Volkswagen Beetles are fairly ubiquitous—a fact that may be changing soon, since Volkswagen recently announced that they won’t be making the iconic vehicle after 2019. That means all those Beetles will slowly start going up in price and become harder and harder to find as they slip into the annals of history. There are some, however, that are already a part of history. Hemmings has just such a piece of automotive history up for sale right now. The 1945 Volkswagen Beetle offered by the auction house is listed at AUD$280,000.
Post World War II, in 1947, the Australian government brought two Beetles to the country to evaluate them to play a part in the war reparation efforts. Of those two, only one is known to have survived. It’s that exact car that is on sale. The Beetle was originally built in November 1945, a short two months after the end of the war. This particular Beetle, aside from being one of two sent to Australia, is even rarer in that it is a Typ/Series 51.
Built while the British Army controlled the factory, the car is also 75mm higher than the standard model. It was originally finished in flat black. It was recently restored by a South Australian body specialist who worked with the original panels.
Without this car and its mate, importation of the VW Beetle to Australia may not have happened. In 1953, the car was officially imported, with local assembly starting the next year. In 1957, Volkswagen Australia was formed, and by 1960, locally produced panels were being used in its production. Assembly of the Australian Beetle would continue until 1976. This literal one-of-a-kind vehicle played a pivotal role in that history, making it a priceless piece of history—well, a piece of history worth of a quarter of a million dollars, anyway.