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Lot 869: 1978 Volkswagon 'Beetle' 1600 Cabriolet

The George Barris Collection, Bonhams & Butterfields (14 May 2005)

One of the 20th Century’s truly great automobiles, the Volkswagen ‘Beetle’ spawned a host of derivatives, the longest enduring being the Cabriolet. A single prototype was built pre-war, but it was not until 1949 that production commenced, the bulk of which was entrusted to Karmann of Osnabruck, whose four-seater Cabriolet appeared soon after the two-seater Hebmuller-built version. Only the Karmann four-seater would stand the test of time, outliving the saloon by two years and remaining ever fashionable - an instantly recognisable motoring icon to this day.

Mechanical changes to the Cabriolet kept pace with those of the saloon until the latter’s production began to wind down in the early 1970s. Thus the Cabriolet gained the Super Beetle’s McPherson strut front suspension, trailing arm rear suspension and more-bulbous bonnet for 1971, the effect of these long overdue suspension improvements being markedly superior handling. 1973 brought with it further styling changes in the form of a curved windscreen (and shortened bonnet), recessed dashboard and altered rear wings with enlarged light clusters. Topping the range was the 1.6-litre 1303 LS. In this specification the Cabriolet continued to be built at Osnabruck until January 1980, two years after German production of the saloon had ended.

This unrestored one-owner Beetle Cabriolet has a mere 5,783-or-so miles displayed on the odometer and is presented in generally good condition. To US specification, the car is left-hand drive, fuel-injected and has the four-speed manual transmission. It is finished in Alpine White with matching top and interior, the latter equipped with radio, and is fitted with after-market wheels, pin-striping and alarm. Offered with window sticker and owner’s manuals, this vehicle represents an opportunity to acquire a low-mileage Volkswagen Beetle in its most desirable Cabriolet form.

Proceeds from the sale of this lot go to the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Without Reserve

Lot Details
Auction The George Barris Collection
Bonhams & Butterfields, Petersen Museum, Los Angeles
TypeCar
Lot Number869
Estimate$12000-$14000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$13000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$14950
Year1978
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number1582020076
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors