Supercharged Find: 1963 Volkswagen Beetle

This nice example of a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle has a little surprise waiting under the hood. The car is located in Chatham, Illinois, just south of the state capital in Springfield, and it’s up for auction here on eBay. At the time of writing, the bid has reached $5,200, with over four days remaining.

The Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle is perhaps the most familiar automobile on the planet. If you have driven any car, chances are good that you’ve driven one of these. Produced from 1938 to 2003, when the very last Beetle rolled off a Mexican assembly line, over 21 million were made, making it the bestselling car design in history. Given its ubiquity, you might be forgiven for thinking that there wouldn’t be much to set this particular car apart from the crowd. Yet, aside from the scarcity of rust on this vehicle– just look at those floorboards– there are two areas where it stands apart.

First, there is its history. This car was purchased on the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 16th Street in New York City: an everyman’s car getting its start in the middle of the largest city in America. The first owner made a few modifications, including wider wheels, before parking the car in a warehouse in Connecticut in 1969. In the warehouse it sat, until discovered by a local dealer who then sold it on to the current owner. All this adds up to just over 27,000 miles on the odometer. The second matter is, of course, the Judson Supercharger bolted to the engine. Stock, the car’s current 1966 engine would have produced the same 40 bhp as its original. Yet, according to Judson’s claims at the time, the supercharger would have increased this to 59 bhp. This would have given the Beetle a 0-60 time of 13 seconds– roughly on par with four-cylinder sports cars of the era. Unfortunately, this performance might come at a cost: the engine seems to have developed a knock. Yet, this is the most-produced car ever; if you’re going to have engine problems, this is the engine to have problems with.

Simply put, this is an amazing example of an increasingly collectible car with the added bonus of both an interesting history and a nice bit of zip. Because they were so common and so inexpensive, these cars have often been abused, neglected, and worn down to nothing. It is getting harder and harder to find a low-mileage example like this one. If you’re one of the few people who hasn’t yet had the pleasure of owning one of these plucky little cars, maybe it’s time.


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  1. alphasud Member

    Car has potential. Black with red interior is always a nice combination on a Bug. The 66 engine suggests this car might have more than 27K. Also looks like front seats are reupholstered. At the first shop I worked we had a 1200cc engine with a Judson supercharger stashed in the storage area. The Judson used Marvel Mystery Oil as a lubricant. There was a jar that drip feed the supercharger. Judson also made a kit for the Corvair in the 60’s as well.

    Like 16
    • Bill McCoskey

      The Marvel Oil supply unit is to the left of the engine, on the firewall. The glass jar was on the bottom, unscrew it to put more oil in the jar. The top part was how the system metered the oil, and was adjustable. If you didn’t see a continuous light blue oil cloud in the exhaust, it was not set correctly.

      I find it of interest that all the supercharger-related parts are nice & shiny, and the rest of the engine is dirty/oil stained. I would hate to think a supercharger was added to a used stock engine without rebuilding it first, that’s a good way to quickly put a hole in a piston or a knock at the “big end”.

  2. A.G.

    Don’t get too excited over this car. The seller is shilling what they were supposedly told. The real story about a new engine after three years, the addition of a supercharger, and then parked as a six year old vehicle would be interesting to listen to. Not enough worth bidding $2.5K never mind the $6K+ it’s bid to now.

    Like 10
  3. Jay

    The pleasure of owning one ? Not really, noisy, too hot or cold depending on that days weather and sloooow.

    Like 5
    • JoeNYWF64

      You may be cold in the winter in 1 of these, but with those skinny tires & rear weight bias, i bet these cars were great in the snow.
      Plus i doubt many of these were towed – roadside fixes i bet were a snap.

      Like 5
      • John Griffith

        Had one when I lived at the bottom of an icy hill at 10k’. Routinely passed 4WD’s spinning their wheels.

  4. Terrry

    Uh, I never heard of a supercharger for these 40hp engines. And this one has a knock. Now I know why I never heard of them.

    Like 7
  5. Terry

    Why would anyone put a supercharger in this, when a 1600cc dual port will drop right in and give better performance (and more reliability too).

    Like 11
    • alphasud Member

      Don’t forget when Judson made the supercharger kit it was in the early 60’s. The dual port 1600 didn’t happen till 71. Just another way to bolt on some power and done purely for nostalgia today.

      Like 11
    • Jwaltb

      See response from Alfasud below. He knows what he’s talking about.

      Like 1
  6. Mike

    Looked up the dealer in NY. Interesting to have a dealer smack dab in the middle of the city. The place is now occupied by a Old Navy store. Here’s an article of the dealership:

    Like 17
    • LMK Member

      Very cool !

      Thanks for pulling that up Mike…

      Like 3
  7. Ed

    In the VW universe, finding a complete functioning Judson set up is huge. Like all vintage vehicles, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Solid survivor VW bugs are quite valuable these days… a real steal at the current bid.

  8. Kurt

    This one has some rarity but not enough to warrant much more $. I would take the engine apart and rebuild it with Okrasa speed parts,but that is problematic given the dual carbs used by Okrasa versus a single throat and this supercharger.

    Like 1
  9. Jwaltb

    Ah, memories. My parents bought a new Beetle in 1961, same year I got my license, and allowed me to put a Judson on it. First test drive I had to immediately go back and get a Transporter clutch for it. No gas gauge, but a lever near the floor for the reserve. Stories about that another time. Anyway, at some point I was driving my mother to her mother’s funeral a few hundred miles away. Blower or fuel mixture holed a piston, and we had to be towed to the nearest VW dealer, which
    just happened to be Bob Holbert’s Porsche/ VW shop. While there I saw some Porsche racing engines that seemed like they were four feet tall. I was thrilled. My parents less so.
    We made the funeral on time, picked up the Beetle on the way back and I removed the Judson first thing when we got home.

    Like 5
  10. Andrew S Mace Member

    I’m confused about “the car’s current 1966 engine”: Did it get a “correct” replacement 40hp, 1192cc engine in the year 1966? Or did it, at whatever point, get a “1300” engine out of a 1966 car (one-year engine), which would have been 50hp stock and a fair bit more with the Judson? Either way, this car reminds my of my high school buddy’s black ’62, which might have gotten a similar treatment had it not been wrecked in a shopping center parking lot! :(

    Like 2
  11. Jack Gray

    I had a ’65, lived in south Jersey, worked the midnight shift in ’75 in the winter. Hit a patch of ice on my way to work at 10:30 PM and that Bug did a couple 360’s. Thought I’d have to go back home to change clothes! Didn’t know a Beetle would do THAT! Cold? Oh, yeah, no fan on the ductwork, so it was weak, forced air from the engine.

    Like 3
  12. DonC

    I think Barn Finds should add more pop up ads and other memory starving things to the site. It took my iPad into a horrible place of page loading, reloading, and trying to post this comment took a crazy amount of time.

    Like 1
    • Jwaltb

      Yeah, it’s gotten a bit ugly, but it’s still here.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      If you become a member, you won’t have to deal with any ads. We gotta pay the bills guys.

      Like 3
      • DonC

        Yeah, I get it Jesse, but this is ridiculous. It’s now pay or go away. No middle ground. And what an impression when I tell friends to check it out?

  13. Doug

    If this has a 1966 bug engine, then it would be 50 HP, not 40. That year, the 1300 engine replaced the 1200.

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