Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

Success Story: Mike’s Beetle Finds A Home!

1952 Volkswagen Beetle

From Tory A – I ended up buying the ’52 split window Beetle from Mike Wolfe that was posted on Barn Finds a couple months back. Just wanted to thank you guys for once again listing yet another great car. This early beetle ended up being even better than described. I’ve spent the last couple months freshening the car up both mechanically and cosmetically and it’s really come a long way. Sourced a set of correct taillights and rear fenders as well. I’m enclosing some pictures of what the car looks like now. Keep up the great work! Thanks Tory. We are just glad it went to a good home!

Barn Beetle


  1. Doug S

    Awesome by far my favorite show on TV. I saw that episode and his brother getting it down (Again GREAT SHOW)
    Thanks for posting this thread. This VW is kinda famous since Mike (Rob) bought it

    Like 0
  2. JLS

    perfect, minimalism at its best.

    Like 0
  3. Fred

    After seeing it hoisted from the loft on a forklift, never thought it would look this good. Looks like maybe just touchup/detailing rather than a complete respray? I remember they had to replace the engine, which was there but had a corroded crankcase or such. I never miss Pickers, closest thing to “reality” of all the “reality” shows. It’s hard to completely stage this stuff.

    Like 0
  4. RayT Member

    This is not the car shown on the TV show, right? Seems to me that one would have needed much more — including a respray/color change to look like this.

    Like 0
  5. jimbosidecar

    I remember that episode bringing the car down from the rafters with a fork lift. It sure looks a whole lot better now.

    Like 0
  6. Tory A

    Yes RayT is correct…

    This isn’t the blue VW from the barn. This is a car Mike already owned when he found that other split window Beetle. This particular car lived most of its life in Germany and was brought over to the United States in the late 70s by a serviceman. It’s a pretty original car. I plan on just maintaining the car and driving and enjoying it. I believe Mike still owns the blue 52 from the “Beetle in a Haystack” episode. Thanks for the kind words about the car!

    Like 0
  7. Joe Howell

    Great car and story.

    Like 0
  8. jim s

    i too think the car went to a good home. i am glad you are returning to stock. please keep us updated.

    Like 0
  9. Fred

    ….I see on another site about the car that it is not the one that was in the rafters (Mike owned more than one) , and has had one respray. Very nice bug!

    Like 0
  10. Rubin Collazo

    That’s not the car the other vw had side marker lights.

    Like 0
  11. stillrunners

    we’re so screwed……..

    Like 0
  12. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Who said it was the car from the show?

    Like 0
  13. erikj

    I,M with all that say that’s not the one on the show .I saw that and seem to me it was a bluish color. I think this is another that mike owned. Funny-I,m watching pickers right now. I can check for that episode. The show im watching right now is the old guy that rode the minibike around ,this might be the bug one.

    Like 0
  14. Dougm

    from memory I think we’re talking 2 different vehicles, this split was Mike’s for quite awhile, the blue one removed from a loft I believe is a ’59 oval?

    Like 0
  15. Tory A

    Just to clarify…This is a different car Mike owned. It’s not the blue 52 from the “Beetle in a Haystack” episode. Mike still owns that car. This is another 1952 Beetle Mike had prior to the car in the barn rafters. It was owned by a serviceman in Germany and brought back over to the states in the late 70s. I’m slowly putting the car back to stock as it was fitted with newer turn signals to pass the stringent inspection before it was imported by the military. I plan to drive and enjoy this car as much as possible weather permitting!

    Like 0
  16. Tim

    I want nothing to do with Mike Wolfe. I prefer the hobby without people who are in it primarily to screw money out of their fellow enthusiasts for sheer profit. They target people who are weak or in a bad spot and manipulate them until they get away with their best stuff for next to nothing, and then triple or quadruple their initial investment. That’s borderline criminal.

    Like 0
    • Brad

      Aww… you’re just a grump. Mike loves the people he meets, treats them fairly (can’t count the number of times I’ve seen him offer more than what the seller is asking) and he’s doing it out in the open on television. He’s saving stuff that’s rotting away, the sellers seem happy with the prices, and he’s even saving abandoned buildings around Nashville when it’s cheaper to knock them down.

      Like 0
  17. Pete W.


    That’s quite a nasty screed you left regarding the show. I’d sure appreciate you posting actual proof of your accusations.

    They pinpoint people who are weak? How do they do that? And I’ve watched the show for years and seen many people who aren’t in any more of a bad spot than the rest of Americans.

    As to buying an item at one price and selling it for more, that’s called capitalism. It’s essentially how the whole business world works. The “manipulating” is also known as bargaining and has been a regular part of the business world since business began.

    In fact, there are very few parts of the world where anybody pays asking price, and when it comes to a random piece of old junk, there is no price list, anyway. It’s only worth what someone is willing to pay.

    Show me a price list where a dented up, rusty sign, pulled off the side of a barn has a suggested retail price.

    And then explain to me how the Pickers are guaranteed their asking price when they resell it.

    As to why the Pickers get people to agree to sell to them at the price they suggest, I must have missed the part where they hold a gun to their heads. People don’t have to sell at any price if they don’t think its fair. In fact, many times they don’t.

    The seller can just hold onto it til someone like you comes along. Apparently they’ll get whatever they want for it.

    Like 0
    • Tim

      @pete w
      “Someone like you comes along”

      Nice, going the personal attack route..
      Care to elaborate, I’d love to hear you tell me more about me.

      Like 0
      • Pete W.

        How is the phrase “someone like you” a personal attack?

        I was clearly referring to someone who refers to negotiating or bargaining as “manipulation” and implies that there’s some sort of underhanded agenda behind it.

        Yeah, there’s an agenda. To get a lower price. It’s part of doing business and happens world wide, every day. And they make no secret that they plan to resell it. If they were to keep everything, they wouldn’t make much of a living, now would they?

        Ever buy a car, or a house, or anything outside of a retail store?

        Ever buy anything from a private citizen?

        Do you always pay the asking price?

        As to trying to cheat someone out of some valuable artifact, I’ve seen many times, on the show, when they’ve informed the seller that the asking price is too low, and deliberately offered more.

        If your implying that they’re out to cheat people (and that’s what you seem to be doing), that’s a pretty strange way to go about it.

        And the items they buy are not typically sitting on a retail shelf with a price tag attached. Many’s the time they have to pull it out of a pile of junk in an old barn or chicken coop, or even dig it out of a hole in the ground.

        The sellers seem pretty glad that anyone is willing to give them anything for it.

        Like 0
    • Tim

      You really believe that they show up to thier finds and start rolling camera without ever being there first and find their items for the first time on tv? Lol, the show is essentially staged, and everything they pull out of the barns are already accounted for and the prices set before they film. There is a lot less magic to tv than you think. Production costs are too high to film a spot without knowing the outcome. I work in tv and film, and with cars. I know this space well. Believe what you will, I don’t care, that’s the point of making tv.

      Like 0
      • Pete W.

        I’m well aware that things are staged and “reality” shows aren’t real. That was not your original comment.

        You accused these guys of being underhanded in their dealing and taking advantage of the vulnerable, without any proof of either being true.
        Essentially a personal attack on two people you don’t even know.

        Two different subjects, entirely.

        And there are no set prices for the majority of the stuff they find. It’s whatever someone is willing to pay.

        I defy you to show me a price list for water damaged movie posters or bullet riddled chewing tobacco signage.

        Or perhaps a half dozen tire patch kits from the 50’s.

        Because I’ve seen them buy all of that stuff.

        Like 0
  18. George

    I’ve been watching the show for many years. In the last couple of years they have been much fairer with their offered prices (on screen at least) than in the earlier years when it was all about big scores and big profit.

    Like 0
  19. Tim

    I work in the industry and I have seen it happen first hand, as well as on their show. They never actually reveal their flip price, only an estimate.. Because it’s usually many times higher than they paid.
    They target collectors who are elderly or sick and are in need of thinning their possessions, and knowing that, they offer absolutely bottom prices. They go in with a plan on how to work together to manipulate and bundle to get away with better items for less money. Yes it’s business, but it’s dirty business and I wouldn’t recommend they try that around here.
    In my defence, I’d say I went easy on them.
    I don’t deal with profit flippers. They’re only in it for themselves.

    Like 0
  20. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    @ Pete W. –
    Thanks for setting Tim on the correct path. I’ve been picking for over 50 years, and have had many people contact me again when they found “more stuff”, because I was honest about the need to buy at wholesale prices (about one third of retail).
    Note that pickers sell to antique dealers who then sell to the public, either online or at shows.
    I just got back from vending at a huge antique show in Virginia. Here’s a quick rundown on costs for this show:
    2 booth spaces &500. Hotel $150. Fuel $80. Food (2 people) $100. Approximate cost of items sold at show $1,500. Gross sales were about $3,500. Not included are items such as vehicle costs, show insurance, etc.
    And a lot of hard work . . . Pack up the truck & trailer, drive for hours, then set up a small store. If lucky we sell 20%, then pack the remaining inventory into boxes & tubs before loading it back into the vehicles for the drive home. I sill have to unload the truck & trailer once it stops raining!
    But that poor old couple I bought stuff from only had to show me their items & accept my reasonable offer. Sometimes I think they might be getting the better part of the deal!

    Like 1
  21. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    And another part of the equation; MANY heirs, faced with having to deal with deceased family member’s “collections”, have it all hauled away for junk, and they pay for this service!
    I’ve seen house & barn contents worth over $50,000 tossed into open dumpsters because the heirs only saw the real estate property value & wanted the contents gone so they could sell the house!

    Like 0
  22. Rando

    I’d LOVE for someone to come pick over my toy car collection and make an offer. It’s not the good old stuff, but there is a lot of it. Then I could help fund an old car project…

    Wow, we’re way off topic. The bug is beautiful, btw.

    Like 0
  23. Michael V.

    Profit margins are an interesting subject. When I ran a restaurant, we had a seventy-five percent profit margin on food, and I wasn’t exactly rich. I got complaints all the time from people saying they could buy the food at the grocery store for a buck that I sold them. It’s funny, nobody I know seems to begrudge someone like Apple making a ninety percent margin on their phones, or maybe they do, I don’t know.

    Like 0
  24. JCW

    Any and all business need to make a profit. That is why they are in business to help themselves. You can always get something for less if you do the work or buy from a manufacture (who is also making a profit) direct. Lots of people are jealous of those able to make a profitable business for themselves. Maybe once you have a business, for me past tense, your view is different.

    Like 0
  25. JohnD

    Funny but it seems to me that Mike and Frank are often doing the seller a favor buy taking that stuff off their hands and paying them good money for it. Oh and Tim, are you the guy that gets to decide how much we can buy/sell our stuff for? I’m not sure I’d even trust myself with that job!

    Like 0
  26. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    Tim — You are only partially correct as to how the show is staged. I have a close family member who was a VP with Discovery Group. This is how a typical show goes down: The advance crew arrives & determines if it’s a suitable place to film, if the owner has enough to make it worth their time & effort, and if the owner is OK with being on TV, allowing the camera crew into their home/barn, & what the owner should do & not do [don’t look at the camera, etc.].

    The price negotiation is almost always real, especially when you realize the owners are not actors, and cannot be relied upon to follow even a simple script or series of instructions. The part of the show where Mike & Frank are “interviewed” about various situations is often filmed after their visit is finished, but edited to appear they are not done with negotiations. This is done not to confuse the viewer, but to provide continuity to the show. The advance team often gets their information on who has “the good stuff & will let them in” by visiting the local small town barber. The barber typically knows everyone.

    Unless a specific item or selection of items were discussed in advance by the owner, Mike & Frank really do go on a treasure hunt. Price fixing in advance is reserved for the specific items that brought them to the location in the first place. However some of the other shows like Pawn Stars are 100% staged for most of the items, especially those where the guys have to travel outside the store to view/try the item. In those cases, the prices have been agreed upon in advance. The reason for this is to make filming easier, and make the episode fit the time constraints. And don’t forget, these shows are designed for entertainment first, education second.

    And don’t get me started on shows that involve storage unit auctions, almost all the items that they take to an “expert”, were planted by the producers, including the cars. In most states [California included] they cannot sell a vehicle found in a storage unit unless the car’s paperwork is included, signed by the owner. Same for weapons.] I grew up in one of the wealthiest areas in America, & attended many storage auctions prior to these shows becoming popular. I never saw anyone find a real valuable “gem”. The reason is likely that the owner removed the valuables before giving up the remaining items, because they were worth less than the rental cost. And the show’s indication that these units were “Abandoned” is not very accurate. While a few are lost because someone dies & the family didn’t know about the storage unit, most are forfeited because they couldn’t pay the rent.

    Here’s how to know the storage unit will be seized [& auctioned] for non-payment of rent; The door has 2 locks on the latch; one for the tenant, and one for the building management, to prevent the tenant from removing anything else before paying the back rent! I have yet to see a single episode where they removed more than one lock to open the door!

    Like 0
  27. Alan Brase

    Well, it doesn’t take a forensics guy to tell the show is scripted, somewhat. But I think on the whole, the show is pretty entertaining and for the most part, what they say is accurate. I know VW’s and old motorcycles and what they says about those is usually spot on. And they do a good job of making sure the seller knows they need to have a profit margin. And some of the repartee between the people is entertaining, even if a bit enhanced.
    I think they know they would face criticism if they outright stole stuff and sometimes even give the seller more than they are asking.
    More distressing to me is when NO ONE is called to look stuff over and it gets destroyed, benefiting no one.
    The number of neat old cars brought in by local junkyards and simply crushed for $200-$300 worth of scrap metal is sad, but the operators do not have a quick, easy way to market those with more value. I especially remember seeing 3 old VW buses sold for scrap at one yard. Mike would have gladly paid 3 or more times as much and had his own people load them.
    Not the worst show on TV, by a long way.

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.