You Won’t Believe How Much this 1943 Beetle Costs
Generally speaking, the older something is, the more collectible it becomes. Over time artifacts are simply lost, broken, or forgotten about, creating tremendous value in “surviving” examples that have weathered the test of time, whether it be Ming dynasty pottery or, well… something like this. A 1943 Beetle. And herein lies the unique history; technically this isn’t a Beetle. Designed by Erwin Komenda in the 1930s under the supervision of Ferdinand Porsche, this is what’s known as a KdF-Wagen, precursor to the Volkswagen Beetle and translated into English as the “Strength Through Joy car”. While production of what we now know to be the Beetle began in earnest in 1937, it wasn’t until after World War II in 1945 that large scale production began (the factory also produced Kubelwagens and Schwimmwagens for the German military). That makes this KdF-Wagen one of only a few hundred to have been built during the war years, and as a result—extraordinarily rare and highly valuable. Just how valuable though? This one is actually up for sale; it’ll only cost you about $295,000. Seriously. RELATED: This '74 VW Beetle Has Driven Just 57 Miles... Ever
Roll back the clock for a moment. Regardless of whatever you call it—Bug, Beetle, KdF-Wagen, Type 1, or Type 60—the original Volkswagen was designed to be a “people’s car”, as its name suggests, capable of cheaply and reliably transporting the average German family. However, it wouldn’t exactly be a car of the people for quite a few years. During the war years only German military elites and government officials were privy to own a KdF-Wagen, just as this car demonstrates.
According to The Finest Automobile Auctions, this particular KdF-Wagen was produced and delivered in June 1943 to a director of the German Red Cross in Berlin. It somehow survived to see the end of the war, unlike many other original KdF-Wagens, and in 2000 the rare vehicle resurfaced in a local classified ad in Poland.
It was then spotted by a doctor and well-versed VW Beetle enthusiast who purchased the car and had it meticulously restored to like-new condition, using many genuine KdF-Wagen parts. The rare car then made its way over to the USA, and now is said to reside in North Carolina, believed to be one of just a few dozen surviving KdF Beetles left in the world.
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From an evolutionary standpoint, the KdF-Wagen foreshadows its Beetle successor quite accurately. It really is amazing how minimally the design changed over the years.
According to the auction house, the 1943 KdF-Wagen went up for bidding in Hershey, Pennsylvania earlier this month, but bidding appears not to have met the car’s reserve—estimated to sell between $275,000 and $350,000.
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