VW 1200 L £1,942
Exotica like the 1600 model with curved windscreen and MacPherson struts have disappeared but the basic Beetle continues to sell to hard core enthusiasts. Basic, but not spartan, for it has reclining front seats, fold-down rear backrest, opening quarter windows, door mirror, lockable glove box, reversing lamps and heated rear window. Though banished from Wolfsburg, production continues in Germany, Brazil, South Africa and elsewhere.
VW POLO £1,798
Higher performance is offered in the new 1100 version of VW's sprightly front-drive baby with transverse engine. It also has larger tyres and a brake servo. All models have negative offset steering to keep the car straight in treacherous conditions and the ingenious flexible rear axle beam giving semi-independent action. Reclining seats with two-speeds for wipers and heater fan figure on the L series.
VW GOLF £1,998
In quick response to criticisms, all Golfs now have radial ply tyres, more comfortable foam-filled seats, modified pedal linkage for lighter braking, improved heater, revised exhaust system. Choice of three or five doors, with two engine sizes. Latest is the sensational GTI with 110 b.h.p. 1600 c.c. injection engine giving 113 m.p.h., wider tyres, lowered suspension, stiffer anti-roll bars, Bilstein dampers, ventilated front discs. But at present left-hand drive only.
VW PASSAT £2,590
Only hatchback Passat saloons now come into U.K., with three or five doors, plus the Estate, all with two sizes of engine. Gear change, pedal spacing and seats have been improved since the first Passats arrived. The steering wheel is smaller and bumpers now have moulded black end plates. You'll find heated rear window, hazard flashers, lighter, reclining seats, door mirror (adjustable from inside on GL).
VW SCIROCCO £3,140
First VW with transverse engine, this is a practical sports Coupé with a lift-up rear panel fitted with washer and wiper for the rear window. The engine, originally 1,471 c.c., later went up to 1,588. New GL has tinted glass, seat height adjustment. Available with left-hand drive only, the 114 m.p.h. GTI has K-Jetronic injection, oil cooler, wider wheels and tyres, stiffer suspension and anti-roll bars, ventilated brake discs, bigger servo.
1200 (B4 cyl, 1192 ccm, 34 PS; wb: 2400 mm)
1200 (B4 cyl, 1584 ccm, 50 PS; wb: 2400 mm)
Year after year, we make a good thing even better.
In 1949, two unheralded little cars bearing the curious name "Volkswagen" made their way to America. People responded immediately and unanimously: They laughed.
In a world of sleek Packards, racy Studebakers and streamlined Hudsons, the Beetle was an oddity. It had an engine in back, a trunk in front, a steel plate underneath. And no radiator, anywhere.
Fortunately, a few curious souls stopped laughing long enough to drive one.
To their surprise, the bug averaged 35 miles to the gallon. (And in 1949, gas was up to 22¢.) The rear engine made for superb traction, so the car buzzed through mud, snow and ice. Its parkable size made it easy to maneuver in tight spots. The Beetle was reliable, economical and required little in the way of maintenance.
Before long, it was the Volkswagen owners who were laughing. All the way to the bank.
You'd think we'd have had the good sense to leave well enough alone. Instead, we had the good sense to make well enough even better.
Since 1949, we've made some 30,000 changes in the Beetle making gradual improvements here and there, then improving the improvements.
While other car makers have been toying with tail fins and opera windows, we've been concentrating on economy, performance and safety.
Over the years, we've increased the size and horsepower, the Beetle's engine, for better acceleration.
The braking system has been improved for surer stops.
The window areas have been enlarged for better visibility.
The front seats have come to be comfortable, contoured buckets.
For safety's sake, the Beetle's tail lights became almost as big as headlights.
In 1972, we unveiled VW Computer Analysis, which enables the Beetle to tell of any little problem before it has a chance to become a big problem.
And last year, we introduced a fuel injection system that raised Beetle's already impressive gas mileage figures.
In short, the Beetle has been getting better all the time. And this year is no exception.
There's one improvement that affects the way the Beetle looks, rather than the way it works. There are three new colors - metallic silver, metallic green and metallic blue. But they're still applied the old Volkswagen way, with each car receiving a total of 4 meticulously applied coats of paint.
Other changes for 1976 inciude wall-to-wall carpeting, sport wheel rims and an electric rear window defogger. The comfortable flowthrough ventilation system is now assisted by a two-speed fresh air blower, for even more comfort. Bumpers, door handles, headlight rims and turn-signal housings are all chromeplated.
After 27 years and almost 19 million cars, we're happy to report that this year, we've come up with the almost-perfect Beetle. Take one for a test drive today. It'll be another whole year before you find a better one.
Polo/L (R4 cyl, 895 ccm, 40 PS)
S/LS/GLS (R4 cyl, 1093 ccm, 50 PS)
LS/GLS (R4 cyl, 1093 ccm, 60 PS)
Limousine 3-dr (wb: 2335 mm)
Golf/L (R4 cyl, 1093 ccm, 50 PS)
S/LS (R4 cyl, 1588 ccm, 75 PS)
D/LD (R4 cyl, disesel, 1471 ccm, 50 PS) - September
Limousine 3-dr (wb: 2400 mm)
Limousine 5-dr (wb: 2400 mm)
GTI (R4 cyl, inj, 1588 ccm, 110 PS) - new model prod from June
Limousine 3-dr (wb: 2400 mm)
L (R4 cyl, 1297 ccm, 55 PS) from November sondermodell LX
S/LS/TS (R4 cyl, 1588 ccm, 75 PS) - from August S/LS/GLS
S/LS/TS (R4 cyl, 1588 ccm, 85 PS) - from August LS/GLS
Limousine 2-dr (wb: 2470 mm)
Limousine 4-dr (wb: 2470 mm)
Kombi-Limousine 3-dr (wb: 2470 mm)
Kombi-Limousine 5-dr (wb: 2470 mm)
Variant 5-dr (wb: 2470 mm) - not available in TS trim
L (R4 cyl, 1093 ccm, 50 PS)
S/LS/GL/GT (R4 cyl, 1588 ccm, 75 PS)
LS/TS (R4 cyl, 1588 ccm, 85 PS) - end of prod.
GTI/GLI (R4 cyl, 1588 ccm, 110 PS) - June
Coupé 3-dr (wb: 2400 mm)
Karmann Cabriolet (B4 cyl, 1584 ccm, 50 PS; wb: 2420 mm)
181 (B4 cyl, 1584 ccm, 48 PS; wb: 2400 mm)
T-2 (B4 cyl, 1970 ccm, 70 PS)