Arizona

18 January 2013

Lot 183

1953 Volkswagen 'Zwitter' Beetle

To be auctioned on Friday, January 18, 2013

Sold for $66,000

  • Chassis no. 10454494


30 hp, 1,131 cc air-cooled four-cylinder boxer engine, Solex carburetor, four-speed manual gearbox, four-wheel independent suspension by torsion bars, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

• Rare “Oval Dash Split-Window,” Zwitter, or “interim” model

• Refinished in factory-original Metallic Blue with grey/beige interior

• Original tri-fold canvas sunroof, with split oval rear window and oval dash



Pre-1968 Volkswagens are commanding the strongest collector interest due to their purity of design. They were built of quality materials and retained the charm of the first cars: metal dashes, chrome bumpers, simple controls, low seat backs, and six-volt electrical systems. In 1968, the VW Beetle was re-designed to adapt to new safety standards, including high seat backs, padded dashes, and rubber bumpers. To the purist, the Beetle lost much of its charm.



The Volkswagen Beetle Type 1 offered three basic models, the sedan, the sunroof sedan, and the cabriolet. Even with a high-production car, a rare variant will often attract astute collectors; this is one of those cars. Part of a five-month change-over of Beetles built from October 1, 1952 through March 10, 1953, the ‘Zwitter’ (short for the German Zwitter Kafer, or hybrid beetle) was built with the old split-window body, the new dash from the new Oval-Rear-Window cars, and featured many Zwitter-only parts, such as a unique dome light and other interior finishes.



Split-window Beetles were produced from 1948 to the end of 1952, and they are considered to possess the purist essence of the original design. During the summer of 1952, Wolfsburg changed production lines from the split-window to the oval-window. The Zwitter was assembled with the split window, but chrome trim was used instead of aluminum. They also received vent windows in the doors and a dash presaging that of the oval window cars. Less obvious differences were interior lamps, a starter button, chrome trim, bumpers, headlamps, tail lamps, and the air cleaner.



This very rare Beetle is presented in its original factory L35 Metallic Blue, with a faithfully restored cloth interior and a factory tri-fold canvas sunroof. It was discovered in Eastern Europe some years ago and was brought back to the United States for a comprehensive restoration. The rebuilt engine is original to the car and is mechanically sorted and cosmetically beautiful. All systems are in perfect working order, including the unique rearview mirror-mounted wind-up clock, and this rare Zwitter is ready for concours competition and Volkswagen club events. Smiles are guaranteed when the new owner slides behind the wheel!

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

aclassick@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

aabaci@rmauctions.com

+49 (0) 40 441 95 737
Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

dwarrener@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmauctions.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmauctions.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, USA

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

jboxstrom@rmauctions.com

+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

mgirardo@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

rmyers@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

vmandzak@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more