Beetle features a matching body and pan, and comes with a matching title as well. The engine is a rebuilt dual port, and the list of improvements is quite long. Find the Beetle here on eBay with bids to $13,000 and no reserve.

The stance is a classic Beetle look, with staggered wheels out back and narrowed front suspension. The deep-dish steel wheels with OEM hubcaps is a perfect look for this era of Bug, which to me represents the ideal generation to buy. It retains, the simple, uncluttered appearance of the original oval and split rear window models without costing nearly as much. The chrome bumpers with gigantic overriders is another staple of the era, and while the bumpers themselves look great, the rear one is slightly askew. The seller notes the exterior was lightly sanded down with some primer mixed in to give the aged appearance; no indication as to how much surface rust it originally had.

The interior is fresh, fresh, fresh, and this is my favorite kind of build – the exterior may look tired, but the cabin is a lovely place to spend time. Inside, the heater channels are new and the entire floorpan has been undercoated front to back. The seat covers haven’t been replaced but are in good shape, and the door panels match the cabin nicely despite being replacement pieces. The carpet is new, and the dashboard hasn’t been cut up for an aftermarket radio. Overall, the interior looks mostly original with improvements made only when absolutely necessary. The steering wheel, shift knob, and all other switchgear appear to be factory-correct.

Engine-wise, the seller has made several improvements that enable the Beetle to comfortably maintain highway speeds. The rebuilt dual port features dual 34cc Weber carbs, paired to a Pro Street Freeway Flyer transmission and a Kennedy stage two clutch. The suspension has also clearly been modified, and the braking system converted to discs. The Beetle also features a desirable canvas sliding sunroof, a rare factory option, and the seller will include the wicked cool Swamp Cooler A/C for an additional price if the next owner wants it. Overall, this is an attractive build featuring a host of improvements that don’t distort the car’s originality – and it’s probably way cheaper to buy it than to replicate it.


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    A car this nice deserves paint.

    Like 21
  2. alphasud Member

    I agree I like the stance but I don’t like the fake patina. Dual carbs and a extractor exhaust will wake up the engine. Not sure if it’s a single or dual port but it’s definitely not the 1200cc engine.

    Like 7
    • Dickie F.

      Jeff mentions it has a dual port engine, which makes it the more modern 1600cc engine.

      Like 2
    • Roland Schoenke

      The ad states dual port with dual webbers

      Like 1
  3. jerry z

    I agree with both of you. Paying over $13K for a car with bad paint? Sorry patina is so overrated. It’s like saying “hey everyone I drive a POS!”. No bueno.

    Like 14
  4. Joe Haska

    Just by the past two comments, the owner/builder did an outstanding build on this car. He fooled you and you don’t even know it. I wouldn’t change a thing, it’s a master piece of being something the exact opposite of what it appears to be. Love it!

    Like 5
    • Steve Clinton

      IMHO, you’d have to be a fool to want a car to look like that, but as I said, ‘different paint strokes for different folks’!

      Like 1
    • Stan Marks

      Thank you, Joe. Amen….

      Like 2
    • Dickie F.

      I love this build. It seems so correct to have all the right modern mechanicals with the more comfortable sunroof, the low budget classic VW peoples car and further retain the I ain’t got money to fix it look. No car park dent worries here.
      To me, the perfect daily driver!
      Now about that $13+k ……

      Like 3
  5. Rhett

    I dig this car, but not wild about Patina – it looks like just as much effort could have been spent on making it look better as opposed to worse. But as far as the overall build, I just how I would have built it. 13k? I dunno, maybe?

    Like 6
  6. Steve R

    Fake patina is tacky, though I don’t have an issue with real sunburn or faded paint. It’s often a way to get into a classic car for a discount, which sometimes seems like a concept lost to many. Quality paint jobs are incredibly expensive in many parts of the country, especially states that wield a heavy hand when it comes to regulations and have high costs of living.

    Steve R

    Like 9
  7. Mr.BZ

    When I first started seeing the patina look , it was on cleverly disguised sleepers a couple of decades ago. Now, unless its on a rusting hulk in a junk yard my mind just assumes patina is what it is–fake. You might as well plaster the body of every classic with wood-grain vinyl.

    Like 3
  8. Bruce

    I had a 59, 6 volt system. Looked better than this on the outside and I paid $50 for it in 1985. And it ran. The patina just looks horrible. And a good paint job won’t be that cheap so $13000 seems pretty crazy. I guess I should have kept mine instead of selling it for $250 to a neighbor. $50 a month for 5 months. Never got the last $50 but it was ok, I told them we were fine.

    The air run through that car in the winter like the doors were open. Seals on the font hood and a new cardboard cover over the back of panel didn’t seem to stop it. I had to wear gloves to just drive it.

    Seems crazy to see it listed for that price.

    Like 6
    • Russell

      I also had a “ragtop” VW of that era … what I remember most was having to tear a few holes in a garbage bag so that it fit over me … when it rained it poured inside that vehicle … but, still the love was there.

      Like 1
      • Stan Marks

        Hey Russ,
        Too many we didn’t have FlexSteel products back then.

      • Stan Marks

        I meant much. Not many. Darn keyboard.

      • Stan Marks

        I meant BAD…
        I need a nap.

        Like 5
  9. Steve Clinton

    When did ‘Really needs a paint job’ morph into ‘patina’?

    Like 7
    • Phlathead Phil

      When the “un-cool” crowd started urging it was “in.”

      I prefer a GENEROUS coating of ‘Raven Black’ myself.

      Ford stock of course!!!

  10. Dave Mathers

    If any car ever screamed for a paint job it’s this one.

    Like 3
  11. Stan Marks

    Well, the latest bid is up to $13,600. Someone thinks the price is worth it.
    Re: patina…… Doesn’t bother me in the least. I would clear coat it & enjoy the H out of it.This is one solid Bug.
    Check out the video..

    Like 1
    • Steve Clinton

      As they say ‘Different strokes for different folks.’

      Like 1
  12. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    “Fake Patina” sounds like the cruel nickname given to an overweight high school girl. Also looks terrible on a car.

    Like 3
    • Steve Clinton

      I remember her well!

      Like 4
      • Stan Marks

        I think her best friend was Valerie DuBois. They called her V.D.for short.
        Thank you, Rodney D.

        Like 3
  13. ChingaTrailer

    Yes, somebody vandalized this car with a rattle can and steel wool. The word is “Fauxtina”

    Like 2
  14. Cman

    I own this after locating it on Barn Finds (thank you BF!)
    It was stitting since the 70’s. I got it running and driving and occasionally take it to shows. I didn’t touch the patina. I have other cars that are restored to perfection. My VW draws nearly as much attention (everyone has a VW story) and the overwhelming consensus is that I should NOT paint it. For me it’s great to be “done” without spending $10K+ on body and paint. It’s a fun car and the one featured here looks fun too. Don’t be a hater.

    Like 6
    • Steve R

      Nice story. Thanks for posting your comment.

      Steve R

      Like 2
  15. jerry z


    Nobody hating the car. Also doesn’t need a $10K or even a $5K paint job to make perfect especially with the interior absolutely in pristine condition.

    You say the overwhelming consensus is to not paint the car. How do you feel personally about the car’s paint? If you feel other people’s opinion matters more than you own, guess you have a low opinion of yourself.

    Sorry for being blunt, just my honest opinion.

    Like 1
    • Stan Marks

      I’ve always said, what you do with your car is nobody’s business but yours. It’s your opinion that you are counts.

    • Cman

      @Jerry z the entire comments section of this site is dedicated to sharing opinions of other people’s cars. I was sharing the opinions that I typically recieve in the real world and to thank BF for helping me locate a fantastic car. Not that your comment warrants a reply, but I love the look because it tells a story, starts conversations, requires no maintenance (it never gets wet) I don’t need to worry about scratches, chips and dents – and it demonstrates its solid condition and originality.
      How you could twist that comment about an automobile into a worthless opinion about someone you never met says more about you than it does about me. I feel sad for you and anyone around you. You’re the definition of a hater. Or perhaps a troll. Or both.

      Like 2
  16. Stan Marks

    It’s your opinion that counts.
    Darn keyboard has a mind of its own.

    Like 1
  17. Bob Mck Member

    I would love to restore this car. Get rid of the rust. Put the engine hood back where it belongs and put a correct suspension under it. Love the ragtop. It could be sooo nice.

    Like 1
    • Stan Marks

      Bob, So many possibilities, with this little treasure..

  18. Rich

    My second car was a ‘59 bug. Got upgraded with a ram air manifold with a 4 barrel carb, an extractor system, 15” rims with C60-15 tires, a shift throw shortener and a neon yellow paint job. Called it the Screaming Yellow Zonker. So over-carbureted that you only had one chance to start it before it flooded. Used to piss off the Mustang and Camaro guys because it could beat almost anything off the line. Down the road…..not so much. Had a lot of fun with that little guy!

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