Super With Lowercase S: 1969 VW Beetle Convertible

The seller of this 1969 VW calls it both a SUPER BEETLE (all caps), and a super beetle (no caps), so we can assume “super” is just how he or she describes this little red ragtop, and not bother to point out that the capital-S Super Beetle didn’t come out until 1971. Is it super enough to command $4,000 as it sits, though? If you think so, you can check it out here on craigslist out of Houston, Texas. Thanks to reader Tristan C for the super tip!

This Karmann-built cabriolet is described as all-original, with only 37,000 miles—and that’s about where the description stops. We’re told that it needs the ever-popular “TLC,” but nothing about its mechanical condition, or whether it even runs. It looks like at the very least a new top might be in order, and that’s a thickly insulated, expensive piece. ’68 and newer convertibles even had a rear window defroster, made possible by the only glass rear window available in a convertible this side of a Rolls-Royce at the time.

The white and black interior looks like it might clean up okay, although the driver’s seat looks a little short on padding. That’s a traditional four-speed there, by the way, not the poorly received “Automatic StickShift” semi-automatic available on 1968 and ’69 VWs.

There’s certainly a lot of potential here, and as I’ve been writing this I’m realizing that I don’t see too many of these cute Karmann cabriolets around anymore. I’m having a tough time knowing whether this one’s super enough to command $4,000, though, without knowing more about what its needs are; that price seems to be right around the tipping point between a driver with some minor issues or a nearly-complete project, and a pretty nice original car. With low miles and originality on its side—not to mention the simplicity of VW engineering, which means that whatever is wrong with it could very well be cheap and easy to fix—this cabriolet has me most of the way there. Color me super intrigued—how about you?

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Comments

  1. joeinthousandoaks

    I see rust developing in the upper 1/4 at the top. Rust is likely in the floor pan as well. Not a bad price from a drop top beetle though.

  2. Royal Ricci

    A nice candidate for an EV Conversion. Double the HP too at the same time.

  3. John D.

    My 1968 Plymouth GTX convertible had a glass rear window, but no defroster was available. One winter, I solved that by putting the top down in single digit weather. Visibility was great but I cracked the top. Eh, it was a ten year old original which got replaced in a few years.

  4. Mike H. Mike H Member

    The “Auto Stick-Shift” was available on the Beetle through 1974, and I don’t think it made an appearance until the 1971 Super Beetle.

    I can’t really tell from the lousy photos but this one isn’t going to be a Super if it’s truly a 1969. The ’71-’72 Supers still had the “flat” windscreen (1973 on had the curved glass up front) and the nose was rounder to accommodate the larger trunk and strut front suspension; from the profile the front fenders look like it could be a Super but I’d want to see it with the frunk open to say what it is.

    Due to the seller’s confusion regarding either they ear or the model of this car begins to raise the red flags. The lack of photos underneath or under the back seat would make me stroll right past this one, even at this price. $4k would be a pretty good deal for a non-rusty example in this condition (needing paint, interior, a headliner, and possibly a whole top and pad), but it’s possible that the VIN has been swapped if it’s all that the seller identifies it as: a 1969 Super Beetle.

    It’s the same as claiming you have a 1964 Camaro or a 1983 Pinto. Doesn’t exist.

    • Rabbit

      Beetles were one of the most notorious vehicles for VIN swapping, believe it or not. Lots of cars came in from Mexico that way. First thing I’d do is check the VIN stamped into the tunnel, under the back seat, make sure it matches the dash & doorjamb. After seeing the pics in the ad, yeah, it’s just a standard Beetle.

  5. ccrvtt

    There was one for sale in my neighborhood about 26 years ago. It was in worse shape than this and the owner wanted $3,500 for it. According to Mr. Google that’s about $6,512.49 today. It’s a Volkswagen. It’s cute. But I’d still pass.

  6. Chef Mike

    Worth every penny if its an original. These are easy to work on, and many parts are available.

  7. Ken Carney

    I would love to build one of these as an EV for my MIL to use as a round the town
    car. I’ve been seeing people doing this on
    YouTube for a few years now and it looks
    pretty straight forward to me. Royal Ricci’s post is indeed accurate. EV’s today are outrageously torquey off the line and do have great speed too. Sadly,
    range is still an issue for these cars but as far the driving goes, watch Mike Brewer drive a converted VW bus on
    Wheeler Dealers. It was totally epic

    • Old Car Guy

      Almost all people today would think you must not like your MIL very much. People today yelling up the wazoo about car safety & especially old VW’s and would think you were terrible to want to put your MIL in one. They think she must be rich for you to want to do such an atrocious thing. Ate up with motor and curbside classic would clean your clock with this comment as well as probably 80% of barnfind members reading from their comments on how unsafe older cars are. Me, I would rather drive anything older than 1972 rather than newer.

  8. Doug

    One problem we’d have in the Reno, NV or Lost Wages NV areas is passing
    smog tests with an air-cooled carbureted engine. DMV mandates smog tests
    on vehicles from 1968 on in the urban areas of Clark and Washoe Counties. The way around that for vehicles more than 20 years old is to register as a “Classic Vehicle” ( stock ) or “Classic Rod” ( modified ), which limits you to less than 5,000 miles per year. The plates will cost an additional $11/year, plus you have to submit the mileage every year to renew.
    For those not experienced with air-cooled Volkswagens, remember that an air-cooled engine is really an OIL-cooled engine, and check the oil every time you fill the gas tank. Carry a bottle of oil in the car at all times. A great book
    that can be found using http://www.AddAll.com is “How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive” by John Muir. The spiral bound version is handy for when you’re working on the car.

  9. GarryO

    Not nit-pickin’ here Nathan, but glass rear windows on convertibles were standard on full sized (B body) GM cars from 1966 on.

  10. Undertaker

    Flat windshield = no Super Beetle.

    • Mike H. Mike H Member

      I assure you that the 1971 and 1972 Super Beetles both had the flat dash and flat windshield. I’ve owned (3) ’71 Supers and (2) ’72’s and they were flat-flat-flat. They were the best looking of the Beetles, in my opinion. All the proportions were right; the 1973 on with the curved windshield and elephant’s foot tail lamps were hideous (I’ve had (5) 1974’s too, two of which were standard Beetles and (3) were Supers).

      Too many bugs . . .

  11. Phil

    Semi-automatics were available in 1968. My best friends parents had a 1964 Ford Galaxie Convertible with a glass rear window. It shattered once when they put the top down.

  12. Nutrunner

    @Doug
    How can they later change rules for older vehicules?! I live in Switzerland and we have strict rules like in CA but when new rules come they only aply to vehicules from that year on. Old cars have been built the way they are, who should adapt them to new rules? The manufacturer? The owner? That is just stupid. Same goes for forcing owners of old cars to register them as Classics. We have that too but it is up to you if you want this. It limits you in miles but it raises the intervals you have to have your car checked for road safety from 2 to 6 years. But you have to keep your car stock or only add custom parts from that time period. Plus you can register/pay the biggest car in engine size and drive up to 8 classic vehicles on the same insurance/plate. ;-) Collectors heaven!

    As for that bug … I’d do a full resto on it and switch to the early style fenders, lids, head lights, Export bumpers and the tiny little tail lights …. back date as much as possible and use the light color of the doors inside on the whole body.
    I loved exactly those last models with the flat windshield during the 90ies because the early models became expensive and the bubbly ones were considered ugly.
    I’d still drive one with some nice mods that add power, some porscheness and a few acrophobic arrangements …

  13. Joel

    It was originally white and been resprayed red on the outside.
    Don’t think that quite passes for all original……

  14. Michael Gregory

    Pretty sure this is a ’69, but definitely not a Super Beetle. I had a ’68 convertible, which was almost identical except for having the reverse lights on stalks hooked to the rear bumper instead of these integrated lenses.

    The Rolls-Royce comparison did not have to do with the window but with the fact that the top was insulated and fully lined. Like a Rolls. But that didn’t keep the water out.

    I loved my two Beetles that got me through college, but my convertible was my first of five and a great introduction to topless driving.

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