Here's what I know about the new bug. I'll update this as I find out more details.
The bug was 1 of 333,190 built in Germany for model year 1956. It was actually built on November 22 of 1955 - making in 55 years old as I post this. 50,437 bugs were registered in the United States for model year 1956.
In 1968, it was sold to Frank Barker in Napa California. Frank's daughter, Diana, drove the bug until the early 70s. It seems like the last time it was registered with the DMV was 1973. An un-returned 1974 registration was found in the car:
Frank parked the car outside for a few years, but then moved it into the garage to "fix the transmission". He put the bug up on 2 pieces of wood, cut the body in the back to remove the engine and pulled the transmission out. Apparently, this is where he stopped. Sometime in the mid-70s.
Frank passed in 2002, leaving the project unfinished.
Here's how it looked in 2010 when I bought it:
The engine and chassis numbers don't seem to match up from the research I have done so far:
Chassis # 1-1026474
Engine # 2,322,092 (seems to be from 1958)
Color: exterior: L 315 jungle green
Upholstery - leatherette: 73 dark green
Oh, and apparently the bug took Frank to the golf course a few times. I found this in the glovebox: