Back to listings

1956 VOLKSWAGEN Beetle 1200

View vehicle description

1956 VOLKSWAGEN Beetle 1200


There is no doubt that the Volkswagen Beetle is one of the most recognisable cars of all time. It’s hard to believe that it was designed in the 1930s, its distinctive shape changing little during its long time in production.

Commissioned by Adolf Hitler as a people’s car (or volkswagen in German), it was designed by none other than Ferdinand Porsche.

The aim was to produce a car that was practical, affordable, and above all reliable. In that they undoubtedly succeeded.

Production was halted due to World War 2 and once this ended, the factory was put under British control. By the end of 1946, just 10,000 cars had been produced, but a decade later, over one million had been sold – an undoubted success, the car providing affordable post war transport.

The Beetle gained popularity in many far-flung places such as South Africa, Australia, Columbia, Mexico and Brazil.

America too warmed to the Beetle, where you could find it populating beach car parks or suburban driveways.

Even after European production ceased, the car soldiered on in South America but by 2002, after a scarcely believable 21 million Beetles had been produced, annual sales were plummeting.

The death knell was sounded in 2003 and the last Beetle rolled off the production line in Puebla, Mexico on 30th July, 65 years after its original launch.

The Vehicle

We are pleased to be selling this delightful 1956 Beetle, resplendent in beige and with a left-hand drive configuration.

This matching numbers car was delivered to its first owner in Columbia where it lived its life up until May of this year.

Our seller, a frequent visitor to the South American country, imported the car and having done a few small jobs to it, and most importantly having got it properly UK registered and road legal, is now ready to sell it on.

He purchased the car from a Volkswagen parts shop owner who had restored the car during his long period of ownership. When not used, it was stored in a dry and dark basement garage away from the sun’s damaging rays.

We are told the car was regularly subject to the Columbian equivalent of the MoT, but of course we have no idea how in depth this may be.

We can report that the car drives well, though of course don’t expect to get anywhere in a hurry with just 30hp emanating from the 1200cc engine. It’s not always about speed, sometimes you need to kick back and relax, and this may well be the car to do just that in.

The car indicators, radio and windscreen wipers don't seem to work, but the headlights do.

On the Outside

Prairie Beige says the data sheet, a copy of which confirms the car’s original specification. Painted by the last Columbian owner, the colour really suits the car, helping to show off that distinctive Beetle shape.

The paint still has a lovely lustre to it, the car having clearly been much loved in the past few years. On closer inspection there are some imperfections which a new owner may wish to address. Nothing too major. There are the usual stone chips here and there and the driver’s door does have some imperfections around the handle.

We also note an area of poor paintwork to the bottom of the driver’s door near the hinge.

There’s lots of chrome on this lovely old Beetle and we suspect some of it has been replaced during the restoration.

The hubcaps are wonderfully shiny, and we just love the whitewall tyres. However, they are older cross plies, and we would suggest they be replaced.

The glass, original we guess, is scratched in places, not surprising perhaps after 65 years.

On the Inside

The Beetle left the factory with red leatherette seating and this was doubtless replaced during the restoration. The retrimmed beige seats are in super condition, with door cards and even the steering wheel to match. We like it a lot. We do note a small area of damage to the passenger door card.

Beetle interiors are simplicity themselves, with barely any controls and just the speedometer to distract you from the job of driving. There’s not even a fuel gauge which may make life interesting.

It is often the little details that delight, such as the period cream Blaupunkt radio and mesh parcel shelf under the dashboard.

Carpets are in good order and a peep underneath reveals solid floors.

Driving a Beetle is always an experience, the floor hinged pedals taking a little getting used to and early cars like ours have a rather small accelerator pedal.

The boot boasts a matching spare wheel and tyre and with it a simple tool kit too. The fuel tank looks reassuringly new, which we like as it sits proudly behind the front mounted spare.


We always include plenty of pictures of a car’s underside, so pause a while and look in our gallery. The dry South American climate has clearly helped keep the Beetle in good order. We might be tempted to top up the underseal in places, especially if the car is to be used all year round.

We can also see evidence of newly fitted parts, no doubt installed by our parts shop owning Columbian.

The engine compartment looks to be in fine order and with, you guessed it, plenty of new looking parts.

We cannot tell you much about the engine other than it is original to the car and it seems to run well.

History Highlights

We have probably already told you all we know about the Beetle’s history already. To reiterate…

Long-term Columbian owner carried out the restoration and our seller imported the car earlier this year.

There is a little paperwork, in Spanish of course, not a language we are fluent in, sadly!

What We Think

You cannot help but fall for the charms of an early Beetle. Whether it is the iconic looks, or the distinctive sound from that simple engine, you can guarantee a crowd will gather whenever you park.

Most older drivers have a Beetle story, whether it’s from ownership experience or simply passenger rides. Any time spent beetling leaves an indelible impression.

A life in the dry has clearly helped keep this car in good order and it is easy to see that money, time and effort has been lavished on her in recent years.

So, if we have whetted your appetite, all that remains is to put in a generous bid.

We estimate the car will sell for between £12,500 and £16,000.

Viewing is always encouraged, within government guidelines of course. The car is located at our Abingdon headquarters; we are open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing to make an appointment. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’

If needed, please remember we have a network of suppliers we work with regularly including: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance, Classic Concierge for storing your car plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

Video Review

Want to know how The Market auctions work? Take a look at our FAQ's

View FAQ's


  • Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
  • Odometer Reading: 31300
  • Chassis Number: 1315968
  • Engine: 1192
  • Gearbox: MANUAL
  • Steering position: LHD
  • Colour: BEIGE
  • Interior: LIGHT BROWN
  • Estimated Price: £12,500 - £16,000

Live auctions View more