Volkswagen Beetle (1957-1967)

“Durable Simplicity from the people’s car”
The Volkswagen Beetle was produced over seven decades. From 1946 until 2004, no other car had been made for so long and remained so similar in looks than this German icon.

Its purpose initially was to get Nazi Germany mobile, but after the war the British army took control to sell the car across the world as a practical and economical run around.

This basic car was constantly being improved and updated, moving very nicely with the times but also sticking to its air cooled routes. Like its Porsche cousin, it really was a case of ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’.

Today a cult classic associated with sixties hippies and in fact anyone free spirited, the Beetle has a reputation of being an easy going custom car with a huge scene across the world. Values are always on the rise these days as the popularity of these little cars continues to increase constantly.

Modified or standard, the Volkswagen Beetle will continue to represent cool…always.

Years Produced1957 - 1967
Performance0 - 60mph 32.1sec / Top Speed - 72mph
Power & Torque 40bhp / 64Ib ft
Engine1192cc / four cylinder 8 valves
Drive-train Rear engine RWD
TransmissionFour speed manual

Let’s start with the very heart of the Beetle, that air cooled engine. If well maintained they will last a lifetime, so it is important to get a folder of history with the car you are buying.

Plenty of TLC in its past is important, with regular oil changes being the order of the day keeping everything running sweetly.

Overheating is the Beetles Achilles heel, and so it is important there are no restrictions to the fan.

A good indication of a worn engine can be by tugging the bottom pulley to see how much excess play is in it, too much could mean an engine rebuild or replacement. Cracked cylinder heads will lead to loss of compression, and oil leaks can be identified by blue smoke on start up.

Corrosion can affect just about everywhere on the beetle. The worst areas are as follows: heater channels, spare wheel well, door bottoms, wing edges, boot and bonnet seams, rear quarter panel. The chassis is also susceptible, especially in the front foot wells and  under where the battery sits.

Gearboxes are usually robust although precision is debatable with loss of synchromesh.

Interiors are sparse, but well finished seats can sag and split but can easily be replaced or repaired.

The Beetle makes a great everyday classic being cheap to run and still incredibly reliable. The best ones to buy remain properly restored ones.


An 18-year old Hungarian technology student, Bela Barenyi submitted a chassis design for a “Volkswagen” in 1925 and is credited with having conceived the basic design for the VW Beetle.

Mark Wilkinson (Managing Partner of Heritage Classic Car Insurance) says

“The little Bug has lived a long and fruitful life from war torn Germany right to the heart of the world over there is no mistaking its popularity and it will just keep going on and on.”

INSURING A Volkswagen Beetle (1957-1967)


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