Spotless Driver: 1963 Volkswagen Beetle

Some cars perform well in the classic market, while others are sleepers. The Volkswagen Beetle was once a car that buyers could purchase for a pittance, making them popular daily transport for those with limited funds. Today, those same cars can command impressive prices, and values continue to climb steadily. This 1963 Beetle presents beautifully, and its rebuilt engine should allow it to “dak dak” down our roads for many years. It needs a new home, so the seller has listed it for sale here on Craigslist. This classic is located in Longmont, Colorado, and could be yours for $18,500. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Mark_K for spotting this beauty for us.

The Volkswagen Beetle stands as the most recognizable vehicle ever built. Other manufacturers copied its distinctive shape, but those companies never met the level of sales success or the legendary status achieved by Volkswagen. It is easy to dismiss these cars, but they were the product of some clever design and engineering. The body shape was an exercise in aerodynamic efficiency, intending to allow the Beetle to travel at a decent speed on the open road while utilizing a low-powered and fuel-efficient engine. The rear-engine configuration allowed a low frontal area that cuts through the air effortlessly. Our feature car presents beautifully in its original Code L41 Black. The paint shines richly following a cosmetic refresh, coating panels that appear flawless. There is no evidence of rust, and the seller doesn’t mention problems in their listing. The exterior trim provides a striking and sparkling contrast to the Black paint, while the glass looks spotless. These may be humble little classics, but this beauty’s color and trim combination should turn heads wherever it goes.

From the first car to the last, the Beetle’s mechanical development represented an evolutionary approach rather than revolutionary changes. The drivetrain configuration featured a rear-mounted, air-cooled four-cylinder engine sending its power to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transaxle. The company increased engine capacity from 1,131cc to 1,192cc in 1954, but in the years between that change and when our feature car rolled out of the factory, the power output climbed from 36hp to a “dizzying” 40hp. Thanks to the use of aluminum and magnesium alloys throughout the motor, they are incredibly light, and apart from road cars, they have seen service in everything from boats to light aircraft. Our feature car retains its original 1,192cc powerplant, although a recent rebuild ensures it is in excellent health. The seller ditched the original transaxle in favor of a close-ratio unit, which should make this a responsive little beast. With the electrical system upgraded to twelve volts, there should be no more labored and unnervingly slow “rrr-rrr” when the owner hits the key. The car runs and drives well and is ready to be driven off into the sunset by the next owner.

This Beetle’s interior presents as nicely as the exterior in True Red leatherette. The seller recently performed a retrim, and the upholstery provides a striking and attractive contrast to the Black painted surfaces. There is no evidence of wear or other problems and no signs of immediate needs. The wheel wears a protective wrap, while an aftermarket radio/cassette player provides entertainment on the move. It doesn’t appear that the dash is cut, so slotting a factory radio into the spot should be possible with minimal effort.

To say that the Volkswagen Beetle was a sales success would be a massive understatement. By the time the last car rolled off the production line on July 30th, 2003, an incredible twenty-one million Beetles were plying roads across the globe. A vehicle that many manufacturers dismissed as having no merit following World War II has been the catalyst for the Volkswagen Group to become the automotive powerhouse it is today. This 1963 model performed its small part in that growth, and the fact it has survived for nearly six decades in its current state stands as a testament to the longevity of these humble little classics. What was initially conceived as an affordable “people’s car” is becoming less affordable as time passes, and the value increases show no evidence of slowing. When I purchased my last Beetle for $900 around forty years ago, I never envisaged that they would eventually command five-figure values. That raises the possibility that they will ultimately climb beyond the reach of the very people for which they were designed and built. Therefore, if you have always harbored the desire to own one of these charismatic little gems, you may need to act sooner rather than later. Later may prove to be too late.

Comments

  1. Peter k

    I decided that after owning 4 of Bubbas Mechanical Wonders in the last 6 years that i wanted an ‘analog’ car so i shopped for a beetle convertible. I found one that was rust free and had some minor mechanical issues like it wouldn’t stop and none of the lights worked . Its now a work in progress getting new rear axles and a tune up. It will be the perfect car for doing errands in. These cars are appreciating in value to the tune of 15-20% per year. Everyone likes them.

    Like 4
  2. bevis

    $18K?? buddy-put down the pipe

    Like 15
  3. Jeremy

    Fair price for a 59-67 Type 1 in this condition. GLWTS.

    Like 9
  4. Dr Ron

    Asking price is a very good buying price.
    Current retail values are $15K-$32K and the near showroom condition of this Beetle would normally push the asking price closer to $25K or more.
    Someone will be getting a beautiful vintage VW for a discount price.
    I’d be all over it but 1 Bus, 1 Type III and a ‘62 Beetle is probably enough.
    Great write up!

    https://www.nadaguides.com/Cars/1963/Volkswagen/Beetle/2-Door-Sedan/Values

    Like 5
  5. Robert M

    Anyone who closely watches the car market should know… this is a fair price, some may say a good deal.
    Old 50s, 60s and even 70s Land Rovers in nice condition are going for 50k, nice old Beetles especially 1957 (oval window) and prior are easily fetching 50k… old VW vans, especially split window, are worth upwards of 100k. Porsche 911 especially pre 1974….. astronomical and climbing.
    That’s the reality we live in.
    This IS a good deal.

    Like 1
  6. RD Mash

    :Editor: You used Pittance wrong in your writing. Pittance is “ A very small or inadequate amount of money paid to someone as an allowance or wage”. In other words, paying a person for doing a job🙄
    I notice you use a lot of words incorrectly in most of your editorials. What, do you keep a dictionary next to you and try to use big words to us blue collars to make you look smart?😆
    and usually used wrong in your text. Others won’t catch it, but as a HS English teacher, I catch a lot of misspelled or misused words in text or writings.
    So be careful using words you do t know the meaning of. 👍🏻

    Like 10
    • Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

      Sorry RD, but he used the word correctly. It’s well-used in the vernacular to mean a very small amount, no matter the original etymology.

      Like 15
    • Bill

      :Editor:

      This right up was done very grate. Beterer than i kud i thout.

      I no alot about cars and do t think i could knot right haf as gud.

      Sined: Student of RD Mash.

      Like 16
    • GitterDunn

      RD Mash: The use of “pittance” in the above context is perfectly correct. If you are in fact a HS English teacher, as you proclaim yourself to be (I never met one who considered himself “blue collar” or used emojis in his writing), then no wonder Johnny can’t read!

      Like 17
    • Joe Consumer

      I vote for more cars, more photos, and less chitchat about them.

      • Bill

        It’s all about the chit chat. That leads to interesting comments and discoveries about even the most common cars.

        Perhaps try Craigslist.

        Like 2
    • Francisco

      Why are you capitalizing the word pittance in your text? It’s not a proper noun. You had better go back and consult your Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition: Complete Course textbook. Maybe they don’t use that book in high schools anymore with this new pronoun revolution.

      Like 4
    • Connecticut mark

      No thumbs up to this guy, Adam Does a good job. I would not want you as any teach Mr. Mash.

      Like 3
    • onree Member

      In common parlance pittance simply means a trifling or inadequate amount. RD Mash, you are way off base here.

      Like 1
  7. Bill

    Curious about the close ratio gearbox. The original had a tall fourth that allowed 70+ cruising, on the flats at least. Since you don’t get something for nothing, has that been lost in exchange for acceleration?

    Like 6
  8. Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

    I had the interesting experience of doing a ride-share with an upper classman in his 63 or 64 Bug from Chicago to my home in New York (I think it was an Xmas holiday). The thing would run along at 70 all day unless you hit a hill. I recall in the Pennsylvania mountains that it would drop back to 53-55 mph and stay there for the entire hill climb. Semis and busses would pass us going up. Not the most comfortable ride, especially when a 53 footer would go wooshing by blowing us half out of our lane from the wash off its front end. Gas mileage wasn’t that great either.

    Like 4
  9. Gary

    We had one with the folding sunroof. My brother and I were fans of Rat Patrol so when pop slid the roof back we would pretend we were in the jeeps on the machine guns. Cool old bug.

    Like 3
  10. Greg

    Just a fun car to drive. Who really care about the words when cruising in this shinny black dot.

    Like 6
  11. Hollywood Collier

    I have only owned a 67 model bug in my life. I was in 11th grade in high school and i loved that car. $2 filled it up and gas was 29cents a gallon. I gave $600 for it with a 30 day guarantee. I was making $50 a week working in the pro shop at the country club. The good ole days and simple life. Great car and write up too!! I did notice that the english teach said do t…..instead of dont….so maybe he got his degree online?? Great job barnfinds

    Like 5
  12. Hollywood Collier

    I had the same question Bill?? My 67 had the regular transaxle….i am curious too about the top speed with the close ratio??

    Like 2

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