Is this the most original Beetle ever?

We all dream of swinging open a barn door to reveal a previously untouched historic VW. Well, judging by the pictures and its description, this 1957 Beetle is the stuff of every Volkswagen lover’s fantasy…

Some Beetles get mullered, some are modified and others are beautifully restored but somehow lack soul. Well, this car, which is being auctioned by out in the States, is none of the above because it’s been in its own time capsule for the last 58 years. Accompanied by a host of gloriously retro dealer supplied goodies, including, unbelievably, the original key fob, it’s surely one of the most original, unmolested Beetles you can buy…


It was purchased on 22 April 1957 from Davella Motors in Connecticut, which, having opened in 1951, was one of the oldest Volkswagen dealerships in the US. Incredibly, that original owner hung on to it until August 1974, when they returned to the same garage to trade it in for a newer model. Obviously too old to ‘re-sell’ the car was put in the dealer’s showroom. When the dealership sadly closed in the mid-1990s, the Beetle was sold to the general manager, Anthony Davella, the nephew of the founder, who subsequently sold it again in 2007 to its current keeper.

rear shot

It was built in February 1957 and still has its original L41 code black paint, red leatherette interior, honey brown carpet and light beige headlining. The latter has a glowing period patina but incredibly isn’t showing even the slightest signs of sagging. Underneath it still has the dealer applied underseal, which has kept everything free of corrosion. That said, if it were me, I’d be tempted to carefully remove it – just because I like the look of smooth, rust-free paint.

seats etc 2upkeyring 2up

Mileage-wise, just a paltry 60,000 are registered on the clock which roughly equates to 1000 miles per year. It’s the original 36bhp engine and judging by the photos, all the ancillaries are authentic and period correct.


We’re stunned by the originality. Just by looking at the condition of the seat beading, the door shuts and the fact that the original toolkit and owner’s manual are present convinces us that you’re truly unlikely to find another Bug from the ‘50s era that’s this pristine and unfettled.

dash badge 2upcarpets 2up

Then there’s all the wonderfully period paraphernalia that comes with it, like the dealer supplied flower vase, the floor mats, the bear claw hubcap removers that store in the jacking points and the enamel VW Club of America badge on the dash.


The Dunlop tyres, possibly the car’s second set, were replaced with Firestones relatively recently – but the old rubber has been kept for prosperity. We can’t confirm if the air in them is original or not, but we wouldn’t be surprised! And in case you were wondering about the seat belts, well those were retro fitted by Davella Motors way back in 1966. So even they have a certain retro charm about them…

The vendor admits that the car isn’t absolutely perfect – pictures show minor corrosion to the underside of the front chrome overrider and a few easily missable body imperfection, but the fact that someone hasn’t simply resprayed or replaced is all part of the car’s appeal.


The rare Oval is being auctioned with no reserve, which is a risky move possibly but given its rarity, it has the potential to break all records. Who knows. If you’re interested, you’ll need to keep an eye on to find out the start and close dates for the sale…

What I wouldn’t give to own this, well, I can’t tell you – because I can’t think of anything. Suffice to say, it reminds me of why I first got into old VWs – I just hope the lucky bidder who ends up with it in their garage loves it as much as I would.


The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage.




2 responses to: Is this the most original Beetle ever?

  1. My wife and I purchased this car in about December 2015, when it auctioned on eBay. We showed it for the first time at the September 2017 Canal Winchester Hidden Lake Winery VW show, and the spectators seemed to love it. The car went home with the Best of Show trophy in the back seat.

    We appreciate having the the accessories/memorabilia including the key fob shown in the last photo, as it is so rare to have these types of original items. it also came with cardboard floor mats having “Davella Volkswagen” printed on them. The mats are laying on top of the original rubber mats. You can see part of one in the photo showing the dashboard and VW Club of America badge (with ‘charter member’ on it) . What’s unusual about the floor mats is that they are heavy cardboard, not paper.


    1. Thanks for replying Jim, the car is truly sensational – and even the rare memorabilia that came with it is in fabulous condition! I’ve just spotted the Davella cardboard mats – how they’ve survived is a miracle! It looks like the car’s barely been used…
      Thanks again, Ian

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