VW 1200 Export. Riding Thomas de Roy's beautiful Oval Beetle

ER Classics Desktop 2022

During the long career of the VW Beetle, various versions and body styles appeared. Certainly during the forties, fifties and sixties they were regularly given a nickname. Take the version built between 1953 and 1957. It age of glasses was over, the Oval Beetle took its place. Thomas de Roy recently expanded his air-cooled VW collection with an Oval Beetle, a beautiful 1200 VW 1956 Export. And we went out with that one afternoon.

To get straight to the point: the new Typ 1/11 Export (Model 113) delivered to Sweden is unimaginably beautiful, and that beauty is enhanced by the rare coral. That particular red/pink color goes well with the oval shapes and the beautifully decorated wheels. The Export version (including in the Netherlands De Luxe mentioned) also brings the necessary sjeu. Anyone who ordered an Export Beetle in 1956 was well stocked, and that fact was accompanied by an impeccable finish and a ditto build quality. The first Swedish owner was thus assured of a high-quality Volkswagen, and brought it to his own taste with, among other things, a Blaupunkt radio and a large clock.

Mint condition from 65 years ago

That was 65 years ago, and this VW 1200 Export is still in that mint condition. Whether you look at the carefully finished interior, the beautiful and excellently fitting furniture with adjustable front seats, the decorative elements or the ivory colored control panels and buttons: everything is in original condition. And that also applies to the outside. This looks fantastic.

Child of his time

This VW 1200 Export is a real Beetle of its time. He still wears turn signals, tiny rear lights and the smaller windows all around. And when you look under the boot lid, you see a fuel tank and a separate reserve tank. And you can switch between these two tanks with a fuel switch under the dashboard. The fuel gauge is missing, but the original fuel dipstick is still on board. It's a real feast for these kinds of details. Under the hood you see what you see with a lot of Beetles: the confidence-inspiring shapes of the air-cooled boxer engine and peripherals.

Original engine without Startautomatic

The power source in the VW 1200 Export is still the original engine. This one does not yet have a Startautomatik, but an old-fashioned hand choke. It generates a power of 30 DIN-HP. These are also references to the era in which this Beetle was built. The 1.192 cc engine is known for its clean and balanced running. This is certainly the case in Thomas's Volkswagen.


This becomes apparent when we drive through the hinterland of Heerenveen. The engine character is very smooth. This is completely in line with the overall operation of the Oval of Thomas. Everything works easily, lightly and at the same time decisively. That can be perfectly combined with the solid feeling that this excellently built VW 1200 Export. The handling is pleasantly mercury, see here the difference between the Oval and (for example) the later VW 1200 models, which received two spring packages of 10 torsion leaf springs in front, and that in combination with a stabilizer. That made a significant difference in driving characteristics.

Nice gearbox, nice overlap

This VW has two spring packages of 8 leaf springs and does without a stabilizer. As a result, the suspension and damping characteristics are flexible, without being at the expense of course stability. The smooth operation also applies to the steering and the shifting in the Beetle. Resistance two, three and four are synchronized, the first resistance forward is not. In practice you will not notice anything of the latter. Shifting from or to first gear is silent and silent. The gears also have a nice overlap, two and four are close to each other in the operation. You should definitely be aware of that in the beginning.

Smooth deceleration, nice acceleration

This alertness also applies to braking manoeuvres. You have to operate the modest and non-powered drums well in time for the required delay. You get used to it quickly, but there's no harm in anticipating. But the VW slows down quietly, steady and actually quite naturally. As everything goes by itself in this VW 1200 Export, it is a very nice Beetle to be on the road with. The smooth engine gets you up to speed in all relativity, and getting speed to merge onto the small stretch of highway we drove is no problem.

cozy atmosphere

Now a VW 1200 Export from 1956 is not a car that you want to drive your highway kilometers every day. This VW belongs on beautiful and picturesque routes, where it feels most at ease, just as occupants will feel at ease in this beautiful Volkswagen. Because the cozy interior with the beige and light brown color scheme, the beautiful and luxurious details and the excellent decoration from head to toe will court you.

Excellent in its price and engine class

The unsurpassed build quality was one of the reasons that in 1956 the counter stood at more than one million Beetles produced and you can feel that quality continuously. Within this price and displacement class, there was hardly a size on the VW Typ 1. And that image was confirmed on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and reinforced by the beautiful Beetle from Thomas. And it says it all that a 65-year-old car still drives so easily, gets used to it so quickly and feels so good. In combination with the beautiful condition and the high degree of quality, only one conclusion is possible. This makes every enthusiast simply very happy.



Give a reaction
  1. Well, comfort, road holding, consumption, space, brakes and driving characteristics; no German, Chinese or Japanese had yet been invented who could copy that from the French!

  2. These beetles have their right to exist through youth sentiment. If you lived in Zeeland, in my case (am from 1950), you were blown off the dike with this VW ruecksichtlos. My father had one, still with a 'glasses motif' rear window, was blown into the Vestgracht by the wind in Middelburg and was barely able to save his life by coming out with me. I sat in the back, was 1 years old, and imprinted this story in my memory….
    Later it became my first lesson car (10 lessons for one hundred guilders, Driving School “Centrale”), and it soon got tobacco, because it swabbed over the road. The Zeelanders often threw a bag of sand or potatoes into the 'forecastle' to ensure more stability.
    Incidentally, all praise for the 'love' that has kept this beetle standing and driving all these years. Without these pioneers there would be no steaming melancholy among the delightfully smoking old timers!

    • nice story dear onno I am from 1948 10 driving lessons for 47.50 at the power station
      in the hague also in a beetle my father had a beetle in 1961. FT-90-18
      does he still exist? with 2 sisters in the backseat to Italy and over the Gothard
      just ridden a lot with a beetle you didn't know better

  3. Correct. Did you ever get one for almost free? 1:8, crosswinds, oil consumption and lousy driving characteristics. Radio? You needed hearing protection! Joke from that time: Volkswagen now makes cars with 2 holes in the roof. Could the donkeys that were in it pierce their primates.

  4. A beautiful car, which makes me nostalgic for my 1200 Beetle 1962 de Luxe. When reading the article I feel myself shifting along. Keep this beauty moving.

  5. Nice article about a very nice beetle. I find it amazing and funny that apparently there are people who can get annoyed by this 🙂

  6. C. Hendriks Volvo, Mercedes , Jaguar……and Wolseley. Oooh, Wolseley! (English, pronounced Woelsullie)

    You are certainly provoking things a bit. This model beetle has the honor of being the car of my first collision, sounds more expensive as accident and collision. 2 blocks from my house, was maybe 16 years old, had stolen the keys from my dad, was a car from the company where he worked. Yes that lever under the dashboard to switch orver to reserve, it is
    Do I still feel that thing in my hand?

  7. Been looking for photos of this same model for years, had a knowledge of this, yellow in color. after several years put to one side, I was able to get this vehicle up and running again with the son of the owner, did not ask much of us .. acute on it, petrol tjagaaaaa ..

  8. Also note the steering wheel, beautiful. The first type with the larger windows (circa 1959 – 1964) was also beautiful both internally and externally. The later types had less character.

    • Worthless story about a heavily overrated car. Was a terrible car in its day.
      Have had some, bah, bah bah,. Let's talk about real cars. Volvo. Jaguar, Mercedes, Ford.

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