Champagne Edition: 1978 Volkswagen Beetle


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Another day, another Beetle. Unlike the custom truck we recently featured, this is a survivor of a special edition Beetle not seen much these days: a 1978 Champagne Edition convertible, found here on eBay. These late-production Beetles were richly equipped in comparison to their predecessors, and this special edition ’78 has survived in surprisingly good condition. 


One of the most obvious areas of improvement was the interior. A wood-applique on the dash, special badges, Blaupunkt stereo and quartz clock rounded out the list of enhancements. For a car with a white interior, this Champagne Edition is astonishingly clean – and complements the limited-production Peach Metallic Red paint nicely. This shade of paint was unique to the “Champagne Edition II”, of which each dealer in the US received two copies of.


The engine has received lots of recent attention, and if I’m reading the ad correctly, it was rebuilt within the last 5,000 miles. The seller reports good compression numbers across the board, and other maintenance items include a new clutch kit, new transmission mounts, and the dual carbs cleaned and balanced. Combined with the manual transmission, this drop-top Beetle should make a fun driver.


One of the big flaws with this Champagne Edition is the incorrect top. It should be sand in color if it’s correct to the Champagne Editions. Although it would sting a little bit to replace a good working top purely for cosmetic reasons, if this is to be an OEM correct limited edition, the top should be sand. Otherwise, I don’t see too much here that couldn’t be resolved with a good detailing. Do these special editions catch your eye, or would you lean towards the earlier (and rarer) Beetles?

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  1. SunbeamerStu

    I remember the water cooled VWs of the era having Champagne Editions, but not bugs. Cool!

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  2. jim s

    in the photos of the trunk what is the brown tube, with hoses connected to both ends, used for?

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    • Joe

      If you mean the horizontal lighter color thing, I think it is fuel expansion tank with hoses from gas tank to evaporation canister.

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      • Mike H. Mike H

        If you’re referring to the item on the firewall, yes, it’s a device to manage fuel vapor expansion for emissions control purposes. If you’re asking about the device on the RH (passenger) side of the trunk, it’s the reservoir for the windshield washers. It has a hose which runs to the spare tire and uses the air pressure from the spare to pressurize the reservoir to make with the squirting. Near where it mounts is an additional schrader valve to allow the owner to re-inflate the spare tire without having to lift the cover. In earlier model beetles one would have to remove the hose from the spare to recharge the system.

        My first two winter beaters were VW Beetles and I learned that replacing that system with an inexpensive washer pump is a far more logical plan. Road spray during Minnesota winters necessitates the use of about (2) quarts of old blue per week, and the tiny reservoir and pressure system wasn’t up to the task.

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      • jim s

        yes the expansion tank. thanks.

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  3. DRV

    I remember this cool color and originally looks way more cherry and metallic before fading.
    I do believe these were fuel infected from the factory, so the dual carbs are a good idea.
    Many of the last year were saved with low miles so look for one of those ’79s for originality and condition.

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  4. Blindmarc

    I too thought 78’s were fuel injected. A girlfriend had nothing but problems with hers, and I put webbers on it also. Was a lot problematic after that.

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    • G.T.J.

      Fuel injection was a rarity and a mystery for VW in the late 70’s when these were new. Even VW mechanics couldn’t deal with it. The L jetronic system now is one of the simplest systems. The problem now is parts. I have two of these (78 SE convert & 79 Westie camper.) This one just doesn’t look right with a black top.

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  5. KO

    Not a bad price either, compared to the triple white and triple black examples that were saved in hopes of a monster payday. Any bug convertible is a blast to drive. Save some cash being later than ’67. Enjoy the hell out of it!

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  6. Glen

    I suppose someone could replace the top with the correct one, then sell the incorrect top.

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  7. Eric

    Our neighbor’s barn has 3 of them

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  8. RoughDiamond

    I remember my father buying a ’70 something Super Beetle and the first time I drove it I noticed this shimmy in the steering wheel. I suggested he have someone check the tires to make sure they were OK and to have it aligned. He did and the shimmy continued. He finally took it to a local VW shop owned by two guys who had worked on them for years, had a stellar reputation and that really knew the cars inside and out. When I talked with him later and asked him how it went, he said when he took it there and described what the issue was and Jerry, one of the owners, grinned and said “another shimmy Super Beetle”. Apparently, this was not uncommon and was related to a steering box issue. My dad sold the Super Beetle to a guy “as is” after he disclosed the issue and let the guy drive the car and see for himself.

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    • BobinBexley Bob in BexleyMember

      That would be correct, super beetles had that feel that the front end wasn’t attached to the road.

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      • Dan Joyce

        The front end shimmy you speak of is caused by a faulty steering dampener. Super beetles were notorious for this problem. Go over some railroad tracks, you better have both hands on the wheel cause you’re going for a ride brother!

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  9. BobinBexley Bob in BexleyMember

    Yes, top should match interior. Ordered one in ’78, changed my mind & ordered a white 4 door rabbit with tan interior, changed my mind when I saw a champaign edition Scirocco with black corduroy Recaro seats in the showroom. Took the Scirocco home. There’s no more fun on 4 Wheels, well other than a rabbit !

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  10. Gerry

    Nice, but not smog legal in CA. Injection has to stay….bummer!

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  11. Tim

    I have owned two champagne edition busses, and both had cloth inlays in the seats,and two tone interior.if I recall correctly the bugs did also,correct me if I am wrong.but something does not look correct interior wise.

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  12. Wayne

    IMO convertibles don’t look as nice as the normal beetle.

    Like 0

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