Tempting Tangerine: 1978 Super Beetle Convertible Project: Sold!

May 2020 | Classifinds, Topless Thursday


Update: This one got away, but if you have your heart set on something similar, email us the details of what you’re looking for or call Rudy directly at (908)295-7330

Driving and maintaining a Volkswagen Beetle through much of my undergraduate career gave me the Bug (sorry, pun intended) to work on my cars that continue to this day.  As long as I don’t have to rely on the car for daily transport, I’d love to have a Beetle convertible in my driveway as there is nothing I can’t fix on my own.  Consequently, every time I see ads such as the one for this 1978 Super Beetle Convertible listed on Craigslist in Edison, New Jersey I find myself trying to figure out how to make room for it in my garage.  The current caretaker is asking $5,000 for their non-running example and a check of the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has Super Beetle priced $4,000 less than the below the current #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $8,900.  

By the mid-1970s, increasing safety and emissions regulations were beginning to take their toll on the air-cooled Type I designed during the 1930s. For 1975, the 1600 cc engine in Japanese and North American markets received Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, rather than the D-Jetronic system formerly used in the VW Type 3 and Type 4. The injected engine received a new muffler and in California a catalytic converter. This necessitated a bulge in the rear apron under the rear bumper and replaced the distinctive twin “pea shooter” tailpipes with a single offset pipe, making injected models identifiable at a glance. Five Mile Per Hour bumper-equipped North American models retained fender-top front indicators and “Fuel Injection” badge replaced the classic “Volkswagen” script on the engine lid of all North American Beetles.

By 1978, the Super Beetle convertible was the only Beetle model available in North America and 1,100 of these were a new Champagne 2nd Edition, available in blue or red metallic paint with white leatherette interior. Features included the 4.5 in (110 mm) wide styled steel sport wheels, AM/FM radio, analog quartz clock, padded deluxe steering wheel, and rosewood-grain instrument panel trim.

Unfortunately, the private seller duplicated the same picture five times and while the exterior looks very presentable, we’d like to learn more about this non-special edition example.  The rusty floorboards the seller mentions are actually a fair straight forward project to replace by a competent body repair shop and good fitting parts are readily available.  The Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection system on these post-’75 models received a bad reputation when new however in reality the system is very simple, very reliable, and easy to diagnose with just a fuel pressure gauge, a multimeter, and a proper manual.  Craigslists’ posts like these can be fun as this Beetle could be a find.  Good luck with the purchase and please, buy it before I decide to!

Here’s the seller’s brief description:

“1978 Volkswagen super beetle convertible all original matching # 66k miles been sitting doesn’t run needs floor boards there rusted out asking $5000 732 977 8196

Do you have a VW Beetle story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!


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