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VW 1302. The first Super Beetle

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It had been around for more than twenty years, the VW Type 1. However, Volkswagen held unbridled faith in the evergreen and the major carrier of its success. Meanwhile, manufacturers, engineers and designers developed completely new models and applications, but VW still stuck to the Beetle success. In August 1970 (rather: for model year 1971) a new variant came onto the market: the VW 1302, the first Super Beetle. So he has been there for over fifty years.


Fair is fair: the arrival of the 1302 was also born out of a kind of need at VW. When foreign sales stagnated due to the strong market, VW CEO Kurt Lotz opted for a super beetle that could be used as a crisis killer in the short term, the Volkswagen 1302. This ended the career of the VW 1500 (not to be confused with the Type 3 1500, the Beetle was also available as 1966 from 1500). The new Beetle got this name because Simca already used the model name 1301. In fact, VW with this name also distanced itself a bit from the other Beetles. The VW 1302 was a substantially differently constructed Type 1 than what people were used to. The big difference was mainly in the construction of the front train and the increased luggage space.

Adapted and substantially different chassis

The torsion bar suspension construction at the front, used for many years, was in favor of McPherson on the 1302, with a stabilizer and wishbones. The track width also increased considerably at the front. At the rear, Volkswagen mounted the angled wishbones (Schräglenker rear axle) and double homokinetic couplings. The new construction also meant that the chassis head got a different configuration. This was now flat and served as an attachment point for the stabilizer, among other things. This gave the new Beetle family member a completely different driving characteristic. In addition, the VW 1302 gained considerable space thanks to the new suspension construction.

Space saving

That space gain was visible from the outside. The nose became more prominent and also received a reinforced bumper. Under the enlarged boot lid, a luggage space was found that had almost doubled: from 140 liters to 260 liters. Moreover, the spare wheel could now be placed flat. In that sense, the VW 1302 was a step forward, and practically (even) more usable than the existing Beetles. Incidentally, these had proven their usefulness over the years. In fact, the VW 1200 and VW 1300 simply continued to exist alongside the new 1302.

Motor adaptations

The VW 1302 was also available with the new double port engines. Of course, these were basically the same as the power sources already on the VW shelves. Due to the standing and shifted oil cooler, VW also added a facility that also cooled the third cylinder, which solved an Achilles heel. The renewed 1.285 cc and 1.584 cc engines found their way to the 1302. In the latter case, the 1302 got the addition S. The 1.300 cc variant was now called AB and now generated 44 HP. The 1.584 cc engine (AD) was good for 50 HP. The latter was certainly torquey thanks to the double port adjustment. Incidentally, depending on the market, the 1302 was also supplied with other 1.3 and 1.6 engines, such as the M157 Abgasreinigungsmotor. Furthermore, the 1302 was also available with the old well-known 1.192 cc engine from the 1200. Those who ordered the 1302 with 1.6 engine also got disc brakes on the front wheels. In combination with the 1.3 engine, the disc brakes could be ticked as an option. In combination with all engines, the machine could be ordered, although that was also dependent on the country of delivery.

A selection of the further changes

In accordance with good practice, Volkswagen regularly made improvements or adjustments to the Type 1. Sometimes visible, often not. From the start of model year 1971 (so August 1970), VW fitted a thermostat on the oil bath air filter, which better controlled the warm air supply to the carburettor. The engine covers became more convex, due to the higher positioning of the engines. The Solex PICT-3 carburettors have a shut-off valve for the recirculating mixture. VW also took the opportunity from August 1970 to equip the 1300 and 1302 with improved fresh air control, partly due to the use of grilles next to the rear side windows. For model year 1972, the number of cooling air vents on the engine cover of the 1300 and 1302 was increased to 26 and divided into four sections.

Improved ventilation from 1972

More happened for that model year. Volkswagen also changed the wipe / wash installation from August 1971, for example, and was now operated with a lever on the steering column. A safety steering wheel also appeared on the scene for the 1302 (and the 1300). The start of model year 1972 also meant that the VW 1302 and VW 1300 got a further improved fresh air system. Volkswagen maintained the ventilation grilles next to the rear side windows, the interior air now escaped through three slots per side instead of two. They worked well with the existing ventilation options that were renewed from August 1970. The VW 1300 benefited well from such changes, the VW 1200 continued to sing its own song.

L version

And as usual in those years: the buyer could flavor the Beetle with extra packages. This also applied to the 1302. The most popular package was the L version, with an attractive package of extras. A grip. The L got, among other things, carpet with better sound insulation, a lockable glove compartment, bumpers with rubber inlay, a padded dashboard, an anti-glare mirror, two-speed blower and reversing lights. And a number of other things, such as the L in the type designation.

Convertible

Of course: VW also made a convertible from the 1302, and this replaced the 1500 convertible. This 1302 convertible was exclusively available in the LS version, which meant a lot of luxury. In addition, the convertible got an improved retractable roof locking system. The Weltmeister version based on the VW 1302 S was also one to remember. This was created because the Volkswagen Beetle became the most produced car in the world on February 17, 1972 with 15.007.034 units. Special rims and the beautiful Marathonblau Metallic (the color of the Beetle that broke the record) made this Weltmeister edition something special, and today it is still considered highly sought after.

The new Super Beetle follows

The VW 1302 was replaced in 1972 by the VW 1303. This Super Beetle was mainly adapted due to American regulations. The hallmark: the elephant-footed rear lights and the panoramic forward. The safety dashboard also caught the eye. Nevertheless, the VW 1302 showed that there was still a lot of stretch in the development possibilities of the Beetle. Certainly under the skin it had become an essentially different car. However, the fairly rapid arrival of the 1303 soon put an end to the VW 1302, which, with a production period of two years, became one of the shortest produced cars in VW history.


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12 Comments

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  1. TX-63-38 That was the badge of the Spectacled Beetle of my Old Lord! What a car! With a towbar underneath, even with a Kip Dwerghoen caravan we went on holiday to Italy twice. Always exciting whether we would make it up the mountain road, otherwise the passengers would get out and Pa would only go up and we walked behind it. A caravan was still quite unique in the 2s and that is why we have been helped several times by the local population with a push upwards. Even once with a farmer's tractor. With every oil change, a can of graphite was always added! The final mileage was 60 with no significant engine problems. Great feat, I thought so… ..

  2. Hello, you have to put everything in its time! I drove to work with my new beetle in 1972 and was one of the faster boys (young) I have meanwhile driven almost everything from the VW group, even Scania where I worked for 40 years, and if I looked at it simply technically and as a mechanic the beetle a solid car! Still have a lot of fun with this 1303 convertible!

  3. Impractical, inefficient, bad brakes, bad handling, bad comfort. And made from my Grandma's bicycle. What was / is good is the marketing of VW! Because the youth will fall for it with open eyes, pays quietly expensive repairs, and much more expensive insurance, because a lot of theft and damage. Not for nothing say to the police;
    Nuthatches, after another we!

    • Yes, that marketing is actually the only thing they do well.
      I could set up a whole tree here about that company, but don't.

    • My uncle from Galder (south of Breda) had a beetle. That beetle was "you of it" (we had an AMI and it was quite derogatory about power and stuff). I was sometimes allowed to ride. In the back climb through the front door over the front seat, roar in the back and off we went. My uncle ripped over the cobblestones along the thick trees in the Mastbos, bouncing and sliding. As a child I was terrified, but I was tough. Not a VW for me, still not.

  4. I drove a Volkswagen 1973 in 1302. Thought it was a terrible thing; the car was one and a half years old, so on gasoline, it was very shaking in the steering wheel and always holding back.
    I have never had such a rotten car !! After that time a Passat and then Audi 80 and 100.
    I have been a customer at garage Schueler since 1981 and from that time VW Polo, two Passat's, twice Audi 80, VW Golf and now, to full satisfaction, an Audi A4 avant S-line and a VW UP !.
    Although we now live in Uddel, we will continue to maintain CLASS at car company Schueler.

  5. In 1974 I turned 18 and driving lessons in… a VW Beetle, first a green one, then a white one. They were running on LPG, refueling had to be under the valve, in the nose and (what a time!) They just didn't give the gas away! Too bad for the "driving down" that it had an automatic choke and the examiner immediately wanted to do a turn backwards ... I got a downside because it was not a smooth line but a "dotted line ..."! The Lever was always running, but with above-average wind forces you didn't have enough hands to keep it within the lines!
    Never drove a "Beetle" myself after obtaining the pink paper, but a number of Simca's because they were much cheaper (if you missed a beep or kraakje along the way, you had to stop immediately and search because then a piece of your Simca would have fallen off! )

  6. I have a 1303 S Convertible on gas. Super economical. 1 in 10. Owned since 1982. Never seen winter. I have it for sale now. Am 72 years old. 06/39675033

  7. Could be, but what a beautiful car it is. Never had bad luck and had a lot of driving pleasure. Now that it never drives again, it is really disappointing. We are spoiled with the current cars. Just keep the good memories.
    That also applies to the Citroën order duck. 2 and in the event of a breakdown, can be repaired with simple tools. Last year I saw one in a parking lot. What a small car. Was that the case in the past?

  8. Well Henk,

    you dare, oops-oops. from now on, just look over your shoulders before setting off. You thirst something
    not good to write about the beetle. Thank God I never had to drive it. As a child liked
    I've been a dragon of a thing, and still are. So I agree with Henk, we will soon be punished together!

    Bass.

    • Haha. I can make it even stronger: that VW bus is of course just such an idiot. And yet still popular with certain people. Well, everyone has their own taste.

  9. Well. The beetle. Incomprehensible that it was such a success. The car was impractical, hardly any luggage space, cramped, only two-door, had minimal road holding, was unwieldy and slow (even then), was bare and not cheap. Almost every competitor had better cars on offer. Man is a strange creature that sometimes makes strange choices.

    A size of mine had a 1303S with 1.6 engine and a curved windshield. Should be the fastest version, but it was impossible to blame. Drink like a Bavarian during the Oktoberfesten: 1 in 6! It drove him crazy. Funny that his door key also fitted on the lock of a Porsche 911.

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