Air-cooled VW History

VW Beetle changes from 1949 to 1979

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1949 Chassis numbers 91 922 - 138 554
License plate indentation on rear decklid dropped
Grooved bumper with flared guards introduced
Hubcaps featured small VW logo
Inside pull cable release for front hood; eliminating lock on old style
L-shaped twist handle
Deluxe interior features:
Ivory dash panels and knobs
8-day clock
Two-spoke steering wheel
Rear bolster pillows
Solex carburetor introduced as standard equipment
Air flap control on fan shroud discontinued
Starting crank hole dropped on Deluxe model

1950 Chassis numbers 138 555 - 220 471
Hydraulic brakes replace mechanical brakes on Deluxe export models
Cloth Sunroof introduced as an option
Noise mufflers for heating ducts added
T-style heater knob with ninety-degree rotation to lock in place
Inside ventilation controlled by cut out pattern at top of windows
Front and rear ashtrays become standard equipment on Deluxe model
Starting crank hole discontinued on Cabriolet (Late 1950)
Automatic air cooling by thermostatically controlled throttle ring
Fuel mixture heating device (intake heat riser) introduced
Offset piston wrist pin to reduce piston slap
Tougher alloys for exhaust valves and inserts

1951 Chassis numbers 220 472 - 313 829
Chrome garnish molding added to windshield
Wolfsburg crest to front hood above hood handle
Vent flaps added to front-quarter body panels
Double-acting telescopic shocks replace rear lever shocks
Glove box door now standard on convertibles
One heavy valve spring replaces the two used before

1952 Chassis numbers 313 830 - 428 156
Heating control by rotary knob; formerly pull-knob
T type rear hood handle introduced; formerly loop-type
Twin brake and taillights replace single versions
5.50 x 15 inch tires replace 5.00 x 16 tires
A transmission with three synchronized gears replaced the old crash box
Six leaf torsion bars added for increased suspension travel
Bumpers and guards strengthened and enlarged
New rear license plate light housing
Glass vent windows added; formerly vent wings in front-quarter body panels
Window crank makes 3 1/2 turns; formerly 10 1/2 turns
New instrument panel
Single glove box gets a door and replaces the two open bins
Turn signal control moved to steering wheel from dashboard
light moved to center pillar by driver s door
Self-canceling windshield wipers
Crankshaft end play adjustment with three shims
26 PCI carburetor with accelerator pump replaced the old 28 VFIS (Late 1952)
Starting crank hole discontinued on all models.

1953 Chassis numbers 428 157 - 575 414
Oval one-piece rear window replaces split window on March 10, 1953
Changed third and fourth gear ratios
Exterior trim improved with anti-corrosive alloy
Brake fluid reservoir relocated behind spare tire in October 1953; formerly at master cylinder
Lock button added to vent window handles
Handle added to dash ashtray
Changed valve setting to .004
Combination vacuum and mechanical advance distributor added (Late 1953)
Increased generator output to 160 watts

1954 Chassis numbers 575 415 - 722 934
(None noted)
Starter now incorporated with ignition switch; formerly separate button on dashboard
Automatic three-way interior light added
Horsepower increased from 30 to 36 and displacement enlarged to 1192cc (1200 engine)
Larger intake valves
28 PCI carburetor
Cylinder heads redesigned to provide better cooling for the valves and plugs
6.1 to 1 compression
(Late 1954) 6.6 to 1 compression
Break-in driving requirement for engine dropped
Oil bath air cleaner replaces felt element filter

1955 Chassis numbers 722 935 - 929 745
From 1955 the model changes always came in August, meaning that model 1956 started in 8.4.55. This is very confusing, when speaking about model year and the year the car was made are two different things. Model years normally follow all the major changes.
Flashing turn signals mounted low on front fenders, taillights at rear; replaced semaphores (American market)
(None noted)
(None noted)

1956 Chassis numbers 929 746 - 1 246 618
Chromed dual tail pipes replace single pipe on Export and Deluxe models
Black Enamel dual tail pipes are installed on standard models
Heart tail light housings replaced with a redesigned unit with one window only, and moved two inches higher
Bumper overrider bows added (American Market)
Sunroof made of plastic fabric; formerly cloth, and is a little smaller than previous year
Redesigned gas tank yields larger luggage space
Fuel tap filter removed
Tubeless tires introduced
Copper-plated fulcrum plates in differential
Steering wheel spoke (horizontal) moved lower, off-centerHeater knob moved forward
Gear shift handle now is curved instead of straight, and base moved forward
Adjustable front seat backs and wider seatsFront floor heater outlet moved rearward (Late 1956)
Larger oil pump mounting shaft
Number four main bearing clearance modified
Starter motor horsepower increased

1957 Chassis numbers 1 246 619 - 1 600 439
Optional sunroof is again a little smaller than previous year
Ring and pinion ratio changed
Brake pedal leverage increasedAdjustable striker plates fitted to doors
Oil gallery sizes increasedMetal camshaft gear

1958 Chassis numbers 1 600 440 - 2 007 615
Brake drums and shoes widened for faster, surer stops
Frame head reinforced
Rear window and windshield enlarged
Front turn signal lights moved to tops of fenders
Rear deck lid redesigned
Horizontal air inlets replace vertical inlets on Convertible
Third and fourth gear ratio changed
New instrument panel
Radio grille moved left, in front of driver
Flat accelerator pedal replaces roller type
New clutch release assembly with stronger clutch springs

1959 Chassis numbers 2 007 616 - 2 528 667
Anti-sway bar added
Outer front suspension control arm bushings changed to needle roller bearings
Frame reinforced for greater strength
(None noted)
Improved fan belt
Stronger clutch springs added

1960 Chassis numbers 2 528 668 - 3 192 506
Hour-Glass Gemmer steering box is worm and peg instead of worm and roller
Steering damper added for improved handling
Wolfsburg crest on front hood less colorful
Pushbutton door handles replace Refrigerator handle pull-out lever type
Safety recessed steering wheel
Padded sunvisor; formerly transparent plastic
Generator output increased from 160 to 180 watts

1961 Chassis numbers 3 192 507 - 4 010 994
New tunnel-type AB Fully Synchronized transmission
Flatter gas tank yields increased luggage space
Quick-check transparent brake fluid reservoir
Wider front brake shoes and linings
Push-on connectors for the wiring system
Permanently greased tie rod ends
Sunvisor and Sissy Bar grab-handle provided for passenger s side
Pump-type windshield washer
Non-repeat starter switch
1200 engine40hp up from from 36hp
7 to 1 compression ratio
Fuel pump is now located to the right of the distributor
Vacuum advance distributor
Positive crankcase ventilation
Generator stand is no longer cast as part of the case
28 blade cooling fan Lifters & pushrods are no longer a one-piece unit
Valves are now angled in the cylinder heads
28 PICT carburetor with automatic choke introduced
Larger heater pipes

1962 Chassis numbers 4 010 995 - 4 846 835
Spring balanced front hoodLast year semaphores are offered on non-export models
Larger taillights addedWindshield washer use spare tire for air pressure
Gas gauge replaces reserve fuel tap
Sliding covers on heat outlets
Anchor points for seat belts
Progressive type valve springs
Stronger clutch springs

1963 Chassis numbers 4 846 836 - 5 677 118
Wolfsburg hood crest dropped
Nylon window guides
Leatherette headliner introduced
Folding handle for sunroof
Foam insulated sandwich floor mats
Fresh air heating Clean-air engine with redesigned fan housing, muffler, and heat exchangers

1964 Chassis numbers 5 677 119 - 6 502 399
Larger license plate light
Crank-operated sliding steel sunroof replaces the fabric sunroof
Horn actuated by two thumb buttons; formerly by half-ring
Aerated vinyl material replaces non porous leatherette seat upholstery
Bent vacuum pipe; formerly a loop28 PICT-1 Carburetor (Late 1964)

1965 Chassis numbers 115 000 001 - 115 979 202
New chassis numbering system
Windows enlarged; slimmer door and windshield posts
Vent window made smaller, angled back, and lock moved from bottom to side
More powerful windshield wipers and longer wiper blades
Push-button catch on engine lid; formerly T -handle style
Master cylinder and wheel cylinders changed
Thinner, deeply contoured front seats
Increased rear seat knee room
Rear seat folds flat, converts to platform to hold more
Swivel mounted sun visors
Dome light incorporated in rear-view mirror assembly on Convertibles.
Heat control levers mounted on tunnel
New cooling air control system with flaps in the bottom of the fan housing
Heater efficiency improved

1966 Chassis numbers 116 000 001 - 116 1021 298
Ventilating wheel slots; flat hub caps
Ball joint front suspension replaces king pin suspension
Better torsion bars and shocks
Needle wheel bearings replace round wheel bearings
1300 designation added to deck lid
Redesigned outside door handle has round push button (Late 1966)
Larger Rear View Mirror
Emergency blinker switch
Headlight dimmer switch mounted on turn signal
Center-dash defroster outletSemi-circular horn ring
Horsepower increased to 50 and displacement enlarged to 1300cc
30 PICT-1 carburetorCam bearings started

1967 Chassis numbers 117 000 001 - 117 844 892
Single-unit headlights with chrome rim, vertically mounted; fender indented
Parking lights incorporated into front turn signals
Dual master cylinder brake system; front/rear operate independentlyZ-Bar added to rear suspension in an attempt to improve handling
Longer axle length provides wider track in rear
Changed from 6 to 12-volt electrical system (36-amp battery) in middle of year
VOLKSWAGEN nameplate replaces 1300 designation on engine lid
European model has VW1500 emblem
Squared-off looking rear deck lid
Rear bumper overriders redesigned to clear new deck lid
Back-up lights mounted on rear bumper blade
Two-speed windshield wipers
Slimmer outside chrome trim
Left outside mirror becomes standard equipment
Locking buttons on doors
Recessed inside plastic door handles
Driver armrest added
Voltage regulator now mounted under rear seat instead of on generator
Horsepower increased to 53 and displacement boosted to 1500cc
Clutch disk increased in size from 180 to 200mm
130 tooth (200mm) flywheel replaces 109 tooth (180mm) flywheel
Generator increased from 180 to 360 watts with change from 6 to 12 volts

1968 Chassis numbers 118 000 000 - 118 1 016 098
One-piece bumpers; bows an overriders eliminated (bumper height raised)
Automatic stick shift with double jointed rear axles (IRS) added as an option
Gas tank filler moved from under hood to right front fender, spring-loaded flap, with finger groove in body
Front hood air intake louvers
Push button hood release
Flattened door handles with built-in trigger release, door is dimpled for new handle style
Hubcaps are now even flatter than before
Changed from five to four lug
Bigger front and rear brakes
Back-up/brake lights and rear turn signals in single larger housing
Brake fluid reservoir moved from under spare tire to driver side wall inside storage compartment
Federal certification sticker added to door post
Head restraints added to front seat backrests
Combined gas gauge integral with speedometer
Gas gauge is now electrical instead of mechanical
Oil warning light changed from green to red
Fresh air ventilating system
Gear shifter is now straight instead of bent, and larger diameter
Beginning of plastic padded dashes on Bugs
Big black knob added to vent window latch handle
Energy-absorbing collapsible steering column, with locking feature
Ignition switch in steering column (Late 1968)
Front Hood release moved to glove compartment (Late 1968)
Gas filler cover has inside release
Exhaust emission control systemSolex 30 PICT-2 carburetor

1969 Chassis numbers 119 000 001 - 119 1 093 704
Double-jointed rear axle (IRS) for improved ride and handling
Gas tank filler flap has lock, finger groove removed from body
Inside release for gas flap under the right side of the dash
Warning lights in speedometer identified by letters or symbols
Rear window defogger and defroster; electric heating wires on inner surface of glass
Anti-theft ignition switch installed on steering column
Ignition switch has three positions, key can be removed without locking the steering
Front hood release relocated to glove compartment
Day/night rear-view mirror
Warm air outlets at base of doors moved rearward; remote control knobs on door columns (Late 1969)
Tenths of mile indicator for odometer
(None noted)

1970 Chassis numbers
Convertible 150 2000 001 - 150 3100 000
Sedan 110 2000 001 - 110 3096 945
Two sets of horizontal air intake louvers on engine lid
Enlarged front turn signals (combined with side marker lights)
Reflectors mounted on rear bumper
Side reflectors on sides of larger taillight housing (Late 1970)
New third and fourth gears with finer teeth (better mesh and reduced transmission noise)
Tenths of mile indicator on odometer (also appears on late 69 models)
Head restraints reduced in size
Buzzer sounds when door is opened and key is left in ignition
Remote control knobs for warm air outlets discontinued
Lock in glove compartment door
Horsepower increased to 57, displacement enlarged to 1600cc
Added a pressure control valve in lubrication system (Dual relief case)
Solex 30 PICT-3 carburetor
Diaphragm spring clutch replaces coil spring clutch; quicker engagement with less pedal pressure
Special Mention Formula Vee Beetle introduced

1971 Chassis numbers
Convertible 151 2000 001 - 151 3200 000
Sedan 111 2000 001 - 111 3143 118
Super Beetle
introduced MacPherson strut front suspension
Bigger front brakes
Increased luggage space in front compartment
Larger gas tank
Two-speed fresh air blower
Flow-through air system; inside vents abreast rear window
Safety recessed steering wheel
Padded sunvisor; formerly transparent plastic
1600 engine with dual port heads introduced, output from 57 to 60hp
Three part intake manifold
Chrome exhaust valve stems
New combination vacuum/centrifugal advance distributor
Installed the activated charcoal filter for the gas tank fumes
Solex 34 PICT-3 carburetor
New off-set oil cooler (Dog House style) which allows better cooling of #3 cylinder
Pressed-in engine mounting nut on the left side of case
New clutch throw-out assembly and throw-out bearing (Late 1971)
Larger oil pump (Late 1971)
Different camshaft dished, with four rivets instead of three attaching timing gear (Late 1971)
Separate wiring harness added for VW Computer Analysis System

1972 Chassis numbers
Convertible 152 2000 001 - 152 3200 000
Sedan 112 2000 001 - 112 2961 362
Baja Bug introduced
Larger rear window
Air intake louvers on rear hood increased from two to four sets
Transmission third and fourth gear synchronizer rings were modified to prevent fourth gear howling which sometimes resulted from a cold transmission (Late 1972)
Tires changed from 5.60x15 to 6.00x15.
Collapsible steering wheel hub
Column mounted lever for windshield wiper and washer
Cover over rear luggage area behind seat
New easier-to-read speedometer
Many more hoses and complicated gizmos for smog controlExhaust Gas Recirculation introduced (EGR - smog control)
VW Computer Analysis socket added
New distributor with a vacuum retard at idle
New muffler

1973 Chassis numbers
Convertible 153 2000 001 - 153 3200 000
Sedan 113 2000 001 - 113 3021 954
Super Beetle 133 2000 001 - 133 3021 860
Super Beetle
Curved windshield
Big dash, built in speedometer pod
Sports Bug introduced
Huge Elephant s foot circular taillights, combines stop light, turn signal, tail and backup lights
Huge front turn signals
Stronger bumper adds an inch to overall length
Front and rear wheel bearings no longer require periodic lubrication
New heavy duty braced doors
Windshield wiper arms have black finish
Softer transmission mounting with different style mounts
6.00 x 15L tires with 4-1/2 inch wide wheels
New three point mounting front seats adjustable to 77 different positions
Inertia-reel safety belts
Reinforcement of the engine case in the flywheel area near #3 cylinder
Horsepower drops from 60 to 58
New fuel pump redesigned with cutoff valve and made to clear alternator
More durable, easier to operate clutch, Porsche-style pressure plate
Oil drain plug removed from oil strainer cover
Improved intake air pre-heating for faster cold weather starts
Redesigned fresh air systemPaper filter air cleaner

1974 Chassis numbers
Convertible 154 2000 001 - 154 3200 000
Sedan 114 2000 001 - 114 2818 456
Super Beetle 134 2000 001 - 134 2798 165
Super Beetle
Super Beetle and SB Convertible have a bit of negative camber for better tracking under braking conditions
Square glove compartment lock instead of rounded
Self-restoring energy-absorbing front and rear bumpers
Seat belt ignition interlock added
Front seat headrests redesigned and made slightly smaller to give better visibility for a change
Steering wheel made more elastic to give in the event of an accident
Park position for Automatic Stick Shift
Seat belt and brake warning lights combined into single unit on dash
New cylinder head alloy for better heat dissipation
Additional Computer
Analysis sensor reads ignition timing and top dead center(Late 1974)
Alternator has an integral regulator (Late 1974)
Distributor is now vacuum and centrifically activated
Special notice
Love Bug and Sun Bug introduced

1975 Chassis numbers
Convertible 155 2000 001 - 155 3200 000
Sedan 115 2000 001 - 115 2267 815
Super Beetle 135 2000 001 - 135 2267 815
Filler neck has smaller opening for unleaded nozzle
Odometer triggers red warning light EGR in speedometer to notify drivers of service requirements
Electronic fuel injection introduced, with FUEL INJECTION insignia on rear deck lid
Single tailpipe
Increased horsepower; 48 hp, up from 46 (SAE net)
Engine case now made from a better alloy classified as AS21. It retains its original structure and sheds heat better than previous cases
Engine case no longer has a hole for the old mechanical fuel pump
Larger exhaust valve stems for better heat transfer
New redesigned heat exchangers for greater heat output
Installation of redundant battery ground cable with diagnosis contact for more accurate Computer Analysis readings
Clutch pedal pressure eased
California models with catalytic converter require lead-free gasoline
Maintenance intervals extended to 15,000 miles
Special notice
La Grande Bug introduced
Last year of the non-convertible Super Beetle in United States

1976 Chassis numbers
Convertible 156 2000 001 - 156 2175
675Sedan 116 2000 001 - 116 2176 287
All trim components chrome-plated
Automatic Stick Shift option discontinued
Redesigned front seats with improved back adjustments, for added comfort and body supportTwo-speed fresh air blower on all models (Late 1976)
New speedometer with outer scale in MPH and inner scale in KPH
Generator output increased from 160 to 180 watts
Special notice
Super Beetle only offered as Convertible
Beetle has plush appearance with many luxury extras as standard equipment
Two-coat metallic paint (Silver Metallic, Lime Green, Topaz Metallic)
Full carpeting, Sports-style wheel rims
Rear window defogger

1977 Chassis numbers
Convertible 157 2000 001 - 157 2101
292Sedan 117 2000 001 - 117 2101
Bahama Blue Metallic paint replaces Topaz Metallic
Plastic headlight rings replace chrome-plated metal units
Front seats have new backrests with removable adjustable headrests
Redesigned door panelsRedesigned pedal pads
Plush velour upholstery replaces hounds tooth check
Convertible gets electrically-heated rear window
(None noted)
Special notice
Last year for Std. Beetle Sedan
Champagne Edition with white exterior, sand colored top introduced

1978 Chassis numbers
Super Beetle Convertible 158 2000 001 - 158 2028 542
(None noted)
(None noted)
(None noted)
Special notice
Champagne Edition II introduced
Available in red or anaconda blue metallic

1979 Chassis numbers
Super Beetle Convertible 159 2000 001 - 159 2043 634
(None noted)
Intermittent windshield wiper system and cigarette lighter become standard
(None noted)
Special notice
German-built Beetles discontinued
Mexican Built Beetles continued
Last year of Super Beetle Convertible in USA
Epilog special edition released(Late 1979)
Remaining cars built after 12/31/79 carried 1979 serial numbers for emission reasons.
Most of the 1980 models were produced during the 1979 production year


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