Many bonnets to choose from

Even though the VW Cabrio looks basically the same over the +30 years of production there are almost not a single part that are identical (including nuts and bolts). To my knowledge the bonnet has been altered 9 times, excluding minor changes as a new badge etc. The changes below are those I have been able to confirm. If you know more or better please let me know.

Note that different bonnets does not always mean that you can't put it on another year-model. Look these pictures that shows the different shapes from the side. With adjustment of hinges and locking you can switch between 49-66. And it is also easy to switch between 68-79. But the bonnets from 68-69 might not a good idea for a newer cars because the smaller air intake.

1949 - Sept 30 1952
This first version had only one brake light included in the licenceplate light housing. Vertical louvres for the air. The L-shaped handle is to small and not so easy to handle. It was possible to get it lockable with key.

Oct 1 1952-1957*
New licenceplate light housing. The brake light moved to the taillights. The handle is T-shaped and easier to handle. The only that differs with this bonnet and the older one is the housing and how it is fastened. So a conversion between these two models is fairly easy.
The bumpers with overriders came on the US-model in -56. And is a popular extra elsewhere. Does not fit on model -55 or older because the overriders covers the taillights (if they are properly mounted).

1958-1963
Horizontal louvres for air. The bonnet was flattened out. Not an improvement in design! The lighthousing was also redesigned

1964 (picture of model 1965)
New licenceplate lighthousing.

1965-1966
Lock with pushbutton. The altered locking makes it impossible to use a ´65-66 lid on older car without modification

1967
Now even the little moulding in the middle disappeared! The surface for the licenseplate is more vertical and flatter. The bonnet was shortened at the lower end. Older bonnets do not fit. A different lighthousing. The´67 bonnet is unique and you cannot use any older or newer!


Photo: Chris Timms, thanks!

1968-1969
The bonnet was adapted to the new higher positioned bumpers. Lighthousing and plate higher positioned.

1970
VW found out that the 1500-engine needed more air and increased the number of louvres to 28. The water drainage tray on the inside was dismissed and that was no improvement!


1971
More rounded to get more space in the engine compartment and still 28 louvres.

1972
The Limousine and Cabrio gets a bonnet with 26 louvres.
At last, Cabrio and Limousine has identical bonnets! This makes life much easier if you are one bonnet short.

1976
But this fortunate state only lasted for four years. Some VW engineer somehow got the idea that the Cabrio sometimes needed more cooling air. This need for extra air was not permanent. The small extra hole that was made under the licenceplate lighthousing has a thermostat controlled lid!
It seems like not all cars have this opening, why I do not know.


*from 1957: Year means model-year meaning the model that is produced from August the year before (model -58 starts in August -57).

Also look these pictures that shows the different shapes from the side

More pictures of Cabrios from behind (some are the same as above but not cropped): 1956, 1958, 1965, 1970, 1975

Back to: Buyers Guide: Is everything there | Year by Year

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