• Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
  • Image Credit: Murilee Martin
The original air-cooled Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle was sold in the United States for the 1946 through 1979 model years, and their unmistakable profile was, through at least the late 1980s, everywhere. But these cars were based on 1930s technology, and by the 1970s they were considered underpowered, inefficient, unsafe relics... that just kept running, with or without maintenance. They rusted, or crashed, or just wore out and were replaced by modern subcompacts. Now I see very few of these cars in self-service wrecking yards, but here's a rare Super Beetle that showed up recently in a Denver yard.



The Super Beetle had some major suspension upgrades compared to the original Beetle (which continued to be sold alongside the Super), including a McPherson strut front end. The front bodywork looked a bit different, but they were all Beetles.



These cars loved to rust. Even Arizona and New Mexico Beetles can get rusty. The 1958 Beetle I drove as a teenager in California had spent its life in the allegedly rust-free Golden State, and the floors were rotted out by the time I got it. This '73 has some scary spray-foam rust repairs.



It proved very difficult to get the Type 1 engine to comply with tightening United States tailpipe-emission regulations (and few VW owners kept the valves adjusted, so most of these engines ran like crap). For 1973, this 1600 produced just 46 horsepower when new.



You shifted into reverse by pushing down on the shifter and moving it into the second-gear position, hence the weird shift-pattern diagram.


Big and luxurious, according to this ad.

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