1962 Volkswagen Beetle Karmann Cabriolet (RHD)
|Engine||Flat 4-cylinder, 1200cc|
Designed by Dr Ferdinand Porsche, the Volkswagen Type 1 first entered production in 1939 and went on to break just about every sales record in the book, going on to sell in excess of 20 million units. Although recognisably the same car, the Beetle underwent continuous development over the years, with bigger, more powerful engines and the switch to fully synchromesh gearboxes improving performance and driveability. Volkswagen broadened the appeal of the Beetle by adding a stylish sports model – the Karmann Ghia – and an open-topped cabriolet derivative, also developed by Wilhelm Karmann’s coachbuilding concern in Osnabrück. Introduced in 1949, the Type 15 Beetle Cabriolet was both stylish and practical, with a well-designed and beautifully finished folding top. The hood was of sandwich construction and, on the early cars, came with a glass rear screen initially, making it completely watertight. Virtually hand-made, the Cabriolet featured additional bracing with reinforcement rails to compensate for the lack of a roof, resulting in minimal loss of rigidity. Based on the Deluxe model and utilising the most powerful engine available, the Cabriolet was considerably more expensive than its closed cousin and mechanical improvements mirrored those of the saloons. From July 1957 the small rear window was increased in size to improve visibility, along with modern turn indicators replacing the semaphores in August 1960. Genuine Cabriolets built after 1961 can be identified by the later-style Karmann badge found on the right-hand front quarter panel. The Beetle Cabriolet ultimately remained in production until 1979, with just over 330,000 made (representing just a fraction of overall Beetle numbers) and original examples are highly collectable today as a result, particularly early cars.