1972 Volkswagen Beetle 'S' Sedan
Designed by Dr Ferdinand Porsche as mass transportation for a heavily industrialised Germany in the mid-1930s, the Volkswagen entered production in 1939 but it wasn’t until 1945 that Beetles began rolling off the line at Wolfsburg in large numbers. By the early 1970s, the Beetle had surpassed the Model T’s incredible total of 15 million cars and ultimately remained in production until very recently – testimony to the qualities inherent in Dr Porsche’s original design. Development of the Beetle was continuous, the original 1100cc model giving way to 1300 and 1500 versions in the mid-1960s with the extra power matched by an all-synchro gearbox. In 1969 the optional ‘L’ (for luxury) package was introduced on both 1300 and 1500 models with features such as full carpeting, padded dashboard, lockable glovebox and reversing lights as standard equipment. Big news in 1970 was the radical – for Volkswagen at any rate – shift from torsion bar front suspension to MacPherson struts, along with the standardisation of a double-jointed back axle and the addition of front disc brakes (standard on L and LS models). These MacPherson strut models had vastly improved handling whilst retaining the traditional Beetle virtues of reliability, excellent build quality and - of course - fuel economy. Designated the 1302 series and known locally as the ‘Superbug S’, the new Beetles performance was boosted thanks to new twin-port 1300 and 1600 engines. Australian-assembled Beetles saw further improvements made in 1972 with additional boot lid louvres, a four-spoke steering wheel, ignition lock, US-style high back seats and extra dash vents. The Beetle continues to enjoy a loyal following around the globe, with the owner well supported by marque clubs and specialists.