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Super Beetle Info

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Q.  What is a Super Beetle?


The Super Beetle is more of a step-up in room and driveability quality compared to the Standard Beetle.


Q.  Why did Volkswagen introduce the Super Beetle?


The principle factor was to increase the size of the front luggage compartment (trunk), as well as improve the overall handling with MacPherson front strut suspension and beginning in 1975 with rack and pinion steering.  This gave the customer a choice and range of utility of either Beetle in the marketplace at the time.


Q.  How can you tell a Super Beetle from a Standard Beetle?


There are two easy ways – 1.  Open the front hood and see if the spare tire lays flat in a recess on the floor; OR - 2.  Look behind the front wheel and see if there is a large vertical spring surrounding what looks like the front shock absorber (actually it’s a strut housing).


Q.  Do all Super Beetles have a Curved Front Windshield?


No.  The 1971 and 1972 editions share the same windshield glass and seal of the Standard Beetle.  Beginning in 1973, the Curved Windshield Glass was introduced.  This was similarly done (but with different size glass) on the Beetle Convertible as well.  US Federal DOT specs of the time required the windshield glass to be a certain distance from the occupants for safety reasons.  It’s never been understood why this same spec was not applied to the 1973-1977 Standard Beetle Sedan, which continued with the old style glass arrangement.


Q.  What was the first year of the Super Beetle Convertible?


Beginning in the 1971 model year, the Convertible was based on the Super Beetle Chassis.  This continued through the 1979 model year.


Q.  What’s a “1302” or “1303”?


The name Super Beetle was purely a model name for the North American market.  In Europe, they were known as the 1302 for the 1971 and 1972 model year.  In 1973, the 1303 was introduced and continued to the end of production.


Q.  What’s a “Sun Beetle” (aka “Sun Bug”)


This was a special model campaign (VW Code S736) for beginning in the middle of the 1974 model year and ran through the 1975 model year (Note:  The Super Beetle Convertible had this special model in late 1974 only) in the USA and Canada.  More often seen on Super Beetles, this special model was available in Standard Beetles, but in lesser numbers.  Notable differences was the absence of any chrome and was substituted with black.  This included the Body Moldings, Door Handles, Bumpers, Hood Handles and the Outside Door Window Scraper Trim Frames.  The wheels equipped on these models were the silver Sports Wheels with black Mini-Hub Covers and Lugbolt Covers or the 10 spoke “Marathon” (also called “Champion”) Wheels with polished Hub Covers and black Lugbolt Covers.  Another optional Wheel was the “Formula Vee” Mag Wheels in either natural color (grey) or black (these wheels were often called “Turtle Shell” Wheels and they have 6 oval slots).  The Mag Wheels came with chrome and black Hub Covers with the Wolfsburg Emblem and Lugbolts specific to this style of Mag Wheel.


Q.  What year was the larger, full-sized dashboard introduced on the Super Beetle?


Beginning in the 1973 model year, a more modern full-sized dashboard was introduced.  It’s been said that this new design was to eventually accommodate the introduction of safety airbags.  Previous dashboard design was the same as the Standard Beetle clear back to 1958.


Q.  Did the Standard Beetle and the Super Beetle share the same engine?


Yes.  Both models were equipped with the 1600cc engine in the North American market.  Other overseas markets also used the 1600, but were available with 1300 engines as well.  Both also shared the 1600 Fuel Injection engine and components introduced in 1975.


Q.  Was the Super Beetle ever produced outside of Germany?


Yes, this model was produced in Austria and Yugoslavia.  Contrary to popular belief, they were never produced in Mexico.  Only the Standard Beetle continued in production at the Puebla plant in Mexico.  Trivia note:  In 1976 thru 1978, a model known as the 1600S Beetle was produced in South Africa using the Super Beetle Curved Windshield and Full Dashboard, but with the traditional torsion bar axle tube assembly in front and the spare tire was placed upright like the Standard Beetle.  An amalgamation of parts from the Standard and Super Beetle made up this car and was never considered a “true” Super Beetle.


Q.  What was the last year of the Super Beetle?


This has always been a popular question, primarily because of confusion between the models.  The last Super Beetle Sedans were made and sold in the 1975 model year (the Standard Beetle Sedan ended production in Germany in 1977).  The Super Beetle Convertible production continued into the 1979 model year with the last ones being made in January 1980 to fill whatever outstanding orders for them.

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