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Splitty Surprise: 1952 Volkswagen Beetle

1952 VW Beetle Splitty

I’m a big fan of owning cars from early in factory production runs. There’s something special to me about knowing that a vehicle has survived the test of time and potentially incorporates some unique features that didn’t carry over to later models. As an added bonus, they’re oftentimes more desirable as well. The early Volkswagen Beetle is a perfect example of the type of vehicle that checks all of those boxes, with early models featuring the split rear window you see here. Not great for visibility, but it provides a generous boost to desirability. Check out this 1952 VW Beetle here on eBay in Florida with a Buy-it-Now of $17,760.

VW Beetle Floor

There’s a downside to those early production models, however. Sometimes the factory was still working the bugs out and reliability suffers, or parts are one-year only features that can be hard to come by. Taken a step further, the bodywork and panels may feature particular nuances that make replication difficult and finding body panels a treasure hunt. Still, the pride that comes from owning something that stands out in a product life cycle that spans millions of vehicles, like this air-cooled Beetle, makes owning such a rarity a particular badge of pride (or a source of frustration, depending on how you look at it).

VW Beetle Engine

This 1952 barn-find split-window Beetle is a huge project. The floors have rust, the interior is non-existent, and it looks like the pile of parts it comes with is anything but complete. The seller doesn’t try to hide this fact, but the price seems high for what will require a lot of work. And that’s if there isn’t rust hiding anywhere else not seen in the photos. Fortunately, Beetle engines are super easy to work on and parts aren’t too expensive, but finding any trim pieces or interior parts that are unique to the early-model Beetles will likely be an exercise in patience.

VW Bug Semaphores

Personally, I think this is a worthwhile project. The early production Beetles were essentially straight-from-the-clay mold copies of the original KdF Wagen that was paraded out before WWII. Historically speaking, these are important examples of the original vision for the Beetle that would go on to change the automotive landscape for decades. Plus, the first time those vintage semaphores, a non-flashing turn signal, flicks out from the B-pillars under their own power will likely put a huge smile on your face. OK, that’s a big investment for some funky turn signals, but it’s just one of those quirks that make these vintage Beetles so interesting. But would it be enough to put it in your garage? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. marc

    These are easy restorations and can only appreciate over time. I used to be a VW crazed collector but have since moved on. This entices me to get back into it again. All the hard to find parts are there. This heart tail-lights being pretty rare. Love the sticker on the speedo.

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  2. Dolphin Member

    Hmmm…$2,850 for 5,000+ pounds of 1973 Lincoln, or $17,760 for 1,900 pounds of 1953 VW Beetle. You makes your choice and you pays your money.

    This early Beetle comes with two engines, but they are 36 HP, so they are 1200 cc and not correct for the car, which should have an 1100 cc engine that makes about 24 HP. Unless the buyer has a source for the right engine this would be a risky buy since the SCM Guide has these as worth only $17.5K to $27.5K in near-perfect shape.

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  3. Jim

    I had a 57′ & a 55′ VW. Mine had fiberglass fenders, rolled & pleated seats & L60’s on the rear. It was also the stock engines in both. I used to have guys pull up next to me & wanted to run, then I just putt-putted along !! : ) I tried to post a photo but couldn’t ?? : (

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  4. David C

    I already have one that I’m knee deep in to but I love this one! Splits are very hard to come by. The price is a little steep but not completely out of the ballpark.

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  5. BradL

    Interesting car. I need to check when the dash changed to the single glove box style.

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  6. William Henshaw

    Once upon a time old VWs were everywhere and nobody collected them or restored them. You could buy an old bug for $200 and not only drive it home, you could drive it until you got tired of it. Cheap plentifull and easy to work on. I had 9 bugs at one time including a ’57 and a ’56 and they pretty much all went to the scrap yard. Just waxing nostalgic here, to quote Rod Stewart ” I wish I knew what I know now, when I was younger “

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  7. jim s

    surprised to see one that has not been cut up. since the motors are not stock i wonder what else has been upgraded. with the prices that old beetle bring i also wonder why it has not sold yet. great find

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  8. Vince Habel

    I think it is too much for what you get.

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  9. Horse Radish

    We just r e a l l y need another photo of the parts that come with it
    and another angle of the turn indicator thingy !

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    • DT


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  10. Tirefriar

    The seller of this VW must have his car confused with the other rear engined air cooled car from Germany. A car in this condition for this price usually has “Porsche” stamped on the title.

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  11. DT

    There are more people looking to buy one of these than people that have one to sell….supply and demand,I say it will sell for the asking price

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  12. John M

    Sigh… If I only knew.

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  13. Dave Wright

    Great simple cars that become boring pretty quickly. I guess I am showing my age…….I do love old VW’s but to me they only became interesting with more power and other mods making an orignal 1952 stale pretty quickly. I have done some splits and oval windows but always found a good later pan to put the bodies on and used late dual port engines……they are not unusual enough to hold most people’s intrest past a once look over. To me, most of the fun would be over when it was finished as a stock car. My first german car was a 1952 Porsche, that held my intrest better.

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  14. JC

    Its Herbie!!! I’ve always wanted a Herbie!!! I want it so badly!!!

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