We all love spoiling our Beetles with period accessories to make them a bit more special, but Volkswagen’s being doing it since the seventies. Here’s our ultimate guide to some of the most popular limited edition models that were available here in the UK…
June Beetle (1970)
Resplendent in L20E Signal Orange, the June Beetle represented the first official Beetle sales campaign. It was based on the 1500 and featured over-riders, wheeltrims and a heated rear screen as standard. Some were also made available to Italian VW dealerships. It was priced at £812 08s 10d.
Super Vee Beetle (1971)
The Super Vee was a dealer option both in the UK and across mainland Europe and was based on a 1300 but with 4.5×15 Sprintstar wheels, over-riders, Hella halogen driving lamps, a three-spoke sports leather steering wheel with Wolfsburg crest, tunnel tray, sports gearknob, side transfers anda unique boot badge. The kit was also available minus the sports wheels.
Marathon Beetle (1972)
Produced to celebrate the world record production figure of 15,007,034, the Marathon or ‘World Champion’ Beetle was available as a 1300 or 1302S with special Marathon metallic paint (L96M) and what’s now popularly known as ‘Marathon’ sports wheels, made by Lemmerz. New owners also got a certificate, keyring and souvenir gold metal medallion. It’s interesting to see this particular car is still running on crossplies!
GT Beetle (1972/3)
The attractive GT was based on the European 1300S. It featured a torsion bar chassis but with a 1584cc engine and 4.5J Lemmerz GT wheels shod in radial ply tyres. It was available in Lemon Yellow, Tomato Red and Apple Green with black wing beading, front disc brakes, cloth seats, padded dash and beige door trims. It also adopted bigger 1303 rear lamps. The ‘GT Beetle’ bootlid badge was a dealer accessory and was available in either a polished or matt black finish. The advert below boasts that it cost only £79 more than the stock 1300 which sounds like excellent value to us! 2,500 were made to commemorate the arrival of the 300,000 Beetle on British shores. The majority of GTs were Lemon Yellow.
Jeans Beetle (1974)
Originally marketed in Europe alongside the City and Big Beetle, the Jeans was the only member of the trio to be officially imported into the UK. It was based on a humble 1200, its funky denim upholstery, striking Tunis Yellow paint, black painted brightwork and 4.5J Lemmerz rims were its most distinctive features. 1600 were imported to the UK.
Sun Beetle (1975)
Hitting UK dealerships in August 1975, the aptly named 1300 Sun Beetle was available in a variety of oranges and yellows and was treated to cloth seat inserts, a padded dash, steel sliding sunroof, rubber bumper inserts, Lemmerz GT wheels and a heated rear window.
Chocolate Beetle (1975)
Another easily forgotten special, the deliciously named Chocolate Beetle took the form of a 1300cc 1303 painted in Agate Brown metallic with a beige interior and dogtooth cork cloth seats, wood inserts in the dash, a black plastic Kamei rain cover over the louvres in the bootlid and Lemmerz GT wheels.
Last Edition Beetle (1978)
This is what VW called the last 640 Emden built 1200 L Beetles exported to the UK for the 1978 model year, although only the 300 Diamond Silver cars with the special numbered dash plaques on the glovebox lid are generally recognised as the Last Edition models. The Marine cloth seats (that never lasted well), black plastic padded dash, rear parcel shelf and heated rear window distinguish it from other silver Bugs from the seventies. The car below is actually number 300.
Silver Beetle (1981)
The first of the Mexican special editions availabe here was made to commemorate production of the 20 millionth Beetle on 15 May 1981. It was a 1200 in Diamond Silver with wheel trims, black side stripes, ’20 million’ badge on the bootlid and black and white tartan seats. 2000 were made intiailly, with a further run of 1700 being made from February 1982.
Jeans Bug (1982)
Revisiting the denim theme, the Jeans Bug sported either Mars Red or Alpine White paint with the tailpipes, side trim, bumpers, window frames and headlamp surrounds all painted black. 1000 were produced in total.
Special Bug (1982)
Available in either Mars Red or Black Metallic, again, the Special Bug had its various bits of chromework and trim painted black. Inside there was special leatherette upholstery with black and gold tartan trim. Nice.
Aubergine Beetle (1983)
The appropriately named Aubergine was a Mexican bug made especially for the European market and was predominantly, you guessed it, aubergine both inside and out. Roughly 3,300 were produced.
Ice Blue Beetle (1983)
Again, another special for Europe, based on a 1200 with Ice Blue metallic paint and striking black and silver sidestripes. The blue/grey tweed Panama seats with headrests looked classy.
Sunny Bug (1984)
Back on to the summer theme again with the Sunny Bug which sported Sunny Yellow paint and what’s got to be the most easily stainable yellow velour seats in existence. A low mileage one of these was up for sale recently at a dealer in the South East for £4,750.
Velvet Red Beetle (1984)
Another 1984 offering, the Velvet Red had a distinctive floral graphic on the side, a very eighties looking red and blue striped upholstery and a padded dash. Incidentally, a friend of mine had one of these from virtually new and it was lovely. 2,600 were produced in 1984 and a further 400 in 1985.
Jubilee Beetle (1985)
The stylish Jubilee was launched to commemorate 50 years of the Beetle and represented the final Beetles available for the European market – 3,150 were made in total. The paint was Pewter metallic which worked beautifully with the posh looking green tinted glass all round. There was a special silver ’50 years’ badge on the front quarter and bootlid.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this drive through of limited edition models officially available at UK main VW agents – but if you know of any other oddball dealer specials – let us know!
Special thanks and an acknowlegement to Special Edition Beetles for the source of this information.
The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage