Take Your Pick: Air-Cooled VW Collection

We love seeing collections of classic cars for sale, and air-cooled VWs tend to show up in large quantities the most often. They’re easy to collect and usually find buyers when posted for sale, so it makes sense – especially if you have the space like one seller apparently does. This collection here on craigslist somewhere near Phoenix features a wide range of early Beetles, Bajas, Buses and Karmann-Ghias, and the prices seem fair. (Oh, and go here if the ad disappears.) 

Of course, some may make you cringe – like this rare oval window Bug cut up for a Baja conversion. Thankfully, the conversion itself wasn’t too intrusive, so you can likely source the OEM components to return this back to the early Beetle it once was. The seller has another Baja (also an oval window!) for sale that looks mostly complete, but the ones that really catch my eyes are other cars listed but not photographed, including a 1958 convertible and 1956 Transporter.

If you’re like me, you’ll appreciate that the seller tends to prefer the earlier models. The car in the top photo appears to the red “barn find” 1965 model, while this Gulf Blue example is said to be a 1962 model year. Also listed without a photo is a very early 1954 Beetle parts car for $1,800, which would be an oval window example with the very small / svelte taillights that I love. I believe that’s the car pictured next to the red oval Baja, but it’s hard to tell. Either way, if it’s not rusty, I feel like there’s potential profit in an early example like that.

This is likely the 1964 project, listed as “red, white and rust” for $2,000, which again seems like fair money for a mostly complete car that doesn’t look to be crusty – just sunburnt. Overall, there’s plenty of potential projects here to choose from along with several Karmann-Ghias. If you had the time to take on an aircooled project, which one would you grab? And would you restore the Bajas back to their original configuration or ignore the purists and keep it off-road ready?


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  1. John

    Anyone can restore a car. It takes courage to cut one up. Oval window Baja with loud nasty motor? Heck yeah!

  2. Gaspumpchas

    The red 65 has a Pennsylvania Bicentenial plate on it- may have seen some salt, These dry cars would be a good place to start if you wanted to build a bug. Good luck- y’all check that floorpan good

  3. Peter

    What is that car in front of the 62 Gulf blue VW? Its is a Karmann Ghia if you go to Craig’s List.

  4. Bob

    For years I used bugs as airport cars. I had a ’68 model that was a lovely car that had only been rolled once. I used to find it in the parking lot by looking for the rust ring on the pavement. I rebuilt the 1600 cc engine, put on a set of headers, and it was absolutely reliable and a joy to drive. I bought a pretty little BMW 2002 to replace the bug, and the first week it was parked at work, some clod opened their door with their foot and left a large, deep crease in my door.
    My point is, that bugs may simple cars, but that is a feature not a fault. I still regret selling that car. I wish I was a little closer to these cars in Arizona.

  5. Peter

    They are popular in Australia. I was on holiday in Brisbane years ago and the late Barry Ford had off roader. In less than a day he had the motor whipped out and did a valve grind, torqued the heads back on and caught up with us, who were in his old Willys jeep on the beach to Noosa.

  6. Wayne

    What about the Buick?

    Like 1
    • Rube Goldberg Member

      Judging by the “Sink-o-meter” ( how far the tires are sunk in the dirt) and possible pine tree growing out the hood, that Buick been sittin’ a while.

      Like 1
      • Jeff Davis

        I’ll give ya that.

        But take another close look…

        Is it my imagination (hope?) or does it appear the C pillar dome lamp on that old Buick is ablaze…?

    • Solosolo KEN TILLY Member

      Hi Wayne. I would much rather go for the Buick. I sold my ’51 Super several years ago and have regretted it ever since.

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Hi Ken, nice ride! Can you tell me what is wrapped around the hood ornament to the A Pillars? Thanks, Mike.

    • Peter

      It is not listed.. just ring the guy on the CL link?

  7. XMA0891

    Ten seasons in, how could this horde have been missed by American Pickers?

  8. Solosolo KEN TILLY Member

    Hi Mike. It’s just wedding ribbon. Doing weddings on a fairly regular basis was about the only way I could afford to run the car as it only gave me 4 mpg if I drove it like a ballet dancer.

  9. ACZ

    Forget the sauerkraut burners. The “3-holer” is the real star here.

    Like 1
  10. Edward

    I may be an old man but I continue to see cars listed for 2-5x their realistic value. The VW’s shown here are no exception. I’ve owned many and these vehicles will likely take more money to restore than their purchase price. None are rare.

  11. Charlie

    Love the Buick. I had a 1951 Super, and wish it was still around. Built like a Sherman Tank, and would go thru snow banks like nothing at all, up here in Taxachusetts. Liked the slow Dynaflo too. Not bad pickup if started in low, then shifted into drive. Great straight eight engine.
    (can you guess what my email address means?)

    Like 1
  12. Peter

    No one has a clue?

  13. David Miraglia

    I’ll take all of them

  14. PatrickM

    I agree with so many commenters… Yup, another Beetle. And… Yeah! Let’s talk Buick!

    Like 1

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