Incredible Find:

1953 Volkswagen-Based
Special Roadster!

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Back in the olde days, decades before the DOT and the EPA regulated e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, it wasn't uncommon to encounter a unique automobile that had been constructed from scratch.

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We are lucky to have owned quite a few of those, just check out our Hall of Fame section on our Web site. Most of these American specials were built during the Golden Fifties or Swinging Sixties.

The same is true with the Volkswagen-based roadster prominently featured here.

Using the chassis of a 1954 Volkswagen Beetle, a unique metal body was created from scratch. Craftmanship and execution tell us that it was built by folks who knew what they were doing. Thoughtfully, they even thought of horizontally mounting the spare wheel up front.

The car's history has yet to be fully documented. We recently unearthed it, hidden in a Central Coast barn, where it had been peacefully hibernating for many moons.

Word has it that the -- originally robin's egg blue -- roadster was adopted in the mid-1960s as parade car for Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo -- the "Home of the Cougars!" -- where it was used before sporting events to ferry the school mascot and local celebrities around on the school grounds, as well as during the local downtown July 4th parade. The amazing, custom-sculpted Cougar head mounted up front and a layer of Cuesta Gold paint poking through here and there verify this. Further research at the Cuesta College historical archives and via their year books or local newspaper back issues will undoubtedly bring to light additional period photos. It certainly will be an interesting task for the car's new caretaker.

Simple dash with '54 Volkswagen Beetle cyclops gauge and vintage AM radio.

Plain metal seats provide enough space for a long legged driver and passenger.

Stars and Stripes livery is nicely patinated. We wouldn't change a thing here.

Open rear with 1959 rocket taillight. All the lights work, and so does the "aooh-gaa" horn.

Motorvation comes from a healthy, 44hp Volkswagen Type 1 engine, circa 1967.

The motor starts easily at the first touch of the ignition key, falls into a mellow idle, is leak free, and shows no signs of any problems.

We've taken this car out on a test drive, and it performed flawlessly.

Due to its light weight, acceleration is surprisingly quick, and due to the low ground clearance, handling reminds us of bigger Go Kart.


On-board video

Redundant to state, this Roadster is an attention getter. We've been asked about it everytime we stopped, even at the traffic light. Parked in the street, people have been leaving notes on it, inquiring about its history.

This is a rare opportunity to acquire a 65 year-old special for very little money. It's a true cross collectible, appealing to VW aficionados, connoisseurs of unique American specials, clown/shriner car and memorabilia collectors, and perhaps even alumni of Cuesta College. It's hard to imagine having more fun for the buck, really.

Fun times!

We sold this unique Special in summer of 2019 to a collector in California.

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