2021 Shannons Spring Timed Online Auction
1970 Volkswagen Beetle 'Karmann' Cabriolet (RHD)
This lot is no longer available
Designed by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, the Beetle first entered production in 1939 and went on to break just about every sales record in the book, going on to sell more than 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 to improve performance and drivability. Volkswagen broadened the appeal of the Beetle by adding a stylish sports model - the Karmann Ghia - and an open-topped Cabriolet, also developed by Wilhelm Karmann's coachbuilding concern in Osnabruck. 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 had additional bracing with reinforcement rails compensating for the lack of a steel roof. Because of its coachbuilder roots the Cabriolet was considerably more expensive to produce than its mass-produced closed cousin and was also based on the more up-market Deluxe model, utilising the most powerful engine available. The Beetle Cabriolet remained in production until 1979, with just over 330,000 made (a tiny fraction of overall Beetle numbers) and original examples today are highly collectable as a result. The Cabriolet was only officially sold in Australia in 1961 and, taking into account private imports since, estimates place the total population here in the 150-200 range.