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This crazy Beetle just sold for $78,000!

© Darin Schnabel/RM Sotheby’s

By Lizzie Pope, Classic & Sports Car


Weird and wonderful cars change hands in single-owner auction

© Darin Schnabel/RM Sotheby’s

Car auctions take place every day, but few feature as many eye-opening, jaw-dropping lots as the weekend’s Taj Ma Garaj Collection.

The RM Sotheby’s sale in Dayton, Ohio, on Saturday, September 28 featured 32 cars and 356 items of memorabilia from the collection of the late John Dixon.

A particular fan of German classics, Dixon’s garage – sorry, Garaj – was packed with Porsches and Volkswagens.

But in most cases, these were no normal models; indeed many had been customized almost beyond recognition.

Scroll or click through the slideshow to see what was on offer – and how much money they sold for.


1953 Porsche 356 Limousine Custom

© Darin Schnabel/RM Sotheby’s

Sold for: $207,200 (£168,505)

Let’s start with a Porsche 356 with a difference – in the form of this arresting, and unique, custom limousine.

Based on a 1953 ‘bent-window’ 356 (although several stripped models donated parts) and upgraded with 912 flat-four power, it came about following a conversation between collector Dixon and customization guru Don Boeke of The Egyptian Body Shop in Dayton, Ohio, when Dixon was searching for something special for his daughter’s wedding day.


1958 Porsche 356A Sedan Delivery “Kreuzer”

© Darin Schnabel/RM Sotheby’s

Sold for: $86,800 (£70,590)

Here’s another one-off, Porsche 356-based oddity. For this project, Dixon collaborated with artist Byron Kauffman, choosing a 356 as the basis after a 911 proved less suitable.

Believe it or not, it’s stock from the B-pillar forward and also has standard rear bumpers, with the roofline extended in between.


1956 Porsche 356 Speedster Dragster Project

© RM Sotheby’s

Sold for: $6160 (£5010)

Ready to be propelled by its high-performance Type 2 engine with Pauter valve covers, this one-off dragster is yet to take its first run down the quarter mile.

But while not (yet) fit for purpose, it does have a single-seater custom steel-tube rollcage, rear disc brakes, Auto-Meter instrumentation and a Pro-Werks steering wheel.


1971 Mangosta Sport Buggy

© Darin Schnabel/RM Sotheby’s

Sold for: $106,400 (£86,529)

The most expensive non-Porsche car sold on Saturday, this Mangosta Sport Buggy is one of just six built.


1970 Volkswagen Beetle “Casa Linda Lace”

© Darin Schnabel/RM Sotheby’s

Sold for: $78,400 (£63,750)

Surely this can’t really be a VW Beetle with what appears to be a lace body? Well no, not quite – it’s actually intricately shaped wrought iron. But it certainly looks the part – and it’s festooned with fairy lights, too.

It’s the work of master blacksmith Rafael Esparza-Prieto and was commissioned by Mexican restaurant owner Jose Barajas of Montecito, California, in the early ’80s.


1971 Volkswagen Beetle “Jungle Bug”

© Darin Schnabel/RM Sotheby’s

Sold for: $19,040 (£15,775)

The “Jungle Bug” is a tribute to the Cincinnati Bengals of American football fame and carries a raft of tiger-themed touches.

For instance, that eye-catching paintwork has been applied to a body with a smoothed trunk lid, extended running boards and adapted bumpers to give it a sleeker silhouette, while the yellow-tinted headlights are intended to look like a tiger’s eyes.


1957 Volkswagen Beetle Outlaw “Death”

© Darin Schnabel/RM Sotheby’s

Sold for: $40,320 (£32,790)

This is another VW Beetle – although you’d be forgiven for not clocking that at first glance.

Claimed to be one of the wildest Beetle customs ever built, it stands just 36in tall and has just 2in of ground clearance.

The work was completed by Muhr’s Kustom Coach Werks in Grand Junction, Colorado, the starting point being a long-abandoned ’56 Baja Bug project.


1957 Porsche 356 A Carrera GT Speedster by Reutter

© Darin Schnabel/RM Sotheby’s

Sold for: $1,380,000 (£1,122,000)

Not all of the 32 vehicles on offer were particularly wacky, though. The biggest seller (by far) was a 1957 Porsche 356 A Carrera GT Speedster by Reutter, notable solely for how lovely it is.

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