1971 VW Super Beetle

This project was completed in Aug. 2004, – sold
-Parked 1980, project started 1995

Here are the original sales pics used to sell the car.













I don’t have the original write up, but I will go over the car.

I picked this car up from the original owners that had parked the car about 15 years before I bought it. They were in a house a couple miles behind where my parents live. I happened to take a different way to their house one day and came across a total of three cars that were purchased from that trip. This is the best of what I found, and the other two came from a neighbor across the street for $50. Those two cars were put together to make one running, driving car.

The 1971 Super didn’t have much for rust and was the first year of the Super Beetle. It came with a clear CO title for $150. I am still not sure why I decided to build a Super. The build was off and on for about nine years over all and the car was almost sold a few times in between due to frustration. The long term projects are the ones that seem to test an individual.

The rust on the car was in strange places like the rear luggage shelf lip from a leaking rear window, and the front hood seal lip from leaves sitting on the hood, but that was it. The rest of the car was rust free. Nothing for rust in the pans, or body anywhere else. The hood seal lip was difficult to repair and came from a donor car that had the spot welds drilled out and then the lip welded it on to this car. The rear shelf lip was a little easier, and the whole floor section of the luggage area was replaced.

The paint on the car was PPG as that was all I used to shoot back then. The price has driven me out of spraying PPG anymore and now I have been shooting Sherwin Williams automotive two stage paint. I tried a couple other brands in between and didn’t have good results with the paint. The color used was a 1996 Ford color called Bright Sapphire Metallic. The color looks purple, blue, or black depending on the lighting and is still one of my favorites to have shot. I will have to do another car this color again. The red flames were a vinyl graphic kit, and the original steel Sprint Star’s were painted to match. Smoked turn signals in the front and the rear fender were swapped to 1973 to be able to run smoked flat lens tail lights. I used the cats eyes on the headlights for a little style as I hadn’t seen them on anything at the time.

The car had a 1915cc with dual Weber 44’s with a Eagle 110 cam at first and the engine sat in the car for about 6 years before I blew up a 1600cc in my 1967. I decided that maybe all that money sitting, collecting dust would be better off in a car that I drive every day. The engine that went in the car was a stock 1600cc rebuild. The transmission was done by Steve at Pine Beetle and it was a later 1973 3.88 for better cruising on the highway.

The car had everything replaced on the suspension and was the only Super I have driven that hasn’t had the shimmy at driving speed. I should also say that it was the first Super that I have and was completely different then the 1967 Beetle. The Super really does drive more like a modern car, and is a whole bunch smoother ride. There was Topline adjustable struts, 3/4″ sway bars front and rear, and everything in the suspension was urethane. The steering box was original with movement within tolerance.

I installed a 1973 column for factory knob locations on the dash that could be used for accessory switches. All the chrome was shaved on the exterior and the rear fresh air ducts behind the quarter windows were smoothed, but with the original body lines remaining for looks. All new body rubber and seals were installed on everything except the pan seal as this shell wasn’t separated from the pan.

Sewfine interior kit with tweed headliner and I covered from the dash pad to the carpet under the dash with tweed to modernize the car. I was trying to keep the interior so that it looked like things were fairly stock, like it would have been from the factory, or a factory option.

There was driving lights, fog lights, and back up lights. I ended up removing both bumpers, front and rear, with all the lights to replace with chrome T-bars before the time of sale. The trunk cable was replaced with a solenoid popper, and electric washer pump added for better visibility. The car has power one-piece windows with remote entry and alarm. I originally had a 12″ sub behind the seat with 6×9″ on a fiberglass speaker shelf in there as well, but I pulled it as well before selling. There were also 3 amps on a board above the tank with an additional 12 prong flat fuse box and 14 relays for all the power accessories. I wanted this car to be modern in terms of electrical components.

I should also mention that I estimate that I sat on the spare tire in the trunk for around three months wiring all the electrical. When it was all done I realized that I pinched the fuel line under the gas tank and had to lift the wiring board. I propped it up and found the pinched line, corrected the problem, and went to lower everything back in place. The wiring board slipped and about 30 wires pulled loose! This was my first major wiring project and the first time wasn’t the greatest for keeping thing in order that they could be traced if something like this happens. I tried for a couple weeks before pulling everything out and starting over. I had a couple five gallon buckets full of wiring that was for the most part wasted. The second time, once wired correctly, I had a wiring diagram, and the wires were separated so that they could be traced instead of in one giant, zip-tied bundle like the first time.

On the maiden voyage on the way to the car show the ignition fried from the coil to the switch burning out the switch. Oh, this is why you don’t want to add every electrical component that you can think of to the car. Not really because of all the accessories, but at the time that’s what I was thinking. One of the wires had come loose and grounded out. All I had went was about 15 miles and then I had to have a wiring kit and another column brought to me so that I could do the repair. I was on the side of the road pulling the electrical apart and running a new wire back to the coil on the engine. I did make it to the show, but by around 2:30pm and the it was wrapping up. I was just glad to make it at that point and the car I had been talking about was essentially done. I really didn’t drive the car all that much and the car really gave me a better appreciation of the simplicity of the older VW’s.

Copyright 2022

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