1953 Volkswagen Beetle
2dr Split-Window Sedan
4-cyl. 1131cc/25hp 1bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
In March 1953 the first major change was made in the Volkswagen Beetle’s appearance when the split rear window became one larger oval shape. Otherwise the 24.5 bhp flat-four engine remained the same 1131cc and the top speed around 65 mph.
Production totaled 151,323 units for the year with 147,153 sedans and 4,170 cabriolets. Only 1237 Beetles were sold in the U.S. but that was about to change drastically. Max Hoffman’s import license had expired and the company was about to start franchising dealerships and service centers nationwide. Dealers were divided into east and western groups with the Mississippi River as the divide, and Heinz Nordhoff sent German mechanics over to make sure service support was adequate. Motor Trend magazine wrote about the Beetle three times in 1953 and was generally enthusiastic about the car’s successful eccentricity.
Prices for 1953 Volkswagen Beetles were led by the standard two-door sedan at $1056. The Deluxe Sedan cost $1655, the Sunroof Sedan was $1675, and the Cabriolet was $2350. Nine paint colors were offered: Pastel Green (L11), Atlantic Green (L19), Metallic Blue (L35), Medium Blue (L37), Black (L41), Chestnut Brown (L73), Jupiter Brown (L225), Texas Brown (L271) and Sahara Tan (L272). Gray Beige cloth was the standard interior but Beige leatherette, Black leatherette and Red leatherette were optional, depending on exterior color. Headliners were Beige or Gray, carpets Gray Beige or Honey Brown and rubber mats were Black.
Cabriolet colors were Atlantic Green (L19), Pearl Gray (L21), Metallic Blue (L35), Azure Blue (L36), Black (L41), Poppy Red (L54), Medium Brown (L70), Beige (L71), Parchment White (L81), Texas Brown (L271) Sahara Beige (L272). Pearl Gray, Azure Blue, Medium Brown and Sand Beige were discontinued in March 1953. Tops were Green, Gray, Black, Blue and Brown. Cloth interiors were Gray or Beige and leatherette was Black, Beige or Beige/Red Beige.
As usual, running changes occurred, and late 1953 cars gained eight-leaf torsion bars and a bigger generator. Front vent windows were now lockable. The heater control knob was plain and the two-spoke steering wheel made it easier to see the speedometer. In December 1953, engine displacement was increased for the first time; up to 1,192cc, and the compression ratio increased to 6.1:1 from 5.8:1. Power rose to 30 bhp at 3,400 rpm as a result. The distributor also now had a vacuum advance, while door and ignition keys were the same and the push-button start was discontinued.