This car needs no introduction – it sold so much it became one of the most sold cars in the world. The Volkswagen Type 1, otherwise known as Bug or Beetle, is a two-door, rear-engine economy car. Beetle is the brainwork of Nazi Germany leader, Adolf Hitler, who desired a car that can be mass-produced and affordable for his teeming populace.
Volkswagen sold over 21 million of the Beetles, but this high number of sales hasn’t reduced its collectability value as some Beetles have against all auction forecasts crossed the $100,000 milestone. In this list, we collate the 10 most expensive Beetles ever sold at auction.
10 1958 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE
In the 10th position, this 1958 Volkswagen Beetle with chassis number 1805386 was estimated to be auctioned from $45,000 to $65,000 – but this refurbished ragtop had other ideas. It’s fitted with a 1,192cc flat 4-cylinder engine that does 36 BHP at 3,700 RPM, a 4-speed manual transaxle, 4-wheel independent suspension with bars and hydraulic drum brakes.
This 1958 Volkswagen got the best available Volkswagen options and was given a nice Rotisserie restoration by an expert earning it a feature in VolksWorld Magazine. It was auctioned for $71,500 at the Gooding & Co Pebble Beach in 2016.
9 1963 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE – NASCAR HERBIE 1
The first of the three NASCAR hero cars from the 2005 Disney film, Herbie – this car was built at an estimated cost of $235,000. It has a 2332cc racing engine that was specially built by FAT performance, a manual transmission, double 48 IDF Weber carburetors, and high-performance suspension.
This hero Beetle wasn’t just about the screen life alone as it was raced at the 2004 Pop Secret 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in California alongside other Nextel Cup cars and drivers. It fetched a cool $72,000 for its owners at the 2016 Mecum Indianapolis auctions.
8 1956 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE CABRIOLET
This is a 1956 Volkswagen Beetle convertible by Karmann with Chassis number 1081572 and engine number 3204959. The car was given a full restoration to its classic condition and also got fitted with some rare Volkswagen accessories and factory options. The unique and rare convertible was acquired in 2009 by the consignor, who was the car’s third owner.
A classic beauty, this Beetle, due to its extensive upgrade, has earned some cool features on YouTube’s MotoManTV and won several awards. It was auctioned off for a cool $72,800 at RM-Sothebys' 2018 Amelia Island auction.
7 1963 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE – HERO HERBIE
One of the Herbies from the 2005 Disney movie Herbie: Fully Loaded – this is a Racer Herbie hero car that features decklids, a fiberglass hood, running board extensions, and fenders. Six of these Street Racer Herbies were built with five fitted with 2180cc engines while this particular one dubbed the “hero Herbie” has a 1835cc engine that comes fitted with a 4-speed manual and double carburetors.
This hero Herbie was estimated to be auctioned off for $30,000 to $40,000 and was featured at the Mecum auctions in Monterey in 2018 where it was eventually auctioned off for $77,000.
6 1955 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE CABRIOLET
In the 6th spot is a 1955 Volkswagen Cabriolet that has been fully restored to the last even inconspicuous details. Originally, this car was heavily optioned from the factory. It was also refurbished back to its sophisticated pale blue leather upholstery with the best of 1955 amenity.
Receiving only test mileage after restoration, this Beetle still has its real bulletproof engine coupled with other fittings like a Blaupunkt pushbutton LMUK radio, translucent plastic sun visors and a rare “Deluxe Panel” dashboard clock. It was auctioned for $82,500 at RM-Sotheby’s Amelia Island auction in 2014.
5 1963 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE – INVISIBLE DRIVER
“The Invisible Driver” stunt car used in the Disney movie, Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo, is a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle. It’s among the most popular movie-featured cars of all time alongside the likes of the Ford Mustang used in Bullitt and James Bond’s Aston Martin.
The car is specially built with a system of sprockets and pulleys connected through a long column that makes it possible to be driven from the back seat. Initially sold at a 2015 eBay auction for $55,250, it was later sold for $86,250 at the Bonhams New York auction in 2015.
4 1964 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE – JUNKYARD HERBIE
In fourth place is this junkyard hero car built for the 2005 movie “Herbie: Fully Loaded.” In the movie, the car was found in the junkyard by Maggie Peyton, a character played by famous Hollywood actress Lindsay Lohan. The car was built to be aesthetically rusty with different scratches on it to give it the junkyard effect.
Still rocking its canvas sliding ragtop, white interior, sapphire radio and steel wheel, among other features, the 1964 Volkswagen Beetle unrestored Junkyard Herbie was sold at the 2018 Mecum auction in Monterey for a final bid of $93,500.
3 1961 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE – NASCAR HERBIE 2
Initially reluctant to the idea thinking it’ll depict its cars as slow, the Volkwagen Company later consented to Disney’s The Love Bug project as this NASCAR variant of the Herbie. It was built from a 1961 Volkswagen for the 2005 movie Herbie: Fully Loaded and brought the Beetle so much fame and projected it positively.
Fitted in this car is a 2300cc engine that is fed by a two 48mm Weber carburetors, which are connected to a 4-speed racing transmission – with this engine upgrade, it does 140mph. It was sold for $107,250 at the August 2018 Mecum auctions in Monterey.
2 1960 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE
This 1960 Volkswagen Beetle came from the Jerry Seinfeld collection. Jerry Seinfeld, a well-known comedian, and actor is also a car enthusiast and collector. Jerry has over 150 cars of various makes and models in his famed collection, and among them is this 1960 Beetle.
With chassis number 2764371, this Beetle is unrestored, has below 15,000 Miles on its odometer, and retained its original owner for 30 years. The car was estimated to be sold from $35,000 to $55,000 but was eventually sold at lot 047 for $121,000 at the 2016 Amelia Island auction.
1 1963 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE – HERBIE
Old movie lovers will remember the 1977 movie Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, while younger ones probably read about it. The movie featured “Herbie” – a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle, which was driven by Dean Jones, who played the character of a race driver, Jim Douglas.
Herbie went on auction for the first time at the 2015 Barrett-Jackson’s Beach auction and was sold for $126,700. On the 14th of April – after three years after its initial sale – at the same Barrett-Jackson auction, the Herbie was sold for $128,700 to become the most valuable Volkswagen in the world.