Swan Song: 1977 Volkswagen Beetle Base Sedan – Sold?

by | Oct 2023 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Malaise Monday

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November 12, 2023, Update – We confirmed the listing for this “ClassiFIND” expired, so with no replacement found, we’re assuming this ride is “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

October 2, 2023 Update – The seller replaced their expiring Craigslist ad with a fresh listing.  While the pictures and description carry over, the seller reduced their asking price from $18,500 to $16,750.

The original air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle, produced from 1938 through 2003, remains one of the longest-production cars ever manufactured. Despite enjoying tremendous sales growth in North America through much of the 1960s, growing Japanese competition and increasing safety and emissions regulations made it challenging for the “People’s Car” to compete in the North American market.

To remain competitive stateside, in 1971, Volkswagen started offering two types of Beetles: the original beam-axle design equipped with a five cubic foot “frunk” became the Base Beetle, while the larger, Macpherson strut version was sold as the “Super Beetle. With a nine cubic foot “frunk” and better suspension, the Super Beetle sold as the premium model and also became the base car for the convertible version. Consequently, Volkswagen marketed the base Beetle as its entry-level car through the early 1970s. Then, in 1975, Volkswagen launched its all-new, front-wheel-drive, water-cooled Rabbit in the U.S. market. Consequently, while U.S. sales of the Super Beetle convertible continued through 1979, July 1977 was the final production month of standard Beetle sedans.

This 59.7K original mile, blue over white, 1977 Volkswagen Beetle for sale, first spotted in August 2023 on Craigslist in Brookfield, Illinois (Chicago), carries the VIN 117 2 087 634. A check of the VIN on the Volkswagen resource TheSamba.com  confirms this example was produced in June 1977, just one month before Volkswagen ended US-bound base Beetle sedan production.

Not only is this German-built 1977 Volkswagen Beetle sedan one of the last imported into the U.S., but it’s likely one of the lowest mileage survivor examples from the Malaise Era (1972-1984). Interestingly, this example is not a stripped-down version, as it features an AM/FM radio and a factory steel sunroof. The seller reports the white seats benefitted for many years from being covered with plastic covers.

Last offered $16,750 (the original ask was $18,500), Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is slightly below this guide’s six-month rolling results trend for 1977 Volkswagen Beetles of both types and body styles.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what comparable examples sold for recently:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls right at this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $18,585 after factoring in a five percent premium for the desirable factory steel sunroof.

The 1977 Volkswagen Base Beetle sedan, often referred to simply as the “VW Beetle” or “Bug,” is an iconic compact car that has left an indelible mark on automotive history. Known for its distinctive design, affordability, and simplicity, the 1977 model year marked the final year of production for the classic air-cooled Beetle in the United States, making it a significant milestone in the car’s history.

The 1977 Beetle retained its timeless, rounded silhouette with a distinctive bulbous front and rear end, often likened to a beetle’s appearance, hence the nickname “Bug.”  It featured chrome bumpers, trim pieces, and round headlamps, adding a touch of retro charm to its overall appearance.

The interior of the 1977 Beetle was known for its simplicity and functionality. The dashboard had a straightforward design with basic controls and a centrally located speedometer. It could typically accommodate up to four passengers, with two bucket seats up front and a bench seat in the rear. The seats were upholstered in durable cloth or vinyl materials.

The 1977 Beetle featured a rear-mounted, air-cooled, four-cylinder engine. In this model year, it typically had a 1.6-liter engine that produced around 48 horsepower. The air-cooling system was a notable feature, eliminating the need for a traditional radiator. All base Beetle sedans came equipped with a 4-speed manual transmission.  The Beetle had rear-wheel drive and an independent suspension, providing a smooth and comfortable ride, though it wasn’t known for high-speed performance.

The 1977 Beetle was a no-frills car, focusing on affordability and reliability. It had manual windows, manual steering, and a basic AM radio as standard features. Volkswagen offered a few optional extras, including a sunroof, upgraded interior materials, an AM/FM radio, and alloy wheels.

The VW Beetle had already become a cultural icon by 1977, symbolizing the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 1970s. It was associated with freedom and individuality. However, the 1977 model year marked the end of an era for the classic air-cooled Beetle in the United States. Volkswagen continued production in other countries, but more modern models eventually replaced the iconic design.

In summary, the 1977 Volkswagen Base Beetle sedan was a beloved and enduring classic known for its distinctive design, affordability, and cultural significance. While it was a simple and practical car, it left an indelible mark on automotive history and continues to be cherished by collectors and enthusiasts worldwide.

The Car Commercials of the Past YouTube Channel provides this 1972 Volkswagen Beetle commercial which was likely one of the last as VW began focusing its advertising budget on its more modern offerings:

Despite the low-mileage, survivor quality vibe, based on the pictures provided in their Craigslist ad and on their website, this 1977 Volkswagen Beetle sedan for sale makes us pause for two reasons.  Our first concern is in the engine bay.  Unsuspecting buyers may not realize it, but this originally fuel-injected Beetle now features a carburetor conversion the seller neglected to mention.  Given the extensive maintenance records, a mechanic likely recommended the change at some point to improve reliability and driveability.  Some purists may want to convert the car back to its original fuel injection system, so you’ll need to confirm whether they still have the original parts.

Second is the picture of the door jamb provided.  Look closely around the VIN labels, and you’ll notice what appears to be paint overspray around the stickers.  It could be an optical illusion, but we would look very closely around this area for prior paint or minor collision repairs.

If you are serious about buying this base Beetle Sedan, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad.  When you connect, please mention that you saw their Bug featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1977 Volkswagen Beetle
Beautiful Blue VW Beetle with a fully functional sunroof. 59,700 Miles, verifiable. No Rust on the Body, and it has had rust-proofing applied. This was my parents’ Beetle that was purchased from the original owner in 1996. It was never driven in winter and was always garaged. It was recently serviced and detailed. The interior is all original and in clean condition. The vehicle is in perfect working condition and has been regularly serviced throughout its life. Engine and transmission run smoothly. The vehicle maintenance history for prospective buyers and a VIN history check are included.
Plastic seat covers were used for the majority of life, which were recently removed for sale.
Purchase includes vehicle maintenance history records, clean title in hand, additional white fur front seat covers, full car cover, additional VW accessories as pictured, and 4 keys. Original service manuals. Tow kit if the vehicle needs to be transported.
VIN 1172087634
Vehicle located in Western Suburbs of Chicago.
Additional Pictures and Video at the link below:

Show or go: what would you do with this final-year 1977 Volkswagen Beetle sedan for sale?  Please comment below and let us know!

1 Comment
  1. Blue 1977 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan

    What happened to the pedals? A bit rusty!


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