Hot of the heels of Volkswagen’s announcement that it will kill off the Beetle name from next year, the oldest Beetle in Sweden has reached over £116,000 at auction. Bids had been closed as we went to press, meaning the sale should set a new world record if and when it’s confirmed.
The 1948 Volkswagen Beetle example is one of just 55 that were exported to the country that year. It’s undergone a full bare-metal restoration using new old stock or good used parts, and is now said to be one of just 30 cars of its type remaining in the world. Estimated to reach SEK1,200,000- 1,400,000, it attracted a top bid of SEK1,350,000 (around £116,500). That surpasses the $128,700 (around £98,000) that the 1963 Beetle used as Herbie in 1977’s Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo and 1980’s Herbie Goes Bananas sold for at Barrett- Jackson’s Palm Beach auction in April.
The sale was hosted by Bilweb Auctions in the Swedish village of Palsboda, and saw a 66-strong collection of classic VWs go under the hammer – most of which were first generation Beetles. All the vehicles belonged to Bengt Holmgren, a local collector and former owner of a continental bus company. The collection formed a museum until it was recently closed down, with highlights including a consecutive run of Beetles from every year of production between 1948 and 1975, plus several later examples and related models such as a 1962 Karmann-Ghia, a 1970 Porsche 911 and a 1975 Mk1 Golf.
At the other end of the scale was a 2003 Ultima Edición 1600cc – one of the last to roll off VW’s Mexico production line when original Type 1 production ended. It was owned by King Gustaf of Sweden, but ended up in Holmgren’s hands and has covered less than 16 miles. Expected to sell for SEK600,000- 700,000, it smashed its estimate to reach an impressive SEK1,100,000 – around £95,000.