Amelia Island

8 March 2014

Lot 134

1955 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet by Karmann

Sold for $82,500

  • Chassis no. 1 0906 325


36 bhp at 3,600 rpm, 72.74 cu. in. 1,192 cc air- and oil-cooled horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine with a single Solex carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent suspension with torsion leaves in the front, swing axle suspension with torsion bars in the rear, and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

  • An outstanding restored example
  • Matching-numbers original engine
  • Multiple factory-optioned accessories
  • Correct and beautiful original colors


The Beetle, conceived by Ferdinand Porsche in 1932, was developed as a mass-produced, low-priced vehicle that was available and affordable for all Germans, and the phenomenal success of the now-beloved “people’s car” stands among one of the most remarkable automobile stories of the 20th century. The charming Beetle was just hitting its stride in 1955 when, by year-end, the Wolfsburg Works had produced a total of 279,988 cars in one year alone. Annual production increased by 50,000 or so, until the million-car mark was achieved in 1965.

Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, following WWII, after the Fallersleben plant was partially destroyed, the Volkswagen project was offered to Henry Ford II, who felt the car wasn’t “worth a damn.” The American public’s strong anti-German sentiment aligned with Ford’s, and no one wanted the Volkswagen.

But one man did. Ben Pon, a Dutchman who brought the car to the United States, partnered with foreign car importer Max Hoffman, and helped fill America’s great demand for affordable transportation in the immediate post-war years. By 1952, at a time when Americans were demanding hefty V-8 engines in chrome-laden land yachts, Volkswagen produced and managed to sell over 100,000 of the funny-looking little air-cooled cars, in a choice of five models, which included the Standard, the Deluxe, the Deluxe with Sunshine Roof, the Type 2 Microbus, and the top-of-the-line Cabriolet.

This 1955 Volkswagen Cabriolet has been faithfully restored to the last esoteric detail, and it is, in the words of one Volkswagen expert collector who recently inspected the car, “[It’s] probably the finest example I’ve ever seen.” It was heavily optioned from the factory when new, and its sparkling silvery blue Mittelblau Metallic paintwork showcases the original and proper fender skirts, the gleaming whitewall tires with chrome hubcaps and trim rings, the chrome wing mirrors and rare, optional two-into-one chrome exhaust tip, the twin fog lamps, the illuminated semaphore turn indicators, the European “Heart” tail lamps, and the City Arms (Wolfsburg crest) badge.

The immaculate interior features seating that has been upholstered in pale blue leather, and it offers the driver and passenger every amenity available in 1955, including a mid-century porcelain blumenvasen (a panel-mounted bud vase), translucent plastic sun visors, twin door panel pockets, an original Blaupunkt “Frankfurt” pushbutton LMUK radio, and twin leather-upholstered bolster pillows to the rear. An extremely rare factory-option feature, the “Deluxe Panel” dashboard clock, is located in the center of the dash.

The car is flawless throughout. It is presented in as-new condition, its fresh and strong original engine is bulletproof, as all Volkswagen bug enthusiasts will recognize and expect, and it has received only test mileage since its thorough and extensive restoration. It is now being offered from an esteemed collection of rare vintage Volkswagens and Porsches, and it is most certainly the very best Beetle Cabriolet available.

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

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+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

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+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

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+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

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+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

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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

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+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

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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

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+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

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+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

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+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