A comprehensive illustrated history  (published 1994)

The unthinkable happened in 1978 when, on 19th January, the very last Beetle saloon to be built on German soil rolled off the line at Emden. This marked the end of an era which had begun almost 40 years earlier when the original VW38 prototypes gained the approval of the world's motoring press. These last German saloons were often supplied in Metallic Diamond Silver, like this example which has less than 1,000km (600 miles) on the odometer. In many ways, these last-of-the-line Beetles shared more with their earliest forebears than any other: they were basically equipped, mechanically simple and offered reasonable - but not exceptional - value for money.


Engine: Horizontally opposed, air-cooled tour cylinder. Construction: Two-piece cast magnesium-alloy crankcase split vertically with separate cast-iron cylinders and cast aluminium alloy pistons. Four main bearings. Cast aluminium cylinder heads with siamesed inlet ports. Bore and stroke: 77mm x 69mm. Capacity: 1192cc (72ci). Valves: Pushrod operated overhead. Compression ratio: 7.0:1. Fuel system: Mechanical fuel pump; single Solex 30PICT carburettor. Maximum power: 34bhp (40 US hp) at 3,600rpm. Maximum torque:6 lb ft at 2,000rpm.

Transmission: Fully-synchromesh four-speed manual transaxle with integral final drive unit. One-piece casing. Gear ratios: First - 3-80; second - 2.06; Third - 1.32; fourth - 0.89; reverse - 3.88. Final drive ratio: 4.375:1.

Brakes: Hydraulically-operated drums on all four wheels Steering: Worm and roller Suspension: Front: Fully independent with transverse, multi-leaf torsion bars and telescopic shock absorbers. Ball-joint design with hydraulic steering damper. Rear: Fully independent swing-axle with twin solid torsion bars, rear stabilizer bar and telescopic shock absorbers.

Wheels and tyres: 4J x 15in pressed steel wheels. 5.60 x 15 cross-ply tyres.

Dimensions: Length: 4028mm (13ft 2.6in) Width: 1540mm (5ft 0.6in). Height 1500mm (4ft 11in). Wheelbase: 2400mm (7ft 10.5in). Dry weight: 862kg (1900lb).

Performance: Maximum speed- 127km/h (79mph). Acceleration: 0-96km/h (60mph): 22sec. Fuel consumption 8.3 lits/100km (34mpg)

Number built: (1978) 271,673

Owner: John Lamb

VW Beetle published 1994

A comprehensive illustrated history

Item on the 1978 Type 1 Saloon from a book by Keith Seume