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Lot 132: Volkswagen Karmann Convertible

Jaguar Heritage + Classic & Collectors Motor Cars, Barons (29 April 2008)

During the rebuilding of VW, there were two initial open top prototypes. One was a two-door roadster created and driven by Major Ivan Hirst called the "Radclyffe Roadster." The other was a four-door convertible created and driven by another British officer. These specials were really toys to play with rather than serious production prototypes. It was Heinz Nordhoff, the first German head of Volkswagen, who wanted to build an open top car. So Volkswagen began building two designs in 1949; a four-seat convertible version (known as the VW Käfer Cabriolet) by Karmann of Osnabrück (Type 15A), and the lesser known two-seat roadster version (known as the Heb) by Josef Hebmüller & Son of Wulfrath (Type 14A). Only 696 (some figures say 750) Hebmüller roadsters were produced because the factory burned down on July 23rd 1949 after a massive fire started in the paint shop. After a series of 25 pre-production convertibles, Nordhoff gave Karmann an initial order for 2,000 cars and the rest is history. Käfer is German for Beetle. Legion has it the name was coined when Mr Hitler said "It should look like a Beetle, you only have to look to nature to find out what streamlining is." The VW Käfer Cabriolet was based on the standard Beetle with a rear-mounted air-cooled engine. The only major platform upgrade was the introduction of the Super Beetle in 1971 which added MacPherson strut front suspension to replace torsion bars, repositioned the fuel tank and spare tire to increase luggage capacity, and a new dashboard and windshield. For the last two years of Beetle production, every car off the assembly line, destined for US shores, was a convertible. German Beetle construction ceased in 1979 with the final cabriolet conversion date January 10, 1980. The only mechanical pieces that remained unchanged on every convertible throughout the entire production run were the running boards. Offered here is a late Beetle Convertible, which has the fuel injected, 1600cc engine. The car is said to be in completely original condition, having covered just 6,100 miles (six thousand, one hundred miles) over a 29 year period. The reason for the low mileage is the fact that the car was in a private collection of an elderly doctor for many years, after he acquired the car with 5,900 miles indicated. Finished in metallic silver with black interior and hood, the car is described as being in "As New" condition throughout, is said to drive like a new car. The car has been fully recommissioned and recently serviced.

Lot Details
Auction Jaguar Heritage + Classic & Collectors Motor Cars
Barons, Surrey
TypeCar
Lot Number132
Estimate£12000-£16000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1979
Condition rating1
Registration numberLGH762T
Mileage-
Chassis number1592041763
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors