- Champagne Edition II; Just 1 of 1,100 produced for 1978 only
- Ancona Blue Metallic Paint over white leatherette interior
- Desirable convertible configuration
Selling on Friday
1978 Volkswagen ‘Champagne Edition II’ Beetle Convertible
The Volkswagen Beetle has endured as one of the most delightfully timeless cars in automotive history. Its iconic body and maintenance-friendly track record only add to the appeal of the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single platform ever made. With more than 21.5 million examples produced, its popularity over the decades is self-evident. However, this particular drop-top charmer is 1 of only 1,100 produced. It is a Champagne Edition II that was only produced for the 1978 model year and boasts myriad enhancements that make for a tete du cuvee at a Volkswagen price.
Volkswagen, which translates to "people's car", was developed as an automobile for the German masses in a country where automobile production in the post-WWI years was limited to luxury cars. In the 1930s, only 1 in every 50 Germans owned an automobile. Although the Beetle was predominantly designed by Ferdinand Porsche and his team, the Beetles were not mass produced until the end of the Forties. Initially coined by its model number, the Beetle quickly became known as the Kafer, or Beetle, back in Deutschland and the name inevitably traversed the globe. The rear-engine, flat-four-powered Bug was a phenomenon. Although Beetle production would inevitably move to Mexico and Brazil in the late 1970s to keep costs low, the German production of the Convertible would end in 1979. As a celebration of the final years of the German-manufactured Beetle Convertible, the Champagne Edition was produced in incredibly limited numbers. Brilliantly constructed, the Beetle Convertible had reinforced sills with welded U-channel rails, a traverse beam behind the rear seat cushion, side cowl panels and the doors boasted secondary alignment wedges at the B-pillar, which replaced strength that was lost in conversion to an open top. The cabin was incredibly spacious with front bucket seats and a full bench with legroom in the rear. Additional features included rear ash trays, twin map pockets, passenger visor vanity mirror and rear stone shields. Beneath the rear hatch was an air-cooled 1600cc, flat four-cylinder engine with electronic fuel injection mated to a four-speed manual gearbox.
The 1978 Champagne Edition Beetles were all convertibles and were available in Peach Red Metallic or Ancona Blue Metallic paint, as is this example. This VW on offer was outfitted with a sand-colored vinyl top and white vinyl pleated seats over black carpet and dash, which is inlaid with burl elm faux wood. Each dealer only received two Champagne Edition Beetles and those disappeared from showrooms across the country almost immediately. The vehicle identification numbers for the Champagne Edition Beetles number between 1582033080 and 158205289; this is VIN 1582039680, which falls securely in that range. That, in addition to the Ancona Blue paint and the faux burl elm dash trim, makes this already charming Beetle a definite Champagne Edition II and 1 of only 1,100 ever produced.
This charming Champagne Edition Beetle presents in well-preserved condition. With 27,260 miles on the odometer, which are believed to be original, this eye-catching Bug has obviously been handled with kid gloves. The Ancona Blue Metallic paint, eight-spoke wheels with VW knock-off-style centers and front bumper are in gleaming, well-kept condition. Inside, the car sports crisp and clean, white leatherette under its taut convertible top. The faux burl elm, unique to the Champagne Edition, looks new and the black carpeting looks very nice. The stereo has been upgraded to a Pioneer AM/FM/Cassette system and the fuel-injection was replaced with Weber carburetors, but the car appears to retain all its other original components. This Champagne Edition II presents a fun opportunity to own a limited-production Beetle Convertible in its glorious swan song years that is both highly enjoyable and collectible.