Year by year 1949-1979

Here are mainly only the specific Cabriochanges: a detailed description of all changes on the Beetle fills at least a whole book. The Bugshop is a site with good descriptons over changes and lot of info about buying Beetles.

June 2, 1949-September 30, 1952
The "Split-Cabrio". The model that compares to the Split rear window export sedan. In the Cabrio, however, the rear window is not split: it is just very small. These are very sought after and there are few left. I'm one of the lucky guys that owns one! Take a look at it.

October 1, 1952-March 9, 1953
The "Zwitter" or the between-model. Body and interior was altered (new bumpers, new dashboard, 15 inch wheel etc), but the split window remained on the sedan. On the Cabrio the rear window was made slightly larger with a chrome trim and fitted in line with the top. In the earlier model the window had been recessed a little. The Zwitter model is even rarer than the Split-Cabrio. All trims and the side window frames are made of aluminum, but as this only lasted for these five months, these aluminum parts are almost impossible to find.
Engine was still 25 hp, but the gearbox was now synchronized.

March 10, 1953 - July 1955
The "Oval" (The sedan now had a whole oval window). Trims and window frames are now chromed. The production increased and the Cabrio was sold in more countries. The doors were changed in ´56. The inside surface was made flat. It is much harder to find doors to cars made before '56 than for subsequent models.

Here is a picture of a Cabrio ´54 and the inside of the door.
From January 1954, the engine was changed to 30 hp, which is easier to find and restore. The two-tone colours were dropped on the cabrio (I'm not sure of the exact date, but I believe that it was sometime late ´53 to early ´54, If you know better please inform me

From here on:
Year means the model that was made from August the year before. For example, the model ´58 was made from August ´57 to July ´58

A few changes as different taillights, twin chromed exhaust pipes and the flat inside of the door as explained above. See this picture.

Larger windscreen and rear window. New engine lid with horizontal louvers. New dashboard. See this picture.
In 1960 the semaphore indicators was replaced with modern flashing indicators on the front wings (white, from ´61 yellow) and red in the taillights. (the US cars had flashing indicators from -55)
In 1961 came the 34 hp engine. In May ´61 the taillights was segmented, with yellow indicators.
In 1964 came a new engine lid with a wider housing for the license plate light.

All windows was enlarged both on the Sedan and Cabrio. The Cabrio had the new 40 hp 1300 engine. From here on the Cabrio always had the largest engine available. From ´66 the top material (outer layer) is made in vinyl (earlier: textile). In ´67 came the 1500-engine with 44 hp and once again the engine lid was changed.
The production of Cabrios was very low in the mid sixties and Volkswagen was even considering stopping the production, but luckily the interest for the VW Cabrio rose and so too the production.

Body was changed. Most noticeable was the new stronger bumpers, the vertical headlights and larger taillights. The larger and higher positioned bumpers made it necessary to change the engine lid again.
As this model is practically the same as that made today in Mexico (not Cabrio, only Sedan!), the supply of spares is much better.
Modell 1970 had an engine lid with 28 louvers i four groups.

The 1302 LS was introduced. The L stood for Luxury (some extras was standard on the Cabrio but extra on the Sedan). The S signified the 50hp, 1600-engine. The flat laying sparewheel and the McPherson struts made the luggage compartment much larger.

Because the 1600 engine needed more room the engine lid was bulkier meaning yet another change on the engine lid.
From 1972 the engine lid became the same as the one on the sedan: But it got only 26 louvers. see this picture. A completely new top construction is introduced in ´72. The frame is lighter, thinner and folds better and easier and the folded top is much more compact. Unfortunately the new topframe is weaker and rusts a lot more the the old one.

1303 LS, Changed body with new windscreen, dashboard and much larger taillights.

No "LS" on the engine lid. Indicators in the front bumper (not US). Rack and pinion steering. Slightly larger rear window. A small change was made on the engine lid in ´77: a small extra thermostat-controlled (!) opening was made under the licence plate light housing. So for the last years of production we have a special Cabrio engine lid again.
There was no model 1980. The car was built as model ´79 to the end of production 2 January 1980.

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