Last Beetle uncrushed for show
Volkswagen has restored the last Beetle built in its plant in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape despite it being almost destroyed when a vehicle carrier crashed in 2006.
The metallic bronze Beetle was the last of 288 353 Beetles built in Uitenhage between August 31, 1951 to January 18, 1979. It was never used and lived in the Volkswagen museum – now the Auto Pavilion. It only had 200km on its clock when the accident happened on its way from a show in Cape Town in November 2006.
The vehicle carrier overturned and nine of the Auto Pavilion’s best historic cars were destroyed.
NEW BODY FOR OLD
Johan Wagner, manager of the Auto Pavillion, explained: "Being such a special vehicle, the last Beetle was restored over two years. We are very pleased that it has once again taken its proud place at the Auto Pavilion.
"All the mechanicals and most of the interior from the original car could still be used. They were then transferred to another body of the same era. The original car was loaded with luxury features not found on any of the models which preceded it.
"It was built with most of the luxury features of the higher specification and limited edition 1600’s such as the Fun Bug, Lux Bug, Jeans Bug and Snug Bug.”
Some of its special features include Bilboa cloth upholstery, black fender spats, a special gearlever knob, taper-tip exhaust pipes, a centre tunnel console, a cigarette lighter and Rostyle wheel rims. It was also sprayed in a special bronze metallic paint.
'LEGEND LIVES ON...'
The Beetle had a production run in South Africa spanning almost 28 years, 11 of which were as the country’s top selling car. Testimony to its build quality and reliability is the fact that so many can still be seen on our roads today.
Wagner concluded: “The story of the Beetle’s success in South Africa and worldwide cannot be told in these few lines. The last Beetle has a plaque on the dash which reads, “The Legend Lives On”. Looking around, you will agree, it certainly does.”
The 21st Century Beetle will be introduced locally towards the end of the year.