Junkyard Find: 1978 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

junkyard find 1978 volkswagen beetle convertible

Volkswagen sold the air-cooled Beetle in the United States all the way through 1979, amazingly, overlapping Dasher and Rabbit sales by more than you’d have expected. By that time, the only air-cooled VW left standing here was the Beetle convertible (if you want to get nit-picky, that car was really a Super Beetle, since the last year for the original not-so-super Beetle was 1977 here and all the Beetle convertibles were Supers after 1971). I’ve never found a ’79 Beetle in the junkyard, though I’ve tried my best, but here’s the next-best thing: a ’78 in a Denver self-serve yard last year.

This car’s final parking place ended up being next to a Turbo New Beetle and a purple ’76 non-Super Beetle. One must assume that the junkyard employees had a sense of style.

Junkyard shoppers generally grab air-cooled VW engines right away … but I suspect this may be the result of a single VW hoarder in every metropolitan region around the continent.

The most important difference between the regular 1938-style Beetle and the Super Beetle may be seen in the front suspension; the original Beetle had a funky torsion-bar suspension while the Super got a modern McPherson strut rig. Having owned and driven both types of Beetles, I must say that neither the ride nor the handling feels any better in the Super.

While the Beetle was strongly obsolete by about 1951, it managed to get its job done for many decades after that. By the late 1970s, though, there was no affordable way to squeeze it through American crash-safety and emissions requirements.

It will go to its grave with a Stone Temple Pilots home-taped cassette inside.

For links to 2,100+ additional Junkyard Finds, visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.







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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Apr 26, 2021

    This really brings me back. My older brother had a series of bugs all yellow. 1967 VW Bug convertible bought new and totaled 2 years later, 1970 VW Bug convertible that rusted in a few years, and a 1974 Super Beatle hardtop that rusted as well. I really enjoyed driving the 1967 VW Convertible.

  • Steve Biro Steve Biro on Apr 26, 2021

    "Having owned and driven both types of Beetles, I must say that neither the ride nor the handling feels any better in the Super." Agreed. In fact, I always thought the original Beetle was more fun. I like its somewhat more-immediate steering control and the flat windshield/dashboard.

  • Bryan Raab Davis I briefly dated an Australian fellow who was mad for Aspires; one of his better characteristics, if I’m honest.
  • ToolGuy Check out Ferrari's market cap:https://companiesmarketcap.com/automakers/largest-automakers-by-market-cap/
  • ToolGuy • Not sure who you get when you call the "Company phone" number listed on the recall report, but confident that it ISN'T Ferrari (someone either screwed up or made a conscious exception; recall might need a recall; where is my excellence in government that all of you are funding?).• 99% of them are fine.• On later models, additionally, a message will also appear on the vehicle’s dashboard that reads as follows: “Brake fluid level low, Go to dealer slowly”. That right there is classic.• Anyway, this is what happens when you build to a price point... (ba dum tsh!)
  • Art Vandelay And what a giant pile of sh!t ths new format is. Great job guys, way to run off the last of the die hards.
  • Theflyersfan If you ever want a review on a 2022 Mazda MX-5 GT RF, I'll be more than happy to type up a few thousand words and add in some great pictures in front of Churchill Downs for y'all!In a nutshell, I agree with this review. I didn't have a chance to try the Recaro seats because the only test drive available was with another GT that someone backed out in buying so it was being used as a demo. But from what I was told, if you're larger than a 38 waist or taller than 5'10", it gets tight. But with the standard seats, and I'm 5'10" and maybe 20 pounds from the 38 waist, I fit fine. Now getting in and out with the roof up after shoulder surgery (especially leaving the surgery center with most of the right arm under a nerve block) is the total opposite of graceful!!! The look on the nurse's face when the MX-5 pulled up and I'm partially wrapped up like a mummy was priceless.I've had mine since the middle of April and have already put 6,700 miles on it, including round trips from Louisville to Chicago and the Philadelphia suburbs. Averaged 38-39 mpg at a steady 75 mph, and it wasn't a torture chamber. The metal top helped a lot. The standard seats are a bit thin on padding, and there was a bit of squirming by around hour 8 on the Philly drive, but it's possible. But even though this design was released in 2015, I still get compliments from total strangers at stoplights, carwashes, gas stations, restaurants, etc. The Soul Red Metallic paint just makes the car pop. I wish it was available with the Terra Cotta leather (the gray above is available with it), and that it didn't have the standard all in black, because it gets thermonuclear in there with the top down and the sun beating on you, but a minor quibble. But it's just fun. Pure driving fun. The best stick shift in any car today. Solid brakes, excellent handling, a sane amount of power to where you aren't going to get into anything reckless and stupid. After a 12+ hour day at work, there's nothing better than dropping the top and driving the 20 minutes home with the better than I thought it would be Bose stereo playing Moby into my ears through the headrest speakers. Mazda has already announced there will be an NE model so I can't wait for that. It'll be interesting how they will keep the weight down with the expected changes to eke more MPG out of what is already an efficient car.
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