Information from book "VW BEETLE SPECIFICATION GUIDE 1968-1980" by Richard Copping  

1973 - Beetles built between 1 August 1972 and 31 July 1973

The 1973 model year saw the Super Beetle modified to incorporate a prominent curved windscreen and a radically different style of dashboard, the car now being branded as the 1303 to denote this progression. Developed out of fear that US safety legislation would shortly demand a greater distance between the driver/front seat passenger and the windscreen than the 1302 range afforded, the expense involved in the advance was In vain, as any such plans were aborted by the American authorities. Although the modernistic dashboard of the 1303 was frowned on by many Beetle owners and not just diehards, the curved screen was undoubtedly suited to the Cabriolet - the hood seeming to meld into the screen, something not achieved previously.

Date

Chassis no.

Change

Facelift model 1303, 1303S - Super Beetle

1 Aug

133 2 000 004

The 1303 retained the MacPherson struts, wider bonnet shape, rounder front wings, larger two-tier boot with spare wheel lying flat and double-jointed rear axles of the 1302 series. The facelift involved the following items.

Windscreen sharply curved, Increasing overall size by 42 per cent - Improving both forward vision and the aerodynamics of the vehicle (known by some as the 'Panorama' Beetle).

Revised shape of the windscreen resulted in a shorter boot lid and elongated roof panel. Modified wind­screen wipers and blades were required to ensure the sweep was adequate with the larger area.

Panel below window and before boot lid redesigned to accommodate curved screen - included nineteen louvres (for fresh-air intake system). Middle three louvres shorter than the rest to make room for windscreen washer nozzle.

'Chrome' VW emblem deleted from boot lid - although early press release Images of the new car show the badge as still being in place.

Black plastic push button on boot lid handle (press release and launch brochure Images show chromed push button).

Additional short strip of grooved anodized trim above traditional strip at top of front quarter panel.

Rear wings reshaped - more rounded/bulging - to accommodate much larger and rounder tail-light clusters (soon known by enthusiasts as 'elephant foot' tail lights). New three-section lens cluster: top (orange) Indica­tor; middle (red) rear light, brake function and reflector; and bottom (clear) reversing light where fitted, meld straight with wing - i.e. lack metalwork of previous tail lights. (Note dealer model year preview which states rear lights were 'ready glazed for the addition of reversing lights'.)

Forty-two louvres below rear window compared to fifty on flat-screen Beetles.

Interior dominated by totally redesigned dashboard made possible by the design and shape of the new windscreen. Unlike previous cars either with metal dash or padded covering of classic shape, the 1303 dash was a plastic moulded affair capable of deforming on impact. Although still austere in comparison to the dashboard of many a contemporary vehicle, the 1303 dashboard more closely mirrored the appearance of the products of other manufacturers. Fresh-air vents with directional flaps sat into a raised moulded section which ran around the perimeter of the top section of the dashboard closest to the windscreen. In similar but even more pronounced vein, the moulded shroud for the speedometer stood proud of the rest of the top section of the dash, with the single gauge being fully visible over the steering wheel for the driver. Behind the raised section of the upper part of the dash and following the contour of the windscreen was a heat and fresh-air channel comprising forty-two air louvres (providing faster, more efficient demisting etc. than the vents that were part of the flat-screen models). Below the section of the dashboard described was a flat-fronted section, with a width corresponding to that of a radio and an extra on all models. This section housed rocker switches to switch on lights, emergency hazard warning lights (previously pull knobs), heated rear screen (optional extra) etc., in easy reach of the driver, plus for selected models a handbrake warning light and rectangular clock. The gear-change pattern, illustrated on the ashtray of the flat-screen models, was Included on a slightly raised and 'shiny' piece of plastic within this section and almost Immediately below the speedometer. A blanking panel for a radio formed the central part of this area (above the central tunnel and Inline with the gear lever) and part of the glovebox lid (in front of the passenger.) Finished in black as standard for some Special Edition models this section was overlaid with a mock wood trim. The glovebox was opened by a rotary-type catch, as per the flat-screen cars. The lower section of the dash was angled away from the car's occupants and towards the bulkhead. The central section included an ashtray and two turn knobs (In the style of those used on the flat-screen Beetles, including blue directional arrows on the flat cen­tre section), to control the fresh-alr flow, while the area in front of the passenger seat was a continuation of the glovebox lid. A fuse box of amended design was fixed to the underneath of the boot section - i.e., below the dashboard and above the frame tunnel within the car.

Glovebox divided into three separate compartments - full length in top section, unequal division lower section. Although easier to keep tidy than the single space glovebox of the flat-screen Beetles, the compart­ments had the effect of reducing overall storage capacity. 1303 glovebox lid didn't open flat, denying use as a 'picnic' feature to carry a cup.

Date

Chassis no.

Change

Range availability UK and US market

1 Aug

133 2 000 004

UK range available without special order:

1200

1300A (basic trim as per 1200, but with 1285cc engine.)

1300 1303 1303S US range:

Custom - with or without sunroof, manual or semi-automatic Super Beetle - with or without sunroof, manual or semi-automatic Super Beetle convertible - manual or semi-automatic Sport Bug - based on Super Beetle, manual only.

General modifications

1 Aug

113 2 000 001

Gear lever moved back towards driver by 40mm - lever shortened accordingly and position of handbrake similarly adjusted.

1 Aug

113 2 000 001

Front seats mounted on pyramid-style structures for safety reasons and to facilitate greater seat adjustment. Rear legs of seats travelled in new slot type tracks. Backwards/forwards movement controlled by 'handles' fixed to the frame tunnel. Described in dealer preview literature thus:

'Luxury new front seats.

Contoured backrest for greater support when cornering. When the backrest is folded down, it is held down automatically, which makes it easy to reach through to the rear seat.

Additional lumber support for more comfort.

Easily adjusted to 84 different positions.

Strengthened floor positions for safety.'

1 Aug

113 2 000 002

Ashtray in rear of car (where fitted) - now finished in black plastic, previously chrome.

1 Aug

1132000 002

New style of air filter for all engines except 34PS. Large near-oblong plastic box containing conventional paper filter allowing easy change without mess; previously oil-bath filter.

1 Aug

113 2 000 002

Vent pipe from oil filler with rubber valve discontinued (crankcase ventilation).

1 Aug

113 2 000 003

Diaphragm spring clutch, formerly coil spring clutch.

1 Aug

113 2 075 826

1200 model - sealing plugs, lubrication holes and tapped holes deleted from specification.

1 Aug

113 2 031 720

Emden-built cars - noise suppression on warm air hose between heat exchanger and body (previously flexible metal tube).

Later modifications

25 Sept

113 2 196 230

31 PICT-4 carburettor - new thermostat for accelerator pump.

7 Nov

1132297 983

Gear ratios amended, previous ratio shown in brackets: 4th 0.931 (0.883)

1st 3.78 (3.80)

Reverse 3.79 (3.80).

10 Nov

113 2 302 030

Oil deflector ring discontinued on exhaust valve.

21 Nov

113 2 360 845

Brake cable - twelve wire strands, previously nineteen.

23 Nov

1132362 151

Foam float - 30 PICT-3 carburettor, previously hollow.

4 Dec

113 2 380 035

Four lead terminals - previously five - dual-circuit brake warning light.

5 Dec

1132376 816

Ductile studs on cylinder head; previously tensile stud.

4 Jan 197:

133 2 445 273

US models: alternator with voltage regulator replaced DC generator with control box.

11 Jan

113 2 452 529

Semi-automatic - parking 'brake'.

22 Jan

113 2 509 096

Lower joint protector discontinued on joint steering shaft.

Date

Chassis no.

Change

29 Jan

133 2518621

WB3 distributor introduced (US models: twin vacuum advance discontinued - not California cars).

1 Feb

113 2 522 922

Galvanized pulley for engine and generator 'V' belt; previously painted black.

7 Feb

113 2 529 939

Tandem brake master cylinder - one brake light switch, previously two.

5 Mar

153 2 541 768

Cabriolet rear window positioned 30mm higher up on canvas roof.

23 Mar

113 2 687 765

New twin preheater tubes - inlet manifold and exhaust box; previously single tube. Tailpipes altered in both length and diameter.

8 May

113 2 797 156

Heater flap regulator with springs on floor vent ducts - heat exchangers; previously spiral springs on lever mountings.

10 May

133 2 802 561

Fuel tank with full-flow filter in fuel line - drainer discontinued; previously strainer in fuel tank.

12 Jul

1132986 992

Spark plugs - gap now 0.6mm, previously 0.7mm.

1974-Beetles built between 1 August 1973 and 31 July 1974

With the launch of the Passat taking place just a couple of months before the start of the 1974 model year and work proceeding at fever pitch to bring the Golf into production, noteworthy changes to the Beetle's specification tended to be restricted to trim packages and the advent of a series of special limited edition models during the model year. The launch of the Scirocco in February/March of 1974 - essentially the Golf with a sporty body - and the press launch of the Golf in May both detracted from the Beetle's long-lived supremacy, while cessation of Beetle manufac­ture at Wolfsburg in July 1974 in favour of the Golf confirmed that Volkswagen's direction for the future had fundamentally changed.

Date

Chassis no.

Change

Range adjustments and modifications

1 Aug

114 2 000 001

Note: some models not available for selected markets. Range adjustments listings refer primarily to the 134 2 000 005 home market.

VW 1200

Revamped for the new model year; key changes were as follows.

Large 'elephant foot' tail light; previously style replaced for the '68 model on 1500 and 1300 cars. Rear wing shape adjusted accordingly.

Euro-shape bumpers finished in matt black with silver tape stuck to central section; previously blade-style bumpers (but without overriders) of the type fitted to Deluxe Beetles up to and including the '67 model year. Boot handle and engine lid catch also finished in matt black.

Decorative grilles on front wings discontinued.

VW 1200L

Fully chromed bumpers, external trim as per Deluxe models of earlier years, through ventilation (crescent­shaped air vents behind rear side windows, air intake louvres in boot lid etc., but note not fan-assisted), two- speed wipers with auto park and reversing lights.

Interior trim included pocket on driver's door, rear parcel shelf. Available with both 34PS engine and 44PS (1300) engine (with 44PS engine marketed as VW 1300 in, for example, Britain).

VW 1303

Continuation of 1303 with standard and Deluxe, or L specification, plus larger 1600 engine S model, again with standard and Deluxe specification. Cabriolet offered as an LS model only. New to the range is the VW 1303A - effectively an economy version with the 34PS engine, black bumpers and minimal trim.

Bodywork and interior

1 Aug

1 Aug

1 Aug

1 Aug

114 2 000 001

134 2 000 005

134 2 000 005

134 2 000 005

Sills strengthened in region of jacking point.

1303 windscreen ventilation amended - distinct and separate outlet louvres to right and left; previously full width arrangement with forty-two louvres.

Glovebox catch now required use of finger and thumb to pinch the sides of a near rectangular catch; previ­ously rotary latch.

US models only. New, larger, sturdier reinforced bumpers with telescopic dampers/shock absorbers capable of resisting accident damage at speeds of 5mph or less (to comply with latest US state requirements). Reinforced panels and redesigned brackets for new style bumper mounts.

Technical, mechanical and electrical changes

1 Aug

1 Aug

1 Aug

134 2 000 001

114 2 000 001

114 2 007 917

1303 based models - self-stabilizing steering, achieved by modification of MacPherson strut suspension to give negative rather than positive steering roll radius.

Alternator with voltage regulator replaced DC generator with control box (European market; US cars had alternator from 4 Jan 1973).

31 PICT-4 carburettor - replaceable thermostat; previously non-replicable.

Later modifications

11 Sept

24 Sept

24 Sept

1142 147 150 1142 153 057 114 2 165 704

Accelerator pump now with vent-hole on 31 PICT-4 carburettor; previously without. Headlight reflector and lens bonded; previously separate.

Catch for backrest on forward folding backrest discontinued.

19 Oct

114 2 248 672

Lubrication holes and plugs discontinued on track rod joints.

21 Jan 1974

114 2 458 359

Cover for oil pressure switch.

29 Jan

114 2 487 143

Captive nuts welded onto stabilizer bar mounting to underside of frame; previously threaded sockets.

Feb

114 2 489 588

Wash-wipe simultaneous with intermittent wipe relay where fitted.

19 Feb

114 2 509 962

Rear drain tube for steel sunroof ran to side of engine compartment; previously ran to rear quarter panel above running board.

11 Apr

1142683 124

Redesign of front seat backrest - similar in style to that of the VW Passat.

12 Jun

114 2 802 587

Vacuum advance retard only replaced by combined centrifugal and vacuum advance retard on 34PS distribu­tor.

 

1975 Beetles built between 1 August 1974 and 31 July 1975

As the Golf went into series production, en masse modifications improvements to the Beetle's specification were significantly reduced. That having been said, one change for the European market at least made the latest models instantly identifiable, while US cars benefited from fuel injection.

Date

Chassis no.

Change

1 Aug

115 2 000 001

Front bumper of all cars except those destined for North America and Japan altered to accept indicators; pre­viously Indicators located on top of wings.

1 Aug

115 2 000 001

Bumper brackets front and rear of car redesigned and strengthened as single bracket, also now incorporated slot for tow rope; previously Y-shaped bracket with welded on towing eye (European market).

1 Aug

115 2 000 001

Rear valance now humped single sheet metal; previously double-skinned metal flat In appearance (European market).

1 Aug

115 2 000 001

Licence plate cover containing bulb to illuminate plate at night now made of plastic rather than metal as pre­viously; can be identified by nineteen corrugations on upper surface.

1 Aug

115 2 000 001

Tailpipes on 1200 model black; previously chromed. Chromed hubcaps deleted from 1200 specification and replaced by plastic caps to cover the wheel centres and nuts. Door and side panelling simplified (little more than a hardboard sheet). Glovebox lid discontinued on home market models but not all export destinations (e.g., UK).

1 Aug

115 2 000 001

Clutch cable rerouted to reduce effort required to operate pedal.

1 Aug

115 2 000 001

Electronic voltage regulator; previously mechanical.

1 Aug

135 2 000 001

1303 range now with rack and pinion steering; previously worm and roller. Steering damper discontinued as a result on these models.

1 Aug

135 2 000 001

1303 range no longer adorned with either L or S suffixes on the badge at the rear of the car.

1 Aug

135 2 000 005

Cars destined for the North American market and Japan fitted with 50PS Bosch L-Jetronic fuel-injected engine, exhaust pump and, at least for California, catalytic converter. Designed to meet California's strin­gent emission regulations and to pre-empt the inevitable extension to other US states. Single-skin valance humped as per European models (for the specific purpose of housing the catalytic converter). Single tailpipe on exhaust exits from right-hand end of valance. US cars therefore now ran exclusively on unleaded fuel. Petrol filler neck amended to suit unleaded fuel nozzles. (The words 'Fuel injection' replaced 'Volkswagen' on all engine compartment lids.)

Later modifications

16 Jan 1975

115 2 160 733

Screen wash washer bottle fitted with strainer.

1976 Beetles built between 1 August 1975 and 31 July 1976; 1977 Beetles built between 1 August 1976 and 31 July 1977; 1978- Beetles built between 1 August 1977 and 19 January 1978*

*The Cabriolet continued in production until 10 January 1980, the only significant change of its final years occurring in 1977, when horsehair used in the make-up of the hood was replaced by modern foam material.

The 1976 model year saw the Beetle Saloon range reduced to just two models, both of which were based on the trailing arm, swing axle, torsion-bar 1200. Offered as a basic model and with a full package of L trimmings, the car was generally available with the 34PS engine, although some markets were offered the 50PS engine in addition to, or instead of, the smaller unit. Cabriolets continued to be based on the MacPherson strut, curved-screen 1303.

The oil-bath air cleaner was finally replaced on the 1200 model with the now familiar dry paper cleaner, with plastic housing and paper cleaner. Inlet air preheating was now thermostatically controlled.

The VW 1200L with 50PS engine was fitted with both a compensating spring on the rear axle and front disc brakes. The US Custom model was upgraded In trim specification to match the 1200L and continued to come with the 50PS fuel- injected engine and its attendant attributes, plus double-joint rear axle and drum brakes all round; the last two features remained throughout a characteristic of such cars.


Information from book "VW BEETLE SPECIFICATION GUIDE 1968-1980" by Richard Copping