Back in the late 1990s a gentleman by the name of Avtar decided that he would like to acquire a nice, original oval window beetle and, after scouring the UK unsuccessfully for a nice one, got in touch with Owen Warlow who worked his usual magic and came up with this low-mileage example which was imported to the UK from Sweden.
Having bought the beetle in 1999, it remained untouched in Avtar’s garage in Greenford until this year. With his children now grown up, It was time to get the beetle on the road. It’s been treated to a set of new shocks, steering coupling and a complete mechanical overhaul along with a small amount of welding around the wing mounting nuts and a few other places. Avtar has the original carpets and rubber mats which will be refitted and will be keeping the beetle as original as possible with perhaps just a respray of the wings as they are starting to show their age.
Now that the bugs back on the road, Avtar and his son (now 21) hope to make it along to a few shows next year so hopefully you’ll be able to check out this ’56 survivor for yourselves.
This is an exceptional car, full stop. Most of the hand full of unrestored ‘survivors’ have led tough lives and have the battle scars to prove it. Faded paint, worn interiors, rusty bumpers and the odd dent or scrape here and there after fifty-plus years of use. Others spend decades decaying in damp, dusty lock-ups, waiting to be rediscovered and recommissioned by eager enthusiasts the world over.
This oval window Beetle however has led a some what pampered life, having been retired from everyday use after 20 years. In 1976 it was placed in a Swedish museum where it sat, on display, until 1999 when it was sold on to a private collector who continued to give it the lifestyle it was now accustomed to.
In 2006 the collector decided to focus on ‘older’ vehicles and the young VW, with just 78,000km (48,500 miles) on its clock, headed over to Essex in the UK where it’s new owner treated it to a little TLC using New Old Stock parts to refresh the brakes and engine.
Gareth has owned the ’56 since 2010 and has again kept the car hidden away to preserve its low milage and immaculate condition. The original black paint still looks like new, as does the interior including the headlining and rubber floor mats. Gareth has recently removed the under-seal from under the wheel arches to discover the original, shiny black factory paint there too, what a bonus!
Pictures: Gareth Roberts