Yes, $1 million for a Beetle is nonsense

A million-dollar Beetle. Kick that around in your head for a bit. That’s right, someone in Portland, Oregon, is asking $1,000,000 for a 1964 Volkswagen Beetle on Hemmings. Even if it’s the world’s cleanest, lowest-mileage example, that asking price is pure fantasy.  

More than 21 million Type 1 models were built from 1938–2003, and the highest price ever paid for one at auction was $128,700 (at Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach 2018) for the 1963 Beetle that starred in several Herbie movies. And Jerry Seinfeld’s 1960 Beetle sold for at $121,000 at Gooding & Company’s 2016 Amelia Island sale.

Celebrity provenance aside, the average value of a 1964 VW Beetle in #1 (Concours) condition is $30,300. In other words…

1964 Volkswagen Beetle 23 miles Wheels
Mike Spicer
1964 Volkswagen Beetle 23 miles engine
Mike Spicer

1964 Volkswagen Beetle 23 miles Side on lift
Mike Spicer

“Unless I’m missing something, this is a like-new, unrestored Beetle, the likes of which could feasibly sell for a #1 condition price, but it wouldn’t be worth anything close to $1 million,” says Hagerty Valuation Editor Andrew Newton. “Beyond the low miles, I don’t really see any reason why it would be 33 times more valuable than the top range of Beetle values. I’d be surprised if it sold for even six figures.”

According to multiple media sources, the black Beetle was purchased new from Riviera Motors in Beaverton, Oregon, in 1964. The buyer, Rudy Zvarich (who died in 2014), already owned a 1957 version and intended the ’64 to serve as a backup car in case something went wrong with his primary vehicle. Apparently nothing did. The ’64 has only 23 miles on the odometer; it turned from 22 when the car was rolled out of storage.

Does that make it special enough to be worth $1 million? In a word, no. While nostalgia has its price—especially now that Volkswagen has announced it is halting Beetle production—few people are willing to shell out even six figures for “the people’s car,” let alone seven. This one appears to be an amazing time capsule, but unless the asking price comes down, it will likely remain on the market for a long time.

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