Survivor Oval Window: 1957 VW Beetle

This 1957 VW Beetle is a desirable oval window model, representing a distinct design phase in the Beetle’s history that incorporated a number of features not found on later cars. Bullet-style turn signals, chrome bumpers and recessed headlamps are all distinctive qualities of an early model, but the oval rear window is what really sells it. Find it here on eBay where bidding is approaching $7,500 with four days left. 

These early models also featured a more petite taillight design and a matching rear chrome bumper. Later cars evolved to an overall more “chunky” design, and this one has survived nicely with no accidents to report and no previous attempts made at restoration. The seller claims he isn’t an aircooled guy and just fell into the ownership of this Bug, which is what’s claimed to drive the sale. No word on if body panels are original but the paint appears consistent from stem to stern.

California black plates are a nice touch as seen above, as is the pleasingly simply interior of an early Beetle.Other pictures show a dash with chipped paint but retaining original switchgear and a period Motorola radio tuner. The seller claims the Beetle runs and stops well and drives straight down the road. Originally purchased in Arcadia, California, it has never left the West Coast, which helps explain its impressive cosmetic condition.

An assortment of spares is included with the sale. The seller also claims to be in touch with the original owner who can fill any prospective buyers in on the car’s overall history along with any other questions. It’s always comforting to see someone still relies on the classic John Muir title, How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive – this is the kind of person you want to buy one from. Bidding is active so we’d expect to see the current number go higher before the auction concludes.

Fast Finds


  1. RayT Member

    This is one of those “brings back fond memories” cars for me. For an all-too-brief time, I had a ’54 (not all that different) and loved it. Certainly crude by today’s standards, but a nifty piece of transportation. Thanks to the small windows, these felt “cozy” compared to later Beetles, and I liked that.

    Too much money — well, not for the ardent aircooled VW fans, maybe, but for me — and all the way across the country. If either of those were different, I might be trying to relive the past!

  2. CJay

    I would guess from the photos a couple of decades ago, someone re-sprayed this. It looks as if it was a once silver/gray. But a reasonably solid Bug!

  3. Steve

    I have several of the John Muir books and they are cherished possessions. The illustrations are worth purchasing alone!!!!

    • DrinkinGasoline

      Oh Yeah !! First book I bought after purchasing Our ’66.

  4. Wilhelm Brauer

    Caveat Emptor – Los Osos is a notorious rust area for cars. I own a home near there. The buyer should inspect this car carefully for rust. Then again, it looks like it may be a good car.

    • -Bear-

      Yes, Los Osos (I lived there during my CalPoly Engineering days) is a community that is located “reasonably close” to the Pacific Ocean & Morro Bay, & therefore it does get its fair share of those moist foggy nights (& some days) that can tend to prematurely rust classic cars.
      BUT IF this car has been garaged when not being used I wouldn’t worry too much about hidden rust because most any rust resulting from salt air exposure would be very visible on the exposed surfaces and this one looks pretty damn good & solid in the photos! :-)

      I’d BUY IT if I had the spare “toy $$” in my bank account!

      (+ Classic VW Bug prices continue to go up & up & up! This one MIGHT BE the opportunity for someone to purchase a classic Bug that they can drive & enjoy today, & then restore one day down the road
      to realize its FULL potential value!)

  5. Bill

    I love the 57s. It was my first car. When I was 15 I had $100 to spend on a car. My dad and I went to different dealerships to see what was sitting out back of the dealers. We found a 1957 bug behind a Saab dealer in Pittsburgh. They took $60 for it and towed it our house. It didnt run but had no rust. Got it running and drove it to high school for a year. Love bugs. Bring back great memories.

  6. mxb

    Wow, that brings back some memories. I had a 57 Beetle when I was stationed in Germany in 1976. It had a locking gear shift lever. You put the shift lever in reverse, then locked it with a key. It also has semaphore “flapper” turn signals in the doorposts. It had German specs, so I couldn’t bring it back to the US when I returned. I had that John Muir book.

    • Marshall

      I was stationed in Germany in 1975. It was there and then that I saw my first split window VW bug, a 1952 model that the service man was selling for 1000 marks (About $250 at the time). It was in decent condition too. I remember exclaiming when I first saw it, saying “Ich kann es nicht glauben!”(I cannot believe it!). How appropriate that I spot my first split window VW bug in Germany!

      As regarding the 57 model, a friend of mine had a sister who owned a 57, that she called “Gretchen”. It was beat up, but she loved it all the same.

      Me, my favorite bugs are the “Herbie” generation of 1958-1964. These were the first ones made with the larger rear window. The later 1964 bugs had the “flat abomination” license plate light, that is, the flat headed license plate light that replaced the round headed license plate light of the 1958-1963 models, which I like much more (obviously).
      Back in the day (1970s-1980s), I owned four bugs of this vintage range. One of them was a 1962 sunroof bug which I decked out like Herbie, which I have featured on the top of my FB page.

  7. Phil

    My first car was a ’58 Beetle, then later a ’62, both purchased before I was old enough to drive. And yes, I too had John Muir’s book and loved the humor throughout.


    YA! Thee’s are Great. A friend Gave me his, in 1974, sO MAGICal to Drive around. Would LIKE to have one Now, maybe with Petifores (those TurnSignalS that Fold UP from behind the Front Doors, and a Rag Top, those Canvas Fold Back Sunroofs.. to Install my 9 1 2 Engine in….” Day at a Time”, to Quote myZelph Grata Aus! gF

  9. David Miraglia

    Love all Beetles. Doesn’t matter what window style or engine. Would love to have this one.

  10. Todd Zuercher

    I wanted to buy the identical twin to this car from an older lady in my hometown when I was in high school in 1987. She wanted $1300 for it. I had saved up enough $$ for it with my summer job, but our family was poor, and my dad simply stated, “you can buy the car, or you can go to college”. I knew the answer.

    The car didn’t sell and the lady called me back a few months later, asking if I would give her $800 for it. I told her I regrettably couldn’t. I always wondered what happened to the car – I have driven by the home a few times in recent years but I have no idea if she’s still living (there or otherwise) or not. The car is obviously long gone. I still have some photos of it in an album.

  11. Mountainwoodie

    Boy…when you call John Muir’s book a classic……………..I feel old! In my head it’s still 1972!

  12. -Nate

    I can’t be the only one who noticed the obvious front collision damage….

    Also there are NO ‘matching numbers’ on old VW’s, this was dishonest window dressing by the seller .’

    Could be a very nice car ~ I hope some jerk didn’t buy it to destroy it by Hot Rodding it .


  13. Melvin Burwell

    I always thought these cars were oversized lawn mowers. Prefer the super beetles 70s. My friends brother has one. Clean on the outside. But barely running.

  14. -Nate

    They were Melvin ;

    That’s what makes them so much fun to drive sixty years later when maintained in stock condition .

    BTW : a Super Beetle only goes 5 MPH or so faster than does a ’57, it just gets there faster =8-) .

    I’ll keep my 36HP beetle thankyouverymuch .


    • Phil

      Not sure about the top speed comparison. The ’57’s top speed was close to 70 and I can remember driving my ’71 Super Beetle at 85 mph even with the Auto-Stick transmission.

      • -Nate

        I’m dead sure .

        My ’53 Zwitter was going 85 when I rolled in, using a stock 1954 36HP engine and single tip exhaust .

        Few VW’s were/are ever properly tuned .

        As a VW Mechanic I always kept/keep mine sharply tuned .

        80 + MPH on the flat with no wind was cruising speed as well as flat out .

        M8 AutoSticks remain a favorite of mine .

        When I’m zizzing across the Mojave or Central California desert on my way to VW Shows/Meets I always pass foolish kiddies in their big engined, chromed out and lowered VW’s that cannot even do 65 MPH for fear of frying the engine they’re so pround of .

        (ex VW Shop owner)

  15. Phil

    My ’62 Beetle was true to form: 72 mph top speed, as listed anywhere I have ever seen.

  16. -Nate

    My Son’s first Beetle was a #117 Deluxe ’63 with 40 Horse engine, he ricky raced the crap out of it and managed to get about 40,000 *very* hard miles before it clattered to a halt 10 miles from home one evening .

    I had discovered he’d begun using the _maximum_ speed shift points in the speedo as normal shift points ~ he thought because it revved so easily it was like all his buddies Hondas ~ able to rev. forever and not be damaged .

    Kids ~ how foolish they are ! .

    FWIW, most 40HP Beetles sold in North America came with #117.5 main jets, they needed a #120 to be right but the fuel economy thing was the primary selling point then .

    As I’ve said since the 1960’s : proper tuning make them an entirely different car .


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