Modern + Contemporary Design /25 March 2007

397

Volkswagen

Black Plate Beetle
1955
161 w × 68 d × 55 h in (409 × 173 × 140 cm)

VIN 10994590 While some Volkswagen Beetles arrived in America with returning servicemen as early as 1947, the first official export started in 1949 as Volkswagen introduced the Deluxe "Export Version" Beetle. The Deluxe featured extravagances such as chrome bumpers, headlight rings, door handles and hubcaps, and an instrument panel with a single gauge. In subsequent years, the Beetle saw a flurry of improvements, including hydraulic brakes, a cloth sunroof option, front and rear ashtrays, front vent windows and a synchromesh transmission. The most significant styling change came in 1953 as the two-piece rear window was replaced by a single oval, which improved visibility. The Beetle's engine grew to 1.2 liters (1192 cc) and 36 horsepower in 1954, and it was now possible to start the engine by simply twisting the ignition key, as the starter button was done away with.
In 1955, Volkswagen of America was officially incorporated in the United States. Slight adjustments to the design occurred: fender-mounted turn signals were added and the gas tank was reshaped to increase luggage space in the front trunk and metal door stays replaced cloth ones.
This pristine California "Black Plate" car is a recently restored, mechanically and cosmetically correct example finished in original Light Beige with a Red Leatherette interior piped in beige. The car features numerous options, including an original rattan storage shelf, porcelain bud vase, dash-mounted clock, spare portable fuel can under the hood and the original service manual. Also included are several sets of spare keys, reference material, black/red Coco mats, a car cover and trickle charger. After market equipment includes a battery cut-off switch under the rear seat. Sold with original service booklet and guide, an extra set of keys and three books on Volkswagen Beetle history: The 1949-1959 VW Beetle by Bob Wilson, The VW Beetle: A Production History of the World's Most Famous Car, 1936-1967 by Ryan Lee Price and The Beetle Book: America's 30-year Love Affair with the "Bug" by Louis William Steinwedel.

estimate: $20,000–25,000

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