1947 Split Beetle!

1947 Split Beetle, Super Solid, Matching Numbers, Time Capsule, Incredible History!

This 1947 Beetle has a incredible history that very clearly explains the remarkable condition it is in today, at 69 years young!  The car was purchased new by Colonel Reginald Gribble, a member of the British occupation forces in Germany after the end of World War II.  He and his wife then emigrated to New Zealand, taking the car with them, and settled in the town of Nelson.  They became close friends with the family that owned Taranaki Motors Limited, a new car dealership based in New Plymouth, who specialized in Volkswagens.  In the 1960's, the Gribbles decided to trade in their 1947 in favor of a new VW, and based upon their close friendship with the owners of Taranaki Motors, decided to order their new car through them, and Taranaki took the trade in of the 1947.  In the 1960's, a 1947 Beetle had very little value and was too old to be sold by the dealership, so it was kept as a conversation piece and curiosity.  Early in the car's life, it was bumped in the passenger's front quarter, so it spent some time in the paint and body shop at Taranaki Motors, being worked on and eventually repainted during slow periods at the dealership.  Shortly after completion it went into storage and nearly a half century later, in 2013, we assisted the family in selling the car to a big collector here in the USA who has had it on display in his new Volkswagen dealership ever since.  Over the last 50 years the car has been owned by Volkswagen dealerships, with the car being in storage and on display at those dealerships, and not having been driven 100 miles in that time!  It has been in indoor storage, out of the elements, is as dry as they come, and is an incredible time capsule!

Additionally the car was featured in a book about Vintage Volkswagens in New Zealand and was a well-regarded and desired car amongst the collectors over there who knew of its existence.

The list of special features and details to note on this 1947 is very long and include the early W decklid with the stamped license plate area, the early L handle hood, the early rear apron with the crank start hole, the matching numbers 25hp engine as confirmed by the Birth Certificate letter from Volkswagen, the original full crash box transaxle, the banana bumpers, original early nipple hubcaps, the VW logo stamped dash, the metal glove boxes, the early style 3 spoke steering wheel, the early small roller accelerator pedal, the early and original floor pan with the round peg jackpoints, the correct early ribbed semaphores (freshly restored, included, but not yet installed), the original early square gas tank, the correct 16 inch wheels, the early standard style banana backed front seats, the list goes on!  1940's Splits are usually not this nice, this solid, nor this correct!

The body is in good shape, far above average, and was repainted around the early 1960's when Taranaki Motors massaged it back into shape.  The paint quality is not great was what you'd expect from the lowest point of its value cycle, but still presents well for being a 50-ish year old job on a nearly 70 year old Beetle.  The original banana bumpers and nipple hubcaps were chromed long ago as well as a set of Split Deluxe grooved trim were added way back when.  What's cool is that the car was just like it is when it was featured in the New Zealand Vintage Volkswagen book!  The body and pan are crazy solid, as dry as can be, and you'd be very hard pressed to find another Beetle this early that is as dry and has as much original metal as this one.  A peek at the floor pan from the top and the bottom will impress you for sure.  There is a bit of welding at the front of the pan that is believed to be from the repairs done at the time of the repaint long ago.  It's structurally strong but could be cleaned up cosmetically.  

The interior is very impressive, faithful to the original design, and has a lot of originality to it still.  The wool headliner is original, the seat upholstery is believed to be original as it fits far too well for what anyone would have bothered replicating in the 1960's, and the door panels may also be original, although we cannot say for sure.  The carpet was definitely replaced long ago and is showing age.  Considering the story of the cars life, just 3 owners, and being off the road in indoor storage and display for the last 50 years, it's quite possible that the interior is mostly original, but we will let you decide.  

Mechanically the car features the original matching numbers 25hp engine, the full crash box transaxle, 16 inch wheels, and is still 6 volts, too.  The owner drove it a while back when he took it to a Volkswagen meet and remarked of how "tight" and positive the car felt, supporting the time capsule aspect of it.  If you were wanting to safely drive it at high speed for any distance, you'd want to replace the tires, as they are old and showing their years.  It's really pretty incredible that the original running gear is still present and operable after so many years as most 1940's Beetles did not fare so well over the years.  

Overall this is an impressive example, with a known history, and in an incredibly dry condition that would be nearly impossible to match!  Thanks!


Please note that this awesome 1947 is located in Connecticut.

Please visit my website at to see the full album of pics of this mega early Beetle, more interesting Vintage VW's, Classic Cars, and Parts for sale.

Brendan Finn (858)366-2549

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