Restoration Project: 1966 Volkswagen Beetle

This 1966 Volkswagen Beetle is a no-reserve restoration project, and with bids already nearing $5,000, it’s not exactly going cheaply. The earlier Beetles are certainly the ones enthusiasts pine for and finding one that hasn’t been pulled apart and isn’t rotten underneath is half the battle. The burnt off paint is definitely a feature you can live with, especially since the key details – glass, headlights, bumpers, hubcaps, lenses – are all intact. The seller notes it did run when it was parked 15 years ago, so there’s work to be done in addition to replacing the sun-scorched interior. Find it here on eBay with bidding to $4,850 and no reserve.

The old-school Oregon license plates clue you in as to how long this Beetle has been sitting, and it’s obviously not the only air-cooled enjoying a long-term retirement on a farm. The older models with their chrome bumpers and overriders, smaller tail lamp lenses, and generous fenders are some of my favorite details when it comes to Beetles, small cosmetic elements that were lost on the later models – just look at how gigantic those taillights look on the later production Bug parked next to this one. There are dents here and there, but nothing unexpected for a car of this vintage (and storage arrangement.)

The interior is a disappointment, but not a surprise given the Beetle has likely been parked outside for decades. The foam spilling out of the seats and the split seams are classic signs of a cabin that’s been baking in the sun. The dash features what looks like an original, factory radio, which is a rare find in a Beetle of this vintage. The door panels will also need replacement, and it’s hard to tell from photos if the carpet is nearing the point of replacement. Thankfully, good spares shouldn’t be too hard to find, and the seats aren’t so far gone that you could restore them if absolute-originality is a must.

It’s rare to find a Beetle project like this that still has an engine stowed out back, but it seems unlikely that it’s still the numbers matching mill. Who knows, though – given the 15 years it’s been parked, it’s entirely possible the original engine finally got tired enough to warrant the Beetle being parked until there was enough time in the owner’s schedule to pull it apart and restore it back to good health. Overall, the best news I’m seeing is that the next owner who will undoubtedly restore this car is starting from a blank slate that hasn’t been messed with, which should mean that loads of original hardware and fittings will still be with the car. Would you take this Beetle project on?


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  1. CJinSD

    I’d rather have the 1980 Toyota Corolla coupe.

    Like 6
  2. Maestro1 Member

    I would if I had the room.

  3. Racer-X

    I’d take this project on but base my offer on condition of the heater channels (rust?)

    Everything else is there or easily sourced. Those bumpers are surprisingly shiny. The patina look is still in , despite my disdain, and might be pushing bids higher.

    I rebuilt a 62 in worse condition, and as a lifelong chevy/pontiac enthusiast the experience instilled fondness and respect for Porsche and his team of engineers.
    The VW crowd is unique amongst the automotive marquees. The history is fascinating. The design simplistic and efficient. The platform is perfect for first time DIY restorers.

    Like 9
  4. A.G.

    A year before 12 volt electrics.

    Like 2
  5. Bob C.

    That blue 1970s Beetle looks a little more promising.

    Like 2
  6. KEVIN

    Herbie should have used sunscreen -he got burned

    Like 5
    • Stan Marks

      More like fried, Kevin.

      Like 2
  7. bobhess bobhess Member

    Rat built quite a nest around the crank pulley. Owned a few VWs of various sizes and shapes but never a Beetle. Good, dependable transportation and fun to drive. If the pan’s good it should be rebuilt. they are a driving experience in themselves.

    Like 3
  8. 57Chevy

    I can NOT believe Anyone would pay that kind of money for ANY Volkswagon!!!!!! Not even in NEW cond. Some people are sure brainwashed today! It seems that just because it’s old, it’s worth a lot of money! Besides being ugly, these cars had a Lot of issues! My sister had one & was always in the shop. Had to have the valves adjusted every couple thousand miles. Their Heaters were WORTHLESS! ETC> ETC> ETC> Sheesh!!!!!

    Like 1
    • steve

      57chevy I agree with you! And I’m a long term VW owner. (Never a bug tho) I can pick that car apart better than you can as I used to work on them professionally. As a tech I LOVED the VW bug! I got to pick the owner’s pocket every 3000 miles! Adjusting the valves was only the start! You adjusted EVERYTHING! (that’s LABOR folks, MONEY IN MY POCKET!) That said, they are simple enough and the parts support is excellent and,on a good day with one in good shape, they are a hoot to drive. I also have to say that they are no “worse” as a vehicle than say a 57 Belair? Compared either to a modern car and you just shake your head in disbelief. Yes, the Chevy heater is..umm.. more likely to work? The brakes are another story on both cars! The heat in a Bug did work just fine when it was new. It would about drive you out of the car if the cables stuck on. But, here’s the thing this 66 nor your 57 are going to be the new owner’s transportation. Driven on NICE days the heat is not required. Kinda cheap to buy and fix up. It IS fun to drive (A go-kart isn’t a good CAR, but you’ve run one of those with a grin on your face) and it makes people noitce. OH LOOK! A BEETLE! The owner gets a smile and a wave. What is it WORTH? I dunno. The market is likely a lot lower than a 2-dr 57 Chevy,
      So I suspect you really DO understand, but don’t agree with other people’s choices. I can’t say how many muscle cars I’ve seen where I go “Wow! that’s AWESOME” all while I’m thinking “Man, I’m glad that HE put that time and money in it because I never would”
      This old car thing is a hobby. I agree that the money someone is going to put into that car is a LOT more than either one of us would but isn’t it cool that SOMEBODY values old cars so they don’t just disappear? Good roads..

      Like 6
      • 57Chevy

        Steve, thanks for replying! Guess I’m pretty narrow minded, as I just don’t care for any car after 1964 & 5. Even tho my daily driver is a 2011 Rice burning Toyota P.U.! I’d still rather drive my ’57. & To ME, no Newer car can compare to it!. I also have a ’56 B.A. which I’ve had for 46 years & is in process of a 2nd restoration! & Wife has a ’61 Impala which she received for graduation from her parents. Many times that car gets more Looks than my Orig. Restored ’57. One thing I do have to agree with you on is that Disc brakes Are much better than Drums! And my Heater works Just Fine! And you’re right, it’s good that Somebody likes these cars, so as they won’t totally disappear As my mother used to tell me many years ago…..To Each His Own!!!!!

        Like 2
    • steve

      For no earthly reason I am doing a frame over (new galvanized) rebuild of a 1965 Land Rover diesel…AND, to make matters worse, I drag the hulk home on a trailer and my wife brighten up and says “Oh WOW! My Christmas present!” and she was serious…..It is poppy red and she WILL be getting it with a big red bow on the hood mounted spare tire…How long is the list of BETTER/CHEAPER small 4WDs which can do what this does both easier and safer? But…they are not a 65 Land Rover. No rational person…..Ooops!…Case closed!..

  9. Achman

    I love the feel of this one. For me, I would take care of any serious rust underneath, then leave the exterior as is. Re-do seats, carpet and headliner, restore dash and door panels. Convert to 12v and put in a 1600 crate engine. Keep (if original) engine. Park next to my Golf R and drive with a smile on nice days.

    Like 4
  10. david R

    5k for that?? i’d pay 600. Bug fanatics are brain damaged.

    Like 2
    • steve

      look..we are all car people which MEANS we are all brain damaged! And, I agree it’s a $5-600 car…BUT that’s what happened to them! What kind of care do you take of a $500 beater? Grudgingly change the oil and KINDA keep good tires on it and…. That happened to most of them and they were cut up/hacked/disposed of. If you want one (and who knows why?) you kinda have to pay more than the next guy and..the cray folks are out there! The same thing happened to the Piper Cub. It was the kite you learned to fly on and then got up into REAL airplanes. The fabric cub was so cheap and plentiful it was not worth renting hanger space for. They sat, unloved, on some grass/dirt tie down rotting into the weeds. They SURE were not worth FIXING once they got bad enough so they got scrapped. Now if you want a Cub as a toy airplane or to relive your fun flying days (and being able to fly it Light Sport without an FAA physical) prepare to open your wallet WIDE. Really, go check…You think a 50hp Beetle is overpriced? Try a 65hp Cub…

      Like 2
  11. Ward William

    Man that is crazy. I live in Brazil these days and you could pick up an identical one here for less than US$500.

    Like 2
    • moosie moosie

      Ward William,,,,Start an export business

      • Ward William

        I’ve thought about it but the quality of Brazilian beetles, Brazilian steel and parts is rubbish compared to the US and German made ones. Crap quality steel and very poor QC. I can show you US beetle resto magazines and some of the parts suppliers actually write beside some items such as floor pans and body panels “not Brazilian”. As for cast aluminum parts like door handles etc, microscopic analysis of some of the many broken units shows not only poor quality casting, but particulate matter that should not even be there in the casting. Trust me. I had a type 3 notchback here for years. The problem is beetles here are a poor mans car now so parts for them are cheap and nasty.

        Like 1
      • moosie moosie

        Ward William, Thank You for that explanation.

        Like 1
  12. Steve Bush Member

    Agree with the others, almost $5k for a rusty ratty Beetle is nuts. After all, they made 21 million of ’em. A quick check online shows several selling for $10-20k. Again nuts. Even more nuts that the arguably better Super Beetles often sell for less.

    Like 1
  13. Phlathead Phil

    I’ve had 9 of these “bugs.” I’d NEVER own one again. The 6volt system is way too old. Underpowered, and you smell like burned oil on a date.

    The older ones from the 50’s yeah, those are choice man. Real head turners.

    Five years ago we were selling them in the $1000.00 range, what Hap’d?

    $5,000.00 are they nutz?

    Like 2
  14. Bruce

    I have a 68 VW convertible in my possession made in Germany and purchased in Germany, then driven around by my father in law. He parked it in 2010 and other than starting it, hasn’t driven it. I just hauled it up to my house to start working on it..may want to sell it instead of work on it for that kind of money.

  15. 57Chevy

    Sheeesh! Maybe Rosland Capital should Dump all their gold & start investing in VW’s!!!???

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