Survivor Oval: 1957 Volkswagen Beetle

This 1957 Volkswagen Beetle is an early production U.S. model with the desirable rear oval window. The seller describes it as a barn find that runs and drives and has no rot of any kind. The car is incredibly original and comes with impossible-to-replicate details like the factory tool box and payment book. The seller is asking $20,000 with no interest in hearing from lowballers. Find it here on craigslist in New Jersey, and thanks to Barn Finds reader Russel Glantz for the find. 

The rear oval window and small tail lights are just two cosmetic clues that this is one of the older Bugs on the road. I’ve always found the early Beetles to be beautiful cars in their own, weird way – the details are just so precise. The later cars felt like some precision was lost, as if the details become secondary to achieving record levels of production. While likely better cars, the newer Bugs just aren’t as special.

The interior of this 1957 model remains in very tidy order, with a pretty red leatherette / vinyl interior that includes door panels with original switchgear and storage pockets still holding together nicely. The seller notes there’s just 84,000 miles on the Beetle, which he believes is an accurate record of how far this Beetle has traveled. The floorpan is said to be in great shape, along with the trouble-prone heater channels.

The seller doesn’t explicitly state that the Beetle is running, but for the asking price, one would hope so. The listing details the cost breakdown of new parts installed, which includes a rebuilt carburetor and the gas tank cleaned out. The seller is also including a complete chrome bumper kit with overriders, and the Beetle has just had its brakes serviced, too. Is $20K reasonable or a tad ambitious?

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Comments

  1. Doug Walters

    Ambitious is hardly a strong enough word for the price.

    Like 22
    • Robert Gee

      Am I the only one here that noticed the pic of the split window then in one of the other pics no split. 20k is way to much for this. 15 running . Now if it was the VW with the split window now we’re talking….

      • moosie moosie

        Robert Gee,,,,,,,I don’t see any pictures of a split rear window, what I see is a picture of the interior drivers side rear 1/4 window and the drivers door window, did you see the courtesy light, thats where they were positioned ?

        Like 3
  2. rudy

    “Only surface rust”… think he would let me come over with my portable bead blaster and check?

    Like 6
    • Garry Sparkman

      I agree, start at the left side of the oval

      Like 1
  3. Ian C

    If it is as solid and original as it appears in the pics, the price is a little high but not by a huge margin. Value is steadily increasing on these. Even more so on pre-58 models. I would be a player on it in the 13-14k range

    Like 5
    • rpol35

      Agreed, hard to find in this solid and complete a condition; oval window models bring a premium. I think $20K is out of reach but not by a huge amount. He’ll know soon enough.

      This one is good enough that I’d suggest using Hemmings or some medium more high-brow than Craigslist to promote and sell.

      Like 5
  4. Arby

    I bought a new VW ragtop in 1970 – paid just over $3,000.
    People thought I was crazy – $3K for a Volkswagen???

    Like 8
    • Marshall

      I agree, the older bugs had that “old world charm”. My favorite bugs were the 1958–1964 “Herbie Generation”. Back in the day, I owned a 1961 bug, two 1962 sunroof bugs(one of which I decked out like Herbie), a 1963 bug, and a “non-Herbie Generation“ 1966 bug. My dad also owned a 1960 bug. What is ironic is that there is a YouTube video showing a vintage early 60s VW TV commercial, saying “we do not change our cars to make them look better. We only change our cars to make them work better”. By the late 60s, that was patently true! But the Herbie Generation had to have them professionally styled! (with “honorable mention” to the pre-58 ovals and splits). In that same YouTube video, it actually explains the origin of the first large rear window bugs in 1958. It claims that VW consulted an Italian designer, who’s only recommendation was to make the rear window larger.

      Like 1
  5. Ben Member

    Says it is running in the ad……

    Like 3
  6. Cman

    Sweet. I’ll bet he gets close to his price. Looks very original. No word on matching numbers. That tool kit is complete and typically sells for $1-2K.

    Like 3
  7. Classic Steel

    So offering the 800 he paid the farmer is a no go for the flipper😂

    I myself suggest to take 13000 and enjoy your profit 👀

    Like 5
  8. Terry

    Yes ambitious, when it needs everything restored. Nothing about another $15,000 won’t solve, if you do all the work yourself.

    Like 2
  9. bobhess bobhess Member

    There aren’t many of these out there any more that are in this kind of condition. I’ll admit to the demise while grabbing running gear anywhere I could to build dune buggies, make my van go faster, etc. This one is rare in numbers and condition. You’ve got to admit it’s a nice car.

    Like 4
  10. Malibu-Dave

    I just love it when folks use the term “Barn Fine”. I wish him luck, I am always attracted to original paint and original interior VW’s, but it’s location is a little far for me to pursue this one, in fantastic colors.

    Like 1
  11. Tirefriar

    Nice grab handles screwed into the inside of doors…. would this be considered a period correct mod?

    Like 1
  12. On and On On and On Member

    That was a nice write up Jeff Lavery, I enjoyed it. Concise and descriptive. I wonder how many readers understand how much work it takes to research and write up each one.

    Like 7
  13. Boatman Member

    84,000 or 48,000 miles?

  14. bobhess bobhess Member

    Tirefriar… Was a bit young to remember details but I believe I’ve seen those plastic handles on VWs before. Any Bug experts out there to confirm factory or add on? Only door pull I see without the plastic handle is the door latch handle.

  15. Roy L

    The seller is asking $20,000 with no interest in hearing from lowballers. I wonder what he would consider lowballers, $18,000 or $19,000?

    Like 1
    • Bellingham Fred

      At $20,00 he is not interested in hearing from anybody.

      Like 11
  16. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    Nankang high performance tires. Uh huh.

    Like 1
  17. John P

    I’m amazed at the utter ignorance of BF comments by people who clearly know nothing of the VW and Porsche cars and the real values. It’s not a ragtop-but an original survivor sedan (yes-that’s what these are called) and it’s got great value. The bigger deal is the car exists in such a condition on the east coast.. this car will easily fetch north of $15k. This car has original documentation and intact original interior and headliner-it’s a damned good car for folks in the VW community..

    Like 6
    • Blin Clinton

      John, sound like you’ve been spending too much time on Bring-a-trailer. In fact, the condition this bug is in it will have a hard time breaking $10k on BaT. Here is a ’54 euro model that is much more appealing than the sample we see here and with a significantly better description which sold for $17k just scant 3 months ago:
      https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1954-volkswagen-beetle-3/

      Like 2
    • AlanBobTM

      @John P c’mon man, lighten up. You’re only perpetuating the stereotype of the dour Porsche fanboy with a stick up his a*s. BF is and should continue to be a safe place for banter, both informed and uninformed (much nicer word than ignorant, by the way).

      And, @Arby didn’t say this car was a ragtop, rather that the 1970 VW he purchased new was one. He’s just sharing a bit of personal history. Banter, you know?

      Like 3
      • Ralph

        Porsche fanboys have to do this to try to justify how much they overpay for everything……

        “You just don’t understand the value of it…”

        No, you’re overpaying for a Beetle…..

        Like 3
  18. Louis Q Chen

    Seems like it’s in good shape…but $20K is ambitious! Was it converted to 12V? Maybe around $10K?

    Like 1
  19. deak stevens

    If it was a 48 or 49 i’d gladly give him 20 but a 57 that needs work 12 to 14

  20. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    It’s been fer sale for awhile…..

    Like 1
  21. Del

    only 20 gs for Hitlers last car ?

    where do I sign up ?

  22. Little_Cars

    Gotta love the first photo for the Barn Find narrative — someone putting parts on the car. Is this supposed to make us think this Bug was lovingly pampered by the seller? Or did that indicator light fall off when the car was yanked through the barn doors?

    Like 2
  23. brian b

    Healthy money for sure but how many can you find that are that original?

    Like 1
  24. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Posting has been deleted by author.

  25. Jim Z

    For $20k asking, sure wish there were better pics.
    Just sayin’….

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