Not only has VW announced the end of Beetle production, but a museum collection of the iconic people’s car in Sweden has reached the end of the road too
A sizeable collection of classic Volkswagens totalling 66 cars, is being auctioned by Bilweb Auctions this weekend in the Swedish village of Pålsboda. The collection is primarily filled with first generation Beetles, and all belong to Bengt Holmgren, a local collector and former owner of a continental bus company.
Holmgren’s collection was a museum until closing down this month, and 46 of the ‘exhibits’ were bought from one dealer in Borås, a city in Sweden. Collection highlights include an uninterrupted run of Type 1 Beetles from each year of production between 1948 and 1975, and several more dating from after that, a 1962 Karmann-Ghia, a rare 1973 SP2 sports car from Brazil and a green 1970 Porsche 911.
The Beetle of the bunch is the Ultima Edition 1600cc, one of the last to roll off VW’s Mexico production line when original Type 1 production ended. It was finished in July 2003, and offered to King Gustaf of Sweden, but ended up in Holmgren’s hands for the equivalent of just €11,000. It’s covered less than 16 miles since, and the current bid is 302,000 Swedish Krona, around £25,910 ($33,454) and way below the car’s expected value.
His oldest beetle, from 1948, does have new bumpers, but is otherwise in the same specification as when it first arrived in Sweden, one of just 55 that were exported to the country that year. It has a chrome ‘export style’, and actually underwent military service. Despite this, it is advertised as doing less than 2000 miles. At the other end of the spectrum is the 1975 model, which has been repainted and has been driven significantly more.
The Karmann Ghia might look out of place compared to its Beetle cohorts at first glance. Its graceful coupe styling belies the Beetle mechanics underneath, combined with Carrozzeria Ghia styling to make a 2+2 sports car. The example for sale is slightly rusted, but is a bargain at the equivalent of £5142 ($6832). VW Brazil made the SP2 11 years later, but remarkably this somewhat overlooked car emigrated to Sweden pretty quickly, and looks like it’s come straight from the 1970s.
There are one-and-a-half Porsche 911s in the collection, with the 1970 911T being the real deal, and a recent addition having been based in America until last year. There’s also a 911 built from a Beetle, obvious from first appearances, that has gone through 13 owners and last MOT’d in 1992, two years before it joined Holmgren’s museum.
‘Anyone with enough money can buy a bunch of cars and have them restored,’ he told German newspaper Der Spiegel. ‘But finding an original car and negotiating to buy it off the owner – that can take years.’ Holmgren’s first Beetle purchase was in 1962, and was inspired by the 1959 Beetle his father used as a postman.
Offers for the cars can be done online, although all purchases must be collected from Sweden. Once all the cars are sold, Holmgren plans to focus on what’s important to him: his family and motorsport.