Lot 401

1956 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible by Karmann


$71,500 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Chassis No.
Canadian Registration
  • Only two owners since new; odometer displays 23,666 miles at time of cataloguing, believed to be original
  • Wears a comprehensive, concours-quality restoration
  • Finished in rare one-year-only, convertible-only color of Sepia Silver
  • Equipped with a Motorola “Volumatic” radio
  • Documented with certificate from Volkswagen

One of the 20th century's most iconic automobiles, the Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle would become the best-selling imported car in the United States and en route to achieving its status as a beloved cult classic. The brainchild of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, the Beetle inspired great loyalty and enthusiasm based on its practicality, reliability, and affordability. The platform backbone frame was simple to build, and its rear-mounted engine left the entire volume between the wheels free of obstructions and mated directly to the transaxle, eliminating the driveshaft. The air-cooled engine further eliminated the whole water-cooling system of pumps, pipes, hoses and radiators, as well as reducing the risk of freezing in cold northern winters.

Unlike their steel-roofed counterparts, Beetle Convertibles were built in a separate plant by Karmann. Volkswagen convertibles manufactured prior to 1958 are among the most desirable, and are renowned for build quality and such luxury features as a three-layer sound-deadening top. The 1954 update to a 1,200-cubic-centimeter, 36-horsepower powerplant resulted in a roadworthy car comfortable at US-legal speeds.

This charming Convertible is a prime example of the legendary “People's Car.” According to factory records, it was built on 11 October 1955. Originally delivered to Handy Motors in New Brunswick, New Jersey, it was registered for the first time on 28 November 1955 to its first owner. They would drive it sparingly and retain it for decades, until it was acquired by its present owner, who commissioned a sympathetic concours-quality, rotisserie restoration.

Photos of the car taken just before the restoration illustrate how clean and undisturbed this low-mileage car was prior to its refurbishment. It now registers a mere 23,666 miles on the odometer.

The comprehensively restored beetle features the very rare, one-year-only, convertible-only Sepia Silver (code L 374) paintwork and whitewall tires contrasted by a Texas Brown convertible top. The paint is accented with fresh brightwork, and the convertible top fits snugly over the cockpit. The cream interior maintains added luxuries offered on the Convertible over the Sedan model, including map pockets and height-adjustable rearview mirror. Additionally, this car is fitted with a Motorlola “Volumatic” AM radio, which was left cosmetically unrestored, along with the gauges, mirror, and visors.

All add to the character and Old-World charm of this very special, low-mileage 1956 Volkswagen Convertible.