Woody Conversion: 1966 Volkswagen Beetle

The era in which Volkswagen Beetles were modified with a “woody” body over the rear quarters has long since passed, and relatively few remain in road-going condition today. The seller claims this example was one of a handful converted when new, and not someone’s backyard version of re-creating the iconic carry-alls of the 30s and 40s. This one is in Canada and the seller says it needs complete restoration while noting it is 95% rust-free. Find it here on eBay with bidding over $1K and the reserve unmet. 

It never dawned on me that this was actually a fairly ornate conversion, using a mixture of real wood panels and “multi-laminated plywood” inside. The rear hatch opens fully, exposing the motor and a package shelf useful for any gear needed in support of the surfboards mounted to the roof. The seller claims this is one of 125 imported into Canada after the conversion was complete, which was performed by Lieffring Industries in Kansas City, Missouri.

This is the photo that left me gobsmacked, as I had no idea the level of detail the woody conversion entailed The roof is covered in “real wood”, notes the seller, and ripe for refinishing. The windows are a mystery, as the seller says the rear windows are either “…plexi or Lexan,” and that they both work well and need replacement. I suppose their cosmetic condition could be tired but they may remain functional; a question worth asking, regardless. The interior overall presents well and could be used as-is while the restoration proceeds.

The listing is very detailed about what is included in the sale, which extends to several rare NOS parts from Lieffring Industries along with various trim pieces from the vintage Ford body that the VW is designed to mimic. The engine is out of the car but is confirmed as a good running example; the transmission is also functional and installed. To me, this VW Bug / Woody conversion with its original nose grafted back on would make for a wicked surf-rig build, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a strong sale number for this survivor-grade example.

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Comments

  1. GP Member

    From the first picture, I thought it was a PT Cruiser. It’s a nice little car, someone did a lot of work.

    5
  2. canadainmarkseh Member

    Cute car needs quite a bit of work, your going to find a ton of rust in those doors and side panals under that wood. This would be a fun project to restore. It’s funny that the replica car is now old enough to be an antique in its own right, and is rarer than the original woodie wagons. If I had time space and money I’d be bidding on this one.

    5
    • canadainmarkseh Member

      I just noticed a 403 area code which tells me that this car is in southern Alberta. I my have to call on this one.

      4
      • canadainmarkseh Member

        Talked to the owner the car is in Reddeere Alberta he has an engine ready to go back in from a 67 Beatle. If I didn’t already have a project car I’d be on this one.

        1
  3. stillrunners

    cool….and yes lots of work on that conversion…..

    2
  4. That Guy

    It looks like a well-designed conversion. Most home-brew woodies are all straight lines and clunky joints. These curves which follow the original body contours are, I’m sure, vastly more complex to design and build, and they look infinitely better than the usual garden shed on wheels. This car is definitely a worthwhile and interesting project.

    4
  5. Mountainwoodie

    If this wasn’t in a furinn cuntry I’d be all over it.

    2
    • ICEMAN from Winnipeg

      Hey, if it is in Alberta, that’s Canada’s Texas, so you’d feel right at home. As long as you’re from Fly Over Country, and not the coasts….

      2
      • Mountainwoodie

        :)……..I’m a Left coaster in the mountains! Does that count?

  6. Ben T. Spanner

    Years ago I saw a panel van bug conversion on craigslist. The front was an obligatory fiberglass ford replica. The back was all fiberglass including the roof. It looked great, but imagine the engine noise reverberating in a giant plastic tunnel.

    3
  7. Tugdoc

    My son and I built one of these back when Vdubs could be picked up for 100. dollars. He was 14 when we started with plans from Popular Mechanics. At that time clear vertical grain dug. fir was still available. This one looks very similar to our plan. It was a fun time I still smile when I see one of these. There are a few of these around the Portland area. The fiberglass someone noted was a copy of a 40 Willis panel . Ads for that body were in all the magazines at the time.

    4
  8. Derek

    That’s really nicely done. Makes the Beetle a far more practical car, too. D.

    1
  9. Dickie F

    If I was 10 000km closer, I would be all over this version.
    So practical and as I recently discovered with the partial restoration of the Mustang, so simply to fix oneself economically, for daily use.
    With the short distances we drive these days (and fly the longer distances) these make logical sense.

    2

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