1951 Volkswagen Beetle 1100 Limousine Standard

The Volkswagen Beetle 1100 'Split-Window'

The history of the Volkswagen brand began with the 'Käfer' (German word for Beetle). Development work on this Nazi prestige project started in 1934. On May 28, 1937, the “Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH“ (Company for the Preparation of the German Volkswagen Ltd.) was formally established. The name was changed to 'Volkswagenwerk GmbH' in 1938, and the company built its main plant in what has become Wolfsburg. However, the outbreak of war and integration in the arms industry prevented mass production of the Volkswagen ('people’s car') – instead, military vehicles and other armaments were produced using forced labor.

On 27th December 1945 production of the Type 1 commences. Volkswagen starts assembly of 55 cars until the end of the year with 6.000 employees. The Volkswagen Type 1 is initially only available for authorities and the British militray. Private byuers will only be able to get their hands on new cars in any significant numbers after the curency reform of June 1948.

However, already in 1947 the decision is made to export the Beetle. This leads to a split of production into 'Standard' and 'Export' models, that would last for three decades. The 'Export' models (Type 11A) could be recognised by additional chrome parts (for instance bumpers and wheel adornments) and a more comprehensive standard equipment, including adjustable seats. Since it was deemed too expensive to develop and produce a curved rear window, the engineers decided to use a split window. This will later make these early cars known as 'Brezel-Käfer' (Pretzel Beetle in German). Characteristic of the early years is the matte paint. The paint quality did not allow for a gloss finish. The Beetle is powered by a 25 hp 1131 cm³ air-cooled 4-cylinder boxer engine and is rear-wheel drive, which gives the car excellent traction.

This Volkswagen Beetle 'Limousine Standard'

The car on offer is an early home-market model, that was built on 8 November 1951 in Wolfsburg and dispatched from the factoty two days later. It was delivered new by 'VW-Autohaus Raffay' in Hamburg - a dealer that had been operational since 1904 - to its first customer. As is the case with many of the early 'Split-Window' cars, the exterior and interior colours are not registered on the factory build sheet. What is stated is that there are 'no additional extras'.

This example is driving in its purest form and shows how important it was to build cars to a budget to satisfy the enormous demand for affordable mobility in the wake of World War II. Inside the car, there is plenty of naked metal. The front seats are not adjustable and covered in vinyl. A speedometer is the only instrument. There are switches for lights and indicators and the Beetle-typical heater adjustment and that's it.

As mentioned above, there is no chrome on the car. Bumpers and hubcaps are painted body colour, there is no side adornment or chrome strip around the windscreen. Not even a Volkswagen badge. The previous owner undertook a refurbishment to a good standard. A few personal touches were added, such as the wheels painted to match the interior and a discrete side stripe in the same colour. It would be very easy to put the car back to factory specification, in case a new owner prefers absolute originality.

Mechanically, the car has a period correct engine and is in excellent condition. It runs and drives beautifully and needs nothing but regular exercising and service. Being part of a larger collection of early Volkswagen, it has always been maintained and stored properly and benefits from a fresh complete service. A lovely piece of early Volkswagen history, that offers a fascinating insight into what motoring was like after World War II.

  • Rare early German-market Split-Window Beetle with good history
  • Refurbishment to a high standard with many original parts
  • Driving in its purest form, excellent condition, recently fully serviced

Price on application