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Red Light District Edition? 1966 Volkswagen Beetle

Are you ready for an interesting story that may or may not be totally true?  Have you ever heard of a Volkswagen Beetle that had its interior package named after a “red light district?”  That is the claim attached to this 1966 Volkswagen Beetle for sale on eBay in Atlanta, Georgia.  While the story is interesting, and a pretty good way to sell a car, the rest of this Beetle is not so bad.  With a freshly rebuilt engine and little rust, this daily driver has a lot going for it at a $6,100 buy it now price.  Is it worth it to purchase the car to find out if Herbie has been sneaking around the bad part of town?

Known far and wide as the “Beetle” and/or “Bug,” Volkswagen’s answer to basic transportation has taken on legendary status.  With a total of 21,529,464 of these little cars produced, it takes its place along the Model T Ford as one of the cars that put the world behind the wheel.  It took a while for production to take off, but sales eventually grew along with the car’s reputation for reliability and durability.  Still, by the mid 1960s, the Beetle was facing stiff competition around the world.

With competitors slowly eroding the Beetle’s market share, it is logical to think that a sales gimmick or two might be attempted.  The seller of this VW tells us that it is a “Pigalle Edition.”  Never heard of one?  Neither have I.  After searching the internet, I found just a few references to this model.  The most detailed description was on the website 66vwbug.info.  This site also happens to be owned by the seller of this vehicle, and is used to help market this car and another that seems to be in the seller’s collection.  It does give a detailed description of the car, and is almost identical to the description in the eBay ad.  To be fair, there are other cars referenced on the internet with this package, and they are all 1966 models.  They just don’t mention the story.

According to the seller, the Pigalle Edition was a special red interior package named after the famous red light district in Paris of the same name.  This was evidently a special order option.  However, how would you know about it?  Did they have a section in the 1966 Volkswagen sales brochure that described the option?  If any of you are VW Beetle experts and know more, please elaborate on this in the comments section.  I believe the seller, but it is definitely an unusual story.

Once you get past the captivating tale about the interior, you see that this is a well used Beetle in pretty decent shape.  The red upholstery has seen a lot of use, but it is serviceable.  There are a few spots that have been worn or torn, but the whole interior has an honest patina to it.  There is some rust in the car’s body.  Some of which you can see at the bottom of the door jam.  There are also a few minor spots in the floorpans that will need attention in the future.  For a 53 year old daily driver, this Beetle is a testament to Volkswagen’s build quality at the time.

The best part of this deal is that the 1600 cc flat four engine is fresh off of a rebuild.  The suspension and the braking system have also been completely refurbished.  A closer look at the picture above reveals that attention was given to refinishing the engine and its various parts in addition to rebuilding the internal bits.  This worn but cared for Beetle obviously has benefitted from good treatment over its life.

Regardless of the model name, this Beetle is one you can likely enjoy for many thousands more miles.  With a mechanical refurbishment completed, this Beetle could still provide good service to its new owner for another few decades.  Which is why they sold over 20 million Beetles.  Quality and quantity go hand in hand with these cars.

Do you believe the racy red light story?


  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    You know, all the time I spent down in the district I never noticed a Pigalle Edition.

    Like 9
  2. Brian Scott

    If I’m spending time in the red light district, I definitely do not want the red seat edition. Just saying…

    Like 7
  3. Comet

    Instead of selling it outright, perhaps he should rent it by the hour.

    Like 27
  4. Steve

    Drove a white with red interior ’66 bug in highschool college days. Late’70s early’80s. This would have been a great story at the time, as a young buck. But I think it’s just that a good story. Still wouldn’t mind having that car today.

    Like 2
  5. bigdoc

    I have been to Pigalle but we won’t discuss where I saw the red upholstery. LOL

    Like 7
  6. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    At least Volkswagen didn’t name it after the popular German name for the red light district in most German cities: Pen*sStrasse [To substitute for the *, remember, it’s “i before e, except after n”]

    Like 4
  7. Fahrvergnugen Farhvergnugen Member

    Years ago I worked at a Gristede’s, and the produce manager from Italy had a Fiat 124 coupe that he considered to be his ‘bordello’ car.

    White exterior, red interior.

    Like 0
  8. Andrew S Mace Member

    Does anyone know what VW typically called that shade of red upholstery? Perhaps “Moulin Rouge”? ;)

    Like 1
  9. Christopher A. Junker

    Mace wins with the best pun.

    Like 2
  10. Del

    Pigalle Edition ?

    But no paper work to validate this ?

    No internet proof of this Edition ?

    Looks like another white VW with red interior.

    How much does the Pig Tail increase the value 🐽

    Like 4
  11. Will Fox

    (SNIFF, SNIFF….) You smell that? Me too; smells alot like ulbay itshay, which is what I think this ‘tale’ of a supposed ‘special edition’ is. All I see, is a standard red vinyl interior that VW no doubt made thousands of not only in `66, but nearly every other year as well. The spoof won’t help sell this `66 Bug any quicker; all it will do is have people google the origins of the name. Oh! And in `66, VW made NO ‘special editions’. Anything with the name, “Wolfsberg” on it was still 2-3 decades away.

    Like 1
    • Mario Medina

      I know this is an old post. Possibly, but VW never made any special edition cars even when there were special edition cars. The cars that did have red interior always had different color seat frames, black, or white. This car actually has matching seat frames. None of the others had matching seat frames. Could be a coincidence?

      Like 0
      • Casey Comer

        The cars with this interior had red seat frames from the factory.

        Like 0
  12. moosie moosie

    Maybe some V-DUB enthusiasts will go gaga over a Pigalle edition but to me its just another beetle. Reading the sellers description made me never want to see the red light district of Paree, or to claim something was “special order”. In the 1 picture of the engine it looks like it may have an alternator instead of a generator, so probably a 12 volt system, Wolfsburg didnt start 12 volt til the following year, ’67, and then with a generator. I believe alternators didnt start until ’74 for beetles, but I could be wrong, P.S. the headliner is beat.

    Like 1
  13. Solosolo UK ken tilly UK Member

    I have never seen a 1966 Beetle with two tier bumpers as all of them that were made in South Africa had solid, on piece bumpers and grossly oversized tail lights. Also the engines were still 1500cc I think. ISTBC.

    Like 0
    • type2vw

      1966 was the 1st year of the 1300cc motor in the U.S. It had a 1 year only decklid with the 1300 emblem on the upper left corner. The 2 tier bumpers are the U.S. standard bumper through 1967.

      Like 0
  14. John

    This one made me cry. I had the same floor mats in my Super Beetle. I loved that car. I can’t find a single redeeming facet of this car. It mostly looks like an attempt to screw the buyer. Bu the guy does have a sense of humor.

    Like 1
  15. Coventrycat

    The red light district in Boston was “the Combat Zone” but I suppose an interior dedicated to it would be better in a camo Thing.

    Like 3
  16. Ron Daily

    Well, some people will use anything to try and dupe potentially buyers. The truth is white VW Beetles In 1966 came with two options for the interior color. One was color number 75 Pigalle Red. It wasn’t a special edition, it was merely what VW named the color. If you doubt this, check out “the samba.com”.

    Like 3
  17. Roy L

    I wonder what VW called the Amsterdam Red Light District?

    Like 0
  18. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    You could get a Pigalle Edition Notchback and Beetle in 1966 and this one looks legit. They had red floor treatments and other differences over the normal red interior option.

    Here’s one that sold through Barrett Jackson in 2015: https://www.barrett-jackson.com/Events/Event/Details/1966-VOLKSWAGEN-BEETLE–186987

    And another on Old Bug: http://www.oldbug.com/snypsbug.htm

    Like 3
    • Robert Cooksey

      Thank you for that, it was a true option for vw in 66′ I’ve seen them with cloth seat covers also.

      Like 0
  19. Dave

    In 1966, a potential buyer would have been a WW2 veteran, who may have spent time in Paris. The salesman was probably a veteran too, and perhaps during their conversation learned that they had both spent time in Paris. And so…

    Like 0
  20. Bo

    I had an identical 1966 Beetle that I sold a couple of years ago. When I bought replacement door panels for it the colour was called “brick red”. Not quite as exotic sounding.
    This looks like a fun car. The ’67 and earlier cars are increasing in value.

    Like 0
  21. Casey Comer

    The only references I can find to Pigalle are to the famous red lights district in Paris and to the sculptor the district is named after. Unless the sculptor was red, my bet would be that the interior was named for the district. Although it was not a special edition, the Pigalle interior was only available in 1966 and only available in white and black beetles. They are rarer than the average 66 beetle but certainly not the most rare beetles in existence. Whether the story is true or not didn’t stop me from buying that very beetle.

    Like 2
  22. Sonya

    I actually have one. I bought it from my neighbor many years ago, who was the original owner. He said he had to wait for the car because he ordered the model with Pigalle (the name of the red color) leatherette interior. Pigalle (red) leatherette seat color option for the black and pearl white cars only. They came with scarlet carpet and floor mats, the seats frame and vent covers are red as well. Pigalle was in fact named for the red-light district in France. I believe it was a one year only color option in 1966. It may not have been a good seller.

    Like 0

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