Stalled Restoration: 1959 Volkswagen Beetle

This 1959 Volkswagen Beetle is a stalled project that ran when it was parked. It has been dismantled for restoration, but it is a complete car that the next owner can really put their own personal mark on. The Volkswagen is located in Fairmont, West Virginia, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding on the Beetle has only reached $1,605 in what is a No Reserve auction.

If you are keen to take on an already dismantled project car, then a Beetle probably isn’t a bad choice. These are, by deliberate design, a very uncomplicated car. So, reassembling one really isn’t as complicated as it could be with other makes of cars. In addition, the person who dismantled the car had the good sense to bag and tag every single item, so there’s a pretty decent chance that no parts have either been lost or mislaid. Significant sections of the car have been stripped to bare metal, and while this reveals a body that is largely solid, there will be some rust issues to address. There are a few new body components included with the car, including new bumpers and new running boards.

As you can see, the strip-down has revealed the all-too-common rust in the floors of the Beetle. Because of this being such a common occurrence, replacement parts are readily available. Fixing these issues in a Beetle is also remarkably easy, and the next owner will at least have the opportunity to take steps to minimize the chances of rust getting a second go at the VW. The interior is complete, and the trim and seats look like they are in good condition. There are new carpets and a few other trim items included with the car, so with a bit of luck, what the next owner should wind up with is a really nice Beetle interior.

Ran when parked. How that expression can bring pangs of dread into the hearts of so many enthusiasts. At least with this car, there can be no claims that getting the car running will be easy because the car will need to be reassembled before that’s going to happen. The Beetle had 87,000 miles on the clock when it was disassembled, and it isn’t clear whether the 1,192cc flat-four engine is original to the car. I personally wouldn’t be surprised if it was, because the engines and transmissions of these cars are notoriously long-lived. Maybe I’m being overly cautious, but to my mind, if the car has been dismantled to this point and a full restoration is the aim of the project, then I would probably be inclined to have the engine and transmission overhauled as a matter of course. This may seem unnecessary, but if the engine does have those miles on it, then it would be cheap insurance.

Back in the mid-1980s, I was on the hunt for a cheap commuter car to run backward and forwards to work. I settled on a 1960 Beetle that I paid the princely sum of $800 for. It was clean, straight, and free of rust issues. Today, that same car would command a figure ten-times that amount, as the VW Beetle has developed a true cult following. This has seen the car that was envisaged as an affordable people’s car become a desirable and fairly valuable commodity, and it isn’t unusual to see an original or nicely restored example sell for upwards of $22,000. This particular car is a long way from those lofty heights, but there is no reason why it couldn’t be brought up to those standards…and the process has already been started.



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  1. sir mike

    You can hear the rust attacking the bare metal….Should be a great project for next owner.

    Like 1
  2. art

    I’d love to have this if I had this mans garage.
    This would be a labor of love and about as simple a car to restore as any.
    With my HOA, you are prohibited from working on a vehicle, even with the garage doors closed. I suppose if one is quiet, who would know but this type of restoration is not bound to be silent. I believe I am the sole person in the neighborhood who washes and waxes my vehicles and I imagine they think I’m an odd duck. I understand and appreciate these restrictions as it does keep the neighborhood exceptional but then this type of car becomes an impossibility for me. Ah, well… to dream…

    Like 1
    • OhU8one2

      Why on earth would a person, who spent their whole life following rules,regulations, and law’s move into a neighborhood that tell’s you what and whatnot you can do in your own house. Me? I’d rather be homeless or dead rather than live next to Mrs. Kravitz.

      Like 11
      • Dave

        “Abner! Abner!”

    • art

      This was not a singular decision as most of you must know…it was fulfilling and respecting a partners life long desire. Sometimes you give up a lot for love and that’s worth more than a simple want of a hobby. Nothing else really matters does it?

      Like 7
    • Marshall

      Dude, can you put heavy duty soundproofing in your garage so that the “HOA garage gestapo” would never know?

      • Kurt

        Absolutely you can. Don’t ask me how I know this please.

        Like 1
  3. Gaspumpchas

    up to 1700 now. Looks like they may have used a grinder to remove some of the paint. ready for body work, could be a fun project if all of the parts are there. couldn’t tell if its the 36 hp engine. Sure would look nice in the original blue with the correct color wheels. That would be the crash box transaxle; an upgrade to the later one wouldn’t be apparent to the casual observer and is a stronger unit. Goes inn bolt for bolt. I’d take this on if I had room. Good luck to the new owner!

    Like 1
  4. Philip Bregar

    If I remember correctly, 59 VW engines had the generator support built into the engine block. This engine has a later style. Also, 59 engines didn’t have the fresh air heater ducts coming off the engine shroud. I wouldn’t worry about it if I wasn’t going to restore it, though.

  5. John

    Special order Porsche paint, right? It looks just like the other one.

  6. bobhess bobhess Member

    At this stage it would just as easy to go ahead and take the body off the pan. Lot easier to work on that way. Could be a good one.

  7. George

    I see much trouble in you young skywalker…

  8. Marshall

    The 1192 engine is a 40 hp 1200 engine, which were installed in 1961-1965 bugs. 1959 bugs came with the 36 hp 1100 engine. Unlike the newer engines, the older ones had a very distinct “high shrill“ noise when accelerating. Therefore, that engine is definitely NOT the original motor.

  9. Comet

    Someone better get some epoxy primer on this bug in short order. What compels folks to strip a body to bare metal and then allow it to rust?

    Like 2

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