Paul Fraser Collectibles' Top Five VW Beetles on the classic car markets

So it's finally happened. After 13 years during which Volkswagen's previous 1998 revamp of its iconic Beetle has grown stale, the German carmaker has responded with a new "sportier" version.

According to VW, the new Beetle is based less on the '98 model (aka the "New Beatle") and more on the original classic models that we know and love, originally created in Germany in the 1930s.

The new 2012 Beetle replaces the last 1998 revamp (pictured)

While VW is hoping that the new Beetle with attract a younger crowd (apparently the New Beetle was most popular among women in their 50s and 60s) the firm can rest assured that its ancestor remains a true icon of our age.

In fact, the original Beetle continued in basically unaltered production for 64 years, from 1939-2003. During that time, it racked-up sales of more than 21 million units and could today easily claim the title of "most popular can in history."

So, to mark the dawn of the new Volkswagen Beetle, here are some of Paul Fraser Collectibles' favourite models to have appeared on the private markets in recent times...

5. 1962 Volkswagen Beetle two-door sedan ($11,000)

You've seen Herbie in Walt Disney's 1968 classic movie The Love Bug (or perhaps even the Lindsay Lohan starring 2005 remake). But this truly exceptional and extremely rare 1962 Beetle easily matched Herbie for sheer charm.

This 1962 VW Bug was first purchased in 1962 by a Scottsdale, Arizona fighter pilot stationed in Hamburg, Germany. Today, it still boasts its original factory colours of Pearl White and grey - with the added touch of dual luggage racks and a bamboo tray.

Once flown by an Arizona fighter pilot... a 1962 model

The pan-off restoration was completed in July 2010 and sold last year with all its original German and American documents. It auctioned with no reserve and eventually brought $11,000 at a Barrett-Jackson sale in Las Vegas, last year.

4. 1974 Volkswagen Beetle California ($10,296)

We've looked at a faithfully restored classic Beetle. But what happens when a collector decides to add a few contemporary mod cons to their VW? An example which recently appeared for sale is this 1974 Volkswagen Beetle California, slightly re-jigged by its owner in Greece.

The model from 1974 has been boosted with twin 40 Webber carburetors, Patronix electric ignition, and a chromed 1,835cc engine under its bonnet complemented by a turbo trip exhaust.

This Beetle for sale has been 'pimped' by a Greek collector

While undoubtedly not everyone's cup of tea, this boosted Beetle a must-see for fans of "pimped-up" automobiles. It is currently for sale by a private seller in Greece, priced at an entry-level investment friendly €7,100 (or $10,296).

3. 1955 Volkswagen Beetle Coupe ($19,800)

With a its original "Code 154" painted Poppy Red exterior and wide white wall tyres, this quintessentially-1950s Beetle rolled onto the auction block at Barrett-Jackson's Las Vegas sale in 2008.

With a European licence plate and Volkswagen script on the hood, this 1955 sunroof sedan's ongoing beauty is the result of years of faithful restoration work. Boasting a red interior to match its bodywork, the car also has a rare factory sunroof.

Little Red Riding Bug... a restored 1955 Poppy Red Beetle

Also featuring new brakes, running boards, emblems, shocks, clutch and trim - not to mention a rebuilt 4 cylinder engine in its rear - this cheeky classic coupe appeared with no reserve. In the end, it sold for $19,800.

2. 1967 'Herbie' Volkswagen Beetle ($19,800)

We've looked at some of Herbie's siblings, but how about a replica of the - incredibly - 70-or-so original Volkswagen cars which were used in the production of the Walt Disney Studios films?

This Herbie replica appeared at an RM auction in March 2011 with a $15,000-25,000 estimate. It includes a German sunroof, and sold original body which has been painted and clear-coated with Herbie's iconic graphics.

Your very own Love Bug replica, for $19,800

Boasting a dual-port 1,600 cc Super Beetle engine under the bonnet, a Classic Sport exhaust, vented 944 front discs, lowered front suspension and Fuchs wheels, the car rolled to $19,800 - showing how a little bit of charisma can win the hearts of bidders.

1. 1954 Volkswagen 'Sunroof' Beetle ($39,600)

How do you improve on the Beetle's original design? How about adding a sunroof - as featured on this 1954 Volkswagen 'Sunroof' Beetle. It appeared for sale at RM's prestigious Automobiles of Amelia Island sale in 2008.

Despite being imported in large numbers, early 1950s examples are relatively scarce. And even fewer examples have been restored to "Pebble Beach" concours level, like this example.

One of the most outstanding 'Sunroof' bugs sold in recent times

The VW 1200 Sedan rolled into RM's vent painted in its original soft metallic green colour. It also has a mirror finish highlighted by fresh chrome, and wide whitewall tires to contrast the blue cloth sunroof.

Billed as "one of the most outstanding early examples of the marque" according to RM, this 1200 Beetle in the end sold for $39,600. Nicely over its $25,000-$35,000 estimate.

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