When I was sixteen, my father pointed to an aging 1957 Volkswagen "down on its tires" in the side yard and said, "I suppose you'll be learning how to drive soon; if you can get it running, you can have it." About three days later, I did, undoubtedly to my father's dismay. It was the car in which I learned to drive.
The car and I "bonded" immediately. After all, we were the same age, give or take a few months, and we had "grown up together." My father's father bought the car for my father new at Rollyson's Packard-Volkswagen in South Charleston, West Virginia in December, 1956. My parents were expecting, and my grandfather didn't want his first grandchild riding around in whatever decrepit "rattle trap" my father owned at the time. The car served as daily transportation for my father, my mother, me, and the three siblings that followed over the the next decade - the youngest always contorted into the the luggage well behind the rear seat like so much "extra baggage." Alas, the family outgrew the car quickly, and it was largely ignored in favor of a used Studebaker Lark station wagon.
The humble VW was my daily transportation through high school and college - often on lengthy trips in inclement weather with retreaded snow tires installed in the rear and its "efficient heating and defrosting system" blazing. When I graduated from college, it was decommissioned in favor of a shiny new Scirocco, which I could barely afford on my meager salary. The '57 was coated in a layer of Cosmoline and reassigned to my father's garage to accumulate years of dust, bird dung, rodent nests, and rust. Over the ensuing years, I would exercise periodic visitation rights, vowing to someday restore my old friend to its original splendor, but there was always some insurmountable obstacle, whether financial or otherwise. Suddenly, inexplicably, I was 56, and there it sat aging just like me and none too gracefully, but sensing my own mortality and its too, I finally did it.
The Stiftung AutoMuseum Vokwagen Zertifikat proves it; its a numbers matched 1957 Volkswagen Sedan DeLuxe with its original engine, chassis, and transmission manufactured at Wolfsburg on October 11, 1956 and exported to the Port of Washington, DC, USA later that month. The fuel and electrical systems components manufactured in August 1956 still adorn the its 30 DIN PS (bHP) motor. It sits astride its original road wheels on Firestone "pie crust" bias ply white wall tires. Just as it always was, it is painted in Agave (L240) green with a Red (72) "Leatherette" interior and "Camel" wool headliner. Factory options include the "USA Package:" M018 larger reflector in brake light, M020 "mile per hour" speedometer, M067 77 amp/h "high capacity" winter 6V battery, M089 laminated windscreen, and 0107 bumpers with guards. Additional factory options include the M094 locking rear flap handle and M128 Whitewall Tires. Dealer-installed options included a cigarette lighter, Roscoe driver side rear view mirror, and Motorola "Big M" vacuum tube radio (functional) and Ward "Flex Angle" adjustable radio antenna rounded out the inventory of options. The original canvas-wrapped tool kit is still under the bonnet along with the jack and "buddy bar."
The '57 Volkswagen Sedan DeLuxe was restored at Motorkars in Columbus, Ohio by Goeff Hazleton. I was largely relegated to NOS parts procurement and decsions concerning "correctness," which was the first rule of engagement.
If you enjoy the car and decide to use it, I'm pleased to answer any questions that you may have about it. The photos I would really like to share are the ones of the restoration of the headlights, speedometer, and other components that are not longer visible. For example parts numbers were preserved on all restored internals (e.g., speedometer, radio, etc.)