Bring back some good or bad memories


January 16, 2024

1955 Volkswagen ‘Driver Education’ Training Car

This VW Beetle itself is impressive in its own right, an extremely solid, well-preserved original that has been sensitively restored in places to create an appealing, tasteful overall package. The wow factor comes in the moment you open the door... that’s something you don't get to see often!

The car was parked in 1983 and had been in the current owner’s sights for well over a decade until the original owner passed away. The car received a thorough overhaul, both technically and visually, including the brakes, the original matching-numbers 30-horsepower boxer engine, powder coating of the engine cases, and replacement of the brake lines, shock absorbers, and muffler.

Inside, the seats, rear bench seat and door panels received a fresh coat of brick-red faux leather with black piping around the edges, and the mohair headliner and footwell carpets of German wool in typical square weave were renewed. The wear and tear on the car’s original color, a repaint circa 1979, is as convincing as if it were original, with its quirks and scratches and a light patina. Only the original wheels have been repainted white-red and fitted with Firestone whitewall tires.

To make the standard Beetle visually easily recognizable as a 1950s driving school car, the owner has lovingly added choice, period details, including the AAA Driver Education logos of the time on the doors, so artfully painted on as if faded in places, or the dipsticks on the front wings with flags and the words “Student Driver”. In addition, there are other details such as double rear-view mirrors on the outside and inside, red markings on the steering wheel at 10 and 2 o’clock, the “Safety First” around the horn button or stylish stickers, all things that pretend that this Beetle was a driving school car from the very beginning.

The successful replica and the attention that this extremely fun Beetle surely attracts wherever it appears must have pleased a bidder so much at RM Sotheby’s online auction in May 2021 that he ended up buying the Beetle for 38,500 US dollars.

(Photos: Maxx Shostak / RM Sotheby’s, via


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