Last of the Beetles rides again
Volkswagen has restored the last Beetle built at its manufacturing plant in Uitenhage.
The Beetle was almost destroyed in a vehicle carrier accident in 2006.
The metallic bronze Beetle is the last of 288353 Beetles built in Uitenhage, near Port Elizabeth, from August 31, 1951, to January 18, 1979. It was never used and was stationed inside the Volkswagen museum, now the AutoPavilion.
It had only 200km on the clock when the accident occurred in the road from a show in Cape Town in November 2006. The vehicle-carrier overturned and nine of the AutoPavilion's best historic cars were destroyed.
"Being such a special vehicle, the 'last Beetle' was restored over a period of two years to ensure it returned to its former glory. We are very pleased it has once again taken its proud place at the AutoPavilion," manager of Volkswagen's AutoPavilion, Johan Wagner said.
"All the mechanicals and most of the interior from the original car could still be used. They were then transferred to another Beetle body of the same era. The original car was loaded with luxury features not found on any of the models which preceded it. It was built with most of the luxury features of the higher specification and limited edition 1600s, like the Fun Bug, Lux Bug, Jeans Bug and Snug Bug," he said.
Some of its special features include Bilboa cloth upholstery, black fender spats, a special gear-lever knob, taper-tip exhaust pipes, a centre tunnel console, a cigarette lighter and Rostyle wheel rims. It was also sprayed in a bronze metallic paint.
The Beetle had a production run in South Africa of almost 28 years, 11 of which were as the country's top selling car.
Testimony to its build quality and reliability is the fact that so many can still be seen on our roads today. "The story of the Beetle's success in South Africa and worldwide cannot be told in these few lines. The last Beetle has a plaque on the dash which reads: "The Legend Lives On".
"Looking around, you will agree, it certainly does," Wagner said.
The 21st-century Beetle will be introduced locally towards the end of the year.