Ran When Parked Oval: 1957 Volkswagen Beetle

This 1957 Volkswagen Beetle is a desirable oval window model that the seller isn’t particularly eager to sell. The oval windows are sought after for a few reasons, from being an early model that is exceedingly hard to find today for having numerous small details that were lost on the later models. The Beetle is complete, but obviously has its share of issues that will need sorting if you intend to pursue a Concours-grade restoration, which isn’t out of question on a vintage air-cooled such as this. The seller notes he’s not interested in trades, and he’ll simply keep it if his other projects sell first. Find it here on craigslist in Puyallup, Washington for $8,000.

The Beetle’s outside paint job indicates that it’s always been blue, but that it left the factory wearing a lighter shade than it currently shows. The same goes for the upholstery, which is much closer to a shade of caramel upfront, and straight tan on the door cards and backseat. These are minor grievances, especially when you consider that a car this old that hasn’t been in a museum is susceptible to all manners of poor modifications and cheap fixes, as Beetles are notorious for being strung back together when one major component fails. The seller notes that this Beetle is correctly titled as a ’57 but that it rides on a 1960 pan.

The Beetle hasn’t been outright abused, but there are definitely signs of neglect. The front apron shows what looks like bubbling beneath the paint, while the front bumper has gone missing. This may not be a sign of neglect but rather a prior attempt to add a rebellious streak to the friendly Beetle, as many owners in the 60s and 70s were prone to stripping the bumpers off. The paint job is likely fairly amateur-ish, so I wouldn’t expect that this sloppy respray would be long for this world once the next owner gets their hands on it. The headlight and taillight lenses are in good shape, along with the turn signal housings.

The floors look good; hopefully, the replacement pan took care of any rust issues beneath your feet. The top photo shows the Beetle with what looks like an aftermarket exhaust, so despite the rarity, someone’s been tinkering with this car beyond the front bumper delete. Still, it could have been way worse in terms of modifications and hacks. The seller notes the engine turns freely but he hasn’t had it running; it retains the 6V system. The heater channels are in great shape, and the only floor rust is in the battery tray. This is definitely a deserving project, but the question is whether a restoration-ready oval window is worth $8K.


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  1. 8banger Member

    Not sure if I’d call that bubbling, but more like bubbling bondo…

    Like 16
  2. Benny B

    The rear decklid is not correct – should be the “W” decklid. Also the front turn indicators should be the “bullet” style that sit lower on the fenders beside the headlights. Not sure of the 8k asking price with a different chassis – but the Oval windows are hard to find!!!

    Like 4
    • Bear

      Not to mention that the front turn signals aren’t even mounted in the same place on the right vs left fenders. Looks like someone installed them while they were drunk…..

      Like 16
  3. Christopher Gush

    I often wonder if some of the buyers of these early cars understand how anemic, underpowered and primitive they are to operate on the roads. Lured by the Sirens on the rocks, and and often achingly cute, buyers will often come to the realization after purchase that they are not at all practical, and reserved for those limited sojourns around your neighborhood. Should the new owner endeavor to embark on a journey via our highways, those waving at them will often not be out of admiration…

    Like 7
    • Erik

      Unless the engine is suffering from neglect and not tuned in to optimum performance, the nearly 40HP air-cooled engines hold their own and at that were engineered to allow them to travel on the Autobahn when the original Beetles were developed by Porsche. And driving many older cars is called “motoring” and this applies when driving an old VW and it all harkens back to a simpler time. A welcomed pace compared to the frantic “gotta get there” driving mentality that most of us experience every day in these more complex times.

      Like 40
      • Courtney

        The early beetles had 36 hp not 40. But yes part of Hitler’s orders were a car capable of 60 pmh and 40 miles per gallon.

        Like 5
      • karl

        Couldn’t have said it better !

        Like 1
    • RKS

      My buddy has a 53. We went from Vancouver to Kelowna over the Coquihalla without a problem. This was in August. We had a blast. It wasn’t a rocket ship but we didn’t get run over that’s for sure.

      Like 6
  4. Brian

    I had a 57, took my driver’s license road test in it. This one isn’t consistent with being a 57, turn signals are wrong. I do like the oval window VWs though.

    Like 5
  5. Steve Clinton

    This Volkswagen brings back nightmares from my youth. My dad had a ’56 and I can still smell that VW interior, the heat sitting in the back seat with no ventilation, Dad kicking the reserve foot lever when the VW would start to sputter. The strange circular round accelerator ‘pedal’. I DID like the 2 VW hatpins that were stuck in the visors (I still have them!)

    Like 1
  6. Racer-X

    Seats are incorrect year. That left rear quarter is like a box of chocolates. 64 and older panels are getting difficult to find. Enthusiasts are starting to treat ovals like unicorns so I won’t be surprised if it sells. It looks like a solid fun project for a DIY hobbiest, but I wouldnt expect a concours grade product because nothing is of value except the shell with rear window.

    Like 3
  7. chrlsful Member

    lotta wrk/prts to get it to B an actual ’57.

    Like 2
  8. Ron Daily

    Wow, what are you getting for $8k? Let’s list them, 1960 pan, not an Oval. Front fenders, rear fenders, hood and engine cover not from an Oval. The doors on the car are not Oval. I’d bet that was a complete pan swap so not an Oval gearbox and engine.
    Finally the title say it’s a 1957 per the add, but the sellers telling you it has a 1960 pan? Also, the body is a 1956, by the placement of the heat vents on the heater channels

    Like 5
  9. Peter C Smith

    In most states, the number stamped on the floor pan tunnel, is the vin number. (It is located under the rear seat.) So, if the pan is a 1960, the whole car is a 1960. It could never be a true 1957 or anything else.

  10. JimZ Member

    “Ran when parked”, eh?
    I just bought this ’57 Chevy, seller said the same thing….

    Like 9
  11. Tom Pohlig

    Had a 56 and turn signals were in the door post. They would pop out and light up sometimes! Painted it by hand with a brush and when battery died one time had a school bus give me a push an I forgot to release emergency brake. Fun times! Use to swap engine in less than 20 minutes. Put a vw bus engine in it.

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