This is the Holzhaus Beetle, it started life as a standard 1970 VW Beetle before being completely rebuilt in 1995 by a team of Swiss craftsmen. It’s now a wood cabin on wheels with a working chimney, a sofa, a working kitchenette, and opening windows.
We’ve covered a fair few VW-based campers over the years, typically either Type 2 Kombi vans or converted Beetles like the curiously named Super Bugger. This is the first Swiss cabin on wheels we’ve ever featured, and the good news is that it’s currently for sale.
Fast Facts – The Volkswagen Beetle “Holzhaus” Cabin
- The Volkswagen Beetle “Holzhaus” started out as a standard 1970 Beetle 1302 and remained in normal configuration until 1995 when a team of Swiss craftsmen rebuilt it into a traditional Swiss chalet-style cabin on wheels.
- During the rebuild the front and rear of the Beetle remained in place, a 1600cc VW engine was kept in place, and the central portion of the original steel Beetle body was replaced with a hand-made wooden cabin – albeit a rather small one.
- In the years since it was completed the Holzhaus Beetle has been used extensively as the Alpine Club’s base during rallies, parties, and festivals. It also served as a mobile bar and a ticket office, and it’s been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers in Europe.
- The Holzhaus Beetle is now being offered for sale out of Italy, with Italian registration, and a price guide of €20,000 – €30,000 or approximately $22,500 – $33,700 USD. It has 73,219 km on the odometer and it’s fitted with a tow bar capable of hauling small trailers.
The VW Beetle 1302
“Holzhaus” is German for “timber house,” it’s a word often used to describe classic wooden cabins and chalets in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. As you have probably surmised, “holz” simply means wood, and “haus” means “house.”
This Volkswagen was originally manufactured in 1970 as a 1302 model. The 1302 wasn’t a reference to engine displacement, earlier Beetles had come with 1200cc or 1300cc engines but the 1302 series was powered by either a 1500cc or 1600cc unit.
The biggest change with the 1302 model family that first appeared for the 1970 model year was space – the new model provided a substantial increase in luggage capacity, offering nearly 43% more space, the front luggage compartment grew from 140 liters (4.9 cu ft) to 260 liters (9.2 cu ft).
The underpinnings of the Beetle were also significantly upgraded, new MacPherson strut front suspension was fitted, similar to that used in the VW Type 4, and the track width was widened. One notable advantage of the redesigned suspension layout was that it allowed the spare tire to be placed flat under the trunk floor, helping to optimize cargo space.
The Holzhaus Beetle: A Swiss Chalet On Wheels
As mentioned above, the Beetle you see here was completely transformed in 1995 when a team of Swiss craftsmen turned it into a traditional Holzhaus chalet on wheels. Inside you’ll find a sofa, a functional kitchenette with a working chimney, and windows that can be opened for fresh air.
Under the ownership of its previous owner, this Volkswagen served as the Alpine Club’s base during rallies, parties, and festivals. It also functioned as a mobile bar and ticket office, making appearances at various Volkswagen rallies. Its popularity was such that it was featured in numerous magazines and newspapers at the time. Importantly, the modifications were designed to maintain the vehicle’s original shape without any overhangs.
The bodywork remains in good condition throughout, with the original platform chassis intact underneath. The front and rear steel body sections were painted with Alpine vistas, and it still carries this artwork today. It’s also fitted with wheel covers that also contain matching artwork, and the front and rear bumpers have been painted to look as though they’re made of wood.
The driver and passenger seats have steel frames topped with wooden slats, and they are fitted with cushions on the base to keep them comfortable on longer drives – though the new owner may want to add back cushions to match.
A wood-rimmed steering wheel is fitted and the gear lever is an upturned wooden table leg that matches the central table leg used for the dining table in the rear. The floors have beige carpeting front and back, the walls are finished with wood paneling, and decorated with paintings, a cuckoo clock, and the windows have red and white striped table cloths.
The wood interior is a testament to the workmen who made it, it was entirely custom-made. It remains in excellent condition despite its almost 30-year age, complete with a functioning external water gutter system and insulating tiles.
The underbody is solid, and the engine (B code – 1600cc) has recently been restarted and run. The car starts quickly and it’s said to run smoothly. That said, it has exceeded its technical inspection period and will require routine maintenance to ensure its street-ready condition before any street driving is undertaken.
The vehicle is now being sold on Catawiki out of Italy, with Italian registration, and a price guide of €20,000 – €30,000 or approximately $22,500 – #33,700 USD. It has 73,219 km on the odometer and it’s fitted with a tow bar allowing small trailers to be towed if required.
If you’d like to read more about the vehicle or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Catawiki
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.