1957 Volkswagen

This past summer I attended the Volkswagen Day at the Larz Andersen Museum of Transportation in Brookline, Massachusetts.  As you can imagine, there were a number of Volkswagens there which was very informative to a person like me who was interested in Volkswagens, but was not familiar with the various changes to the “Beetle” design of the sedan over the years.  It was interesting to these the design variances over the years side-by-side.  One Volkswagen that caught my eye that day was a 1957 Volkswagen Deluxe sedan.

VW Delux 1957 (3)

1957 Volkswagen Deluxe Sedan

As can be seen by these photos, this car has a number of features that would not be found on a standard Volkswagen sedan.  The roof rack is an option that Volkswagen had been offering at least as far back as 1955.  The car also has dual rear view mirrors.

VW Delux 1957 (4)

Compare the 1957 Beetle With The Newer Beetle On Its Right

It is interesting to compare the 1957 Volkswagen sedan with the newer Volkswagen on its right in the photo above.  Note that the newer Volkswagen has nearly vertical headlights while the 1957 headlights blend into the shape of the front fenders.  On the 1957 car the turn signals are low in the fenders while in the newer car the turn signals are on the top of the fenders.  The 1957 car has the two small oval grilles beside the headlights, but they are nowhere to be seen on the newer car.  The differences in the bumpers are easy to see.

VW Delux 1957 (1)

With The Ski and Roof Racks This VW Is Ready To Take Its Owner On A Winter Holiday

In 1957 the Volkswagen sedan had a horizontally opposed, overhead valve air-cooled 1,192cc four-cylinder engine which produced 36 horsepower at 3,700 rpm located at the rear of the chassis.  As you can imagine, these were not fast cars.  The claimed top speed was 68 miles per hour, but the fuel economy was very good at 32 miles per gallon.

VW Delux 1957 (6)

1957 Was The Last Year Of The Oval Rear Window

The 1957 model year was the last year of the oval back window for the Volkswagen Beetle.  Many think that the oval rear window Volkswagen are the best looking of the Volkswagen Beetle design.

VW Delux 1957 (5)

Simplicity Defined – Only A Speedometer Is Provided

Volkswagens only came with a four-speed manual transmission.  This particular model is fitted with a radio.

While I have no experience with the mid-fifties Volkswagens, I have covered many miles in early to mid-1960s Volkswagens (The first time that I ever rolled in a car was in a Volkswagen.) it can be said that these cars had poor heaters.  And in Canada this was evident every winter.  No one ever took their winter coat off inside a Volkswagen. Frequently while riding as a passenger in a Volkswagen, I was handed an ice scrapper and my job was the scrape the frost off the inside of the window so the driver could see where to go.  A towel was also needed to function as a de-fogger on occasion.

VW Delux 1957 (2)

The Vents On The Floor In Front Of The Door Are “Heater” Outlets

In 1957, the Volkswagen sedan sold for $1,495.  For comparison purposes, a basic 1957 Chevrolet 150 2-door sedan with no options sold for $1,996.

The Volkswagen Beetle was quite a car that set the economic foundation for one of the world’s most successful automotive companies which now makes some of the world’s most high performance cars.  The Volkswagen sedan certainly represents humble beginnings.

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2 Responses to 1957 Volkswagen

  1. Dave Felter says:

    Great article. I had a 1962 and 1968. Everything you say is true. Driving them al over Northern California and in the Sierra Nevada was a blast. Thanks for the write-up, and Happy New Year.

  2. NOVA Curmudgeon says:

    Thanks for the post. My first car was a VW beetle of undetermined age. It had a split oval rear window and an emergency gas tank that dumped an additional gal of fuel into the main tank by pulling a lever. The dash was even more sparse than those you show….there was a hole where the speedo was supposed to be. It quickly taught you to shift by the sound of the engine. For a 16 yr old it was the perfect vehicle with which to expand your horizons!

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