Car Buying

$1 million buys this 1964 Volkswagen Beetle

It has only 23 miles on the clock

  • Image Credit: Spicer Collector Cars
What does it take for an old Beetle to be worth millions? Sometimes the currency helps, as the oldest VW Beetle in Sweden, a 1948 "Type 1" recently sold for 1,350,000 SEK. That's still only about $150,000, falling far from the million-dollar mark. But, there's a black Beetle for sale in Portland, Oregon, with the asking price of a cool $1 million.

The Oregon Beetle is far newer than the Swedish car, as it was built in 1964. The unique thing is that it has only 23 miles on the odometer and remains absolutely original in every respect. With a car like this, there has to be a backstory, and this one is worth hearing: A mechanic and car collector by the name of Rudy Zvarich simply bought the car to act as a spare car, if his 1957 daily driver Beetle would ever terminally conk out. Zvarich viewed the 1964 car as peak Beetle, as the significant revisions for the 1965 model year Beetle were total deal killers for him. Volkswagen enlarged the windows and introduced a curved windshield for 1965, which Zvarich absolutely did not want. So, he promptly went out and bought a 1964 model, which he proceeded to mothball for the future.

As it happened, there never was a need for the 1964 car. The Beetle sat in the corner of his storage building, with a sheet draped over it and the fluids drained, until 2016. In 2014, Rudy passed away at 87, with the super-original Beetle going to his nephew. When the car was extracted from its spot, great care was taken not to "ruin" its details: The wipers and hubcaps have never been fitted, the dealer sticker is still in place, and the car hasn't even been washed once. Sure, there probably are enough NOS and reproduction parts to replicate a Beetle in this condition, but everything here is factory original, something that can be imitated but never truly re-created. The million-dollar asking price is quite strong, especially considering the dealer sticker mentions the Beetle cost $1,756.90 in 1964 (a little over $14,000 in today's dollars) — but until another car that's as all-original and low-miles comes along, this particular VW is an absolute unicorn.

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