Sold for $27,500 at 2006 Gooding & Company. Heinz Nordhoff, the head of Volkswagen at the time, had always intended a cabriolet version of the Beetle to be produced. He did not feel that the best place to create the cabrio was at the factory but rather to outsource the work to talented coachbuilders. He turned to Wilhelm Karmann and his company's Osnabruck factory. They had been building custom bodies since the mid-18th century with their first creations being applied to carriages and wagons. In 1901 they created their first body for a car.
Karmann was given factory approval to produce the Cabriolet version of the Beetle, known as the Type 15. The first example was created in June of 1949 and was one of a thousand that was created for Volkswagen to satisfy their initial order. Within a short period of time, even more were ordered.
This 1950 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet was offered for sale at the 2006 Gooding & Company Auction held in Pebble Beach, Ca. It was offered without reserve and estimated to sell between $40,000-$50,000. It is equipped with a 1311-cc flat-four cylinder engine that can produce 25 horsepower. It has a four-speed manual gearbox with a dry-plate clutch and four-wheel drum brakes. It was constructed during the first year of official production and believed to have been built in July of 1950.
In 1994 the car was treated to restoration that brought it back to original condition. It has color combination L19 which is Atlantic Green main body paint with L11 Pastel Green side color. The Green canvas top is color code V3.
At auction the car was sold for $27,500. By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2007
Joseph Hebmuller started building horse-drawn coaches in 1889. In 1919 his four sons succeeded the father and began doing custom coachwork for cars. After World War II, the company created new bodies for Volkswagen Beetles. Some 700 were produced before a fire destroyed the company's facilities. Hebmuller would not return to business until 1952 and on a smaller scale. Meanwhile, production of re-bodied Volkswagens shifted to Karmann, which already was building convertibles for VW and for 1956 added the Karmann-Ghia.
This 1950 Hebmuller 14A Cabriolet was restored in the mid-1990s to the car's original specifications.
Sold for $44,000 at 2017 Gooding & Company. This 1950 Volkswagen Beetle is a Deluxe model featuring the distinctive split-oval rear window, W-style deck lid, and 'pope's nose' license plate light. It was given a nut-and-bolt rotisserie restoration in 2007. The current caretaker acquired this car around 2015 and put it on display in his private Volkswagen museum in Maryland. It is believed that the previous owner had the car since 1994 and prior to his ownership, it had been kept idle in Pennsylvania for 22 years.
The car is finished in its original color of L51 Bordeaux Red. It has the correct wool mohair fabric for the headliner and square weave carpets. The engine is a 1131cc overhead valve air-cooled flat-4 fitted with a single Downdraft carburetor. There is a 4-speed manual transmission and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2017
The Beetle is perhaps the best-selling car of all-time. Truly, a recognizable shape that has stood the test of time. The vehicle is still being produced in Mexico, continuing the long-time running record.
Adolf Hitler was searching for a people's car that was capable of transporting three children and two adults at speeds of sixty miles-per-hour. The car was to be inexpensive, costing the same as a motorcycle. Ferdinand Porsche was commissioned to produce such a vehicle.
There are many theories as to where the designs originated from. Some believe Hitler designed the vehicle. Some theorize that it was Joseph Ganz's 1920 design that was the true inspiration for the Beetle design. Porsche had created designs for the Mercedes-Benz 170H, which played into the design of the Beetle.
Inspiration for the Beetle had been drawn from the Tatra vehicles, mainly the T97, that had been designed by Hans Ledwinka. Due to the similarities, Tatra launched a lawsuit which never really materialized due to Germany invading Czechoslovakia. The lawsuit was later re-opened after World War II and Volkswagen was forced to pay Tatra 3,000,000 Deutsche Marks. This left Volkswagen with little money for development of new Beetle models.
The Volkswagen Beetle first came on the scene in 1947, but they were known by a different name. KdF, short for Kraft durch Freude meaning 'power by joy', was designated to these small, gas-friendly vehicles. In English, the name Beetle was used. In German, they were known as Kafer, and in French they were called Coccinelle.
These little bundles of joy featured mechanical drum brakes and a gearbox void of synchromesh.
In 1949 the Volkswagen logo was placed on the rims. The engine was expanded to 1131 cc and was capable of producing 25 horsepower. The models that were produced after October of 1949 could be started without a 'starting crank'.
Two convertible options were offered by Volkswagen in 1949. The two-seater design, designated 14A, was penned by Josef Hebmuller. The four-seater Type 15 version was designed and produced by Karmann of Osnabruck. The four-seater was vastly more popular and stayed in production for 30 years.
The 14A was stylish and attractive, with the major shortcoming being a fire that destroyed the factory where they were being produced. The two-seaters featured a rear deck nearly identical to the front hood. The strength of the car, lost by removing the roof, was amplified by a stronger windshield frame and dual Z-section girders located under the floor. In 1953, the last of the Hebmuller rolled off the assembly line, after only 696 examples were produced.
In a time when practicality ruled over style, the four-seater cabriolet was king. The Karmann company had a long history of designing and building cars. In business since 1901, was familiar with assembly line production, benefits and features of different types of metals, and the styles of multiple markets.
The mechanical, cable-driven brakes were replaced with hydraulic brakes in 1950.
During the 1950's the Beetle saw exterior and interior improvements. 1951 saw the addition of arm-rests which were discontinued just a few months later. In 1952, 2nd-4th gears became synchronized. The dashboard was redesigned with a glove compartment. The rear of the Beetle was updated in 1953, receiving a new single oval pane window in place of its original split rear window design. In 1955, the bumper was improved and electrical direction-indicators were installed. A second tail-pipe was added. The front seats became wider and could be moved to three different seat-back adjustable positions.
In 1956, the tires became tubeless. Near the end of '56, side view mirrors became standard on all Beetle models.
In 1957 the front window was increased by 17 percent while the rear window received a 95 percent increase. A new dashboard, rear view mirror, radio, and a speaker appeared. The turn signals would now turn-off automatically.
Up to this point, a roller pedal had been used to initiate acceleration. This was the year that the gas pedal replaced the roller pedal.
In 1958, ivory disc wheels were offered.
In 1960, an engine capable of producing 34 horsepower was offered. The speedometer was increased from 74 mph to 87 mph. A windshield-wiper washer system became available. The front directional light was changed from white to amber.
A gas gauge was added in July of 1961.
In 1963, the seats were changed from wool upholstery to synthetic. The VW emblem located on the hubcap was no longer painted. The safety of the vehicle was once-again enhanced with the enlargement directional lights.
There were minor changes in 1964. The windows did, however, become larger.
In 1965, the front axle was improved. The ongoing saga of incremental improvements received another chapter - A defroster vent was added to the center of the dashboard.
The Beetle continued to be sold in the United States until 1978 with the convertible version was sold until early 1980. Sales continued in Europe until 1985. Developing countries, such as Mexico, have been developing the Beetle since 1964 and the vehicles have remained in production since that time. By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2013