Split Window Project: 1952 Volkswagen Beetle

This 1952 Volkswagen Beetle is a rare early production model with the split rear window and desirable “semaphore”-style turn signals. It is claimed to be a dry climate example with very little rust for its age and an engine that still turns freely. These split window Beetles are not the easiest model to find in the U.S., and while pictures aren’t great, it’s worth a look as a restoration candidate. Find it here on eBay with a $25,000 Buy-It-Now and the reserve unmet.

The Beetle has clearly been altered in a few ways, such as the later front and rear bumpers. I’m also not sure where these additional market lights originated on the rear fenders from, or if they were an optional feature on the older models (even then, I’m not clear on what value they serve). In all honesty, the small lenses look like they belong on the front of the car. Otherwise, the body simply looks cosmetically tired.

The interior appear to be in original condition, although photos of the seats aren’t provided. There’s one shot where we can see a glimmer of cardinal red leatherette, which could be an original combination based on some of the color schemes from this era of production. The shift knob and steering wheel are also correct for an early model, and while the painted surfaces are tired, nothing has been hacked up.

The headliner is obviously long-gone but those can be re-created by a competent upholstery shop. The seller notes – impressively – the pan and the VIN still match, so despite being tired in pictures, there could be a highly original split window underneath the roughshod cosmetics. Bids are currently over $15K but the reserve remains unmet; the Buy-It-Now may be slightly high, but in the ballpark for an early model.



    This guy have seen to many car restoration TV Series and think he has a treasure.

    Like 7
    • Fastwhlz

      He does have a treasure. It all depends on how much he thinks his treasure is worth. TV will not restore a VW of this vintage because there is really not enough visual impact to interest a wide group of viewers. The value is there.

      Like 3
  2. rpol35

    Last year for the split window and it appears to be trading on price based on that singular item.

    Admittedly, I haven’t seen a split window model in years and even back in the late ’60’s/early ’70’s they weren’t that common as I recall. That said, in spite of its originality, the price seems a bit rich for what it is.

    (Wonder if the rear window treatment in any way inspired Ed/Cole/Larry Shinoda for the rear window design of the ’63 Corvette coupe?)

    Like 4
    • brakeservo

      If you think that might have inspired Shinoda et al – take a look at the rear of a Tatra 603!

      Like 2
  3. Albert

    There was a running and driving 51 on eBay just two weeks ago in much better shape that could be had for less money. Also, this is a 53 Zwitter. A split winow body with the later oval window dash only made in 1953 during the change over.

    Like 5
  4. Ian C

    Wrong engine. Appears to be a 71 1600 switched to single port heads for some reason. Wouldn’t matter to me because it would be getting a completely different engine and trans anyway. If i didn’t have a ton of money tied up in mine, I would be giving this one a lot of serious thought. Looks to be quite solid from the pics, and the price isn’t very far off all things considered.

    Like 4
    • Mike P

      That AE makes it an early 70’s model.

  5. Kurt Member

    Too high a price considering what you’re getting. Maybe take away some zeroes ?

  6. David F

    If this is truly a “Zwittet” then it’s a lot more valuable than an ordinary split window. It is the rarest of all Bugs.

    Like 2
  7. MGSteve

    Certainly appears to be Zwitter, which I understood to affect the late ’52 cars, perhaps up to the earliest ’53’s. 1953 was officially the introduction of the oval window. As usual, lots of folks commenting who don’t know or appreciate VWs or Porsches. I would not be surprised at all to see this go above the Buy It Now price. (BTW, FYI, a Zwitter refers to the fact that the new “oval era” dash was used in the last of the split window cars.)

    Like 4
  8. Marshall

    March 10, 1953: a famous day in VW history. That was the last day that they made the split window bugs, and the first day that they made the oval window bugs.

    Like 3
  9. DAVID6 Member

    $65,00 DROVE 2 YRS PEDAL 2 THE
    CA. 25 mph TRADED IT 4 HONDA

  10. DAVID6 Member

    😲 1965 took #2 split’s 2 the crusher,👎 nobody wanted a old
    vw that needed work who knew¿

    Like 1
    • MGSteve

      No, no, no . . . say it ain’t so. Just think, you could have had one of those license plate frames that say “If it ain’t split, it ain’t s_ _ t.”

  11. Greg Moore

    This exact car was featured here on SEP 28, 2015. I “binged” it and found the post. It was for sale on Craigslist for $16k.

    Like 1
  12. Rick

    At least two too many zeros in the price in my opinion.

    Like 1
  13. MGSteve

    Well, your opinion is your opinion, but I can also say you have no clue the interest in these historic cars, nor what they are worth.

    Like 3

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