Beetle derivatives

While production of the standard Beetle continued, a Type 1 variant called the Super Beetle, produced from model year 1971 to 1979 (1302s from 1971 to 1972, and 1303s from 1973 onwards), offered MacPherson strut front suspension, better turning radius (despite having a 20 mm (3/4 in) longer wheelbase), and approximately double the usable space in the front luggage compartment, due to the stretched “nose” of the vehicle and relocation of the spare tire from a vertical to a horizontal position.

1972 Super Beetles had a slightly larger rear window, larger front brakes, and four rows of vents on the engine lid. The tail lights now incorporated reversing lights. The front seats incorporated headrests, and the steering wheel was changed to four spokes for safety reasons. A socket for the VW Dealer Diagnosis was fitted inside the engine compartment.

In 1973, a padded dashboard, 2-speed heater fan, higher rear mudguards, a more aerodynamically curved windscreen and larger tail lights (nicknamed ‘elephant’s feet’) were added.

1975 and later Super Beetles had rack and pinion steering, and a larger license plate lamp housing below the engine lid. The front indicators were moved into the bumper bars on European models. Carburetors were replaced by Air Flow Control (AFC) Fuel Injection on U. S. and Canadian Beetles, a derivative of the more complex Bosch fuel injection system used in the Volkswagen Type III.

In 1976, the Super Beetle and 1300 were discontinued (though convertibles remained Super Beetles) and replaced with an ‘improved’ standard Beetle with 1600cc engine, IRS rear suspension, front disc brakes, blinkers in the front bumpers, elephant’s foot tail lights and rubber inserts in the bumper bars.

The Super Beetle (VW 1302 and 1303 series, also called Type 113) is not the only Type 1 variant; other VWs under the Type 1 nomenclature include the Karmann Ghia and the VW 181 utility vehicle, as well as the Brasilia and the Australian Country Buggy (locally produced in Australia using VW parts).

The Type 2 transporter (“bus”) is based on the Beetle T1 platform with very similar mechanicals, but with a box shaped body and driver placed over the front wheels. This variant would inspire a generation of compact vans, and later minivans in capacity and size.

Also, as mentioned below, Type 3 and Type 4 were all developments of the original Porsche design.


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