1973 (1303) Volkswagen Super Beetle

****** Interested parties should note, this vehicle was subject to a CAT C insurance write off in June/1998 ******


・Needs some cosmetic TLC throughout
・Starts and runs well.

The Background

Volkswagen released the ‘Type 1’ Standard car in 1938 – at that time, beetles were little more than an insect. In the following years, the car evolved significantly with changes made to improve the vehicle’s performance and appearance. 

Increased competition of compact cars from other European and Japanese manufacturers impacted heavily on Type 1 sales. During the 1960s, popular culture had lovingly adopted the ‘Beetle’ name. In the early 1970s, Volkswagen needed to bring drivers back to their flagship compact car. 

Accordingly, Volkswagen created the ‘Super Beetle’ to address the main complaints drivers had about the standard model. This upgraded and somewhat larger Beetle came with a few new features to increase passengers’ comfort. When it was released in 1971, Volkswagen called it a ‘1302’. Later, in 1973, they released a new Super Beetle called the ‘1303’ – the subject of our car available here.

Interestingly, the 1302 and 1303 cars were the first for which Volkswagen actually used the name ‘Beetle’. The Standard had always been known as the Type 1 by Volkswagen. Both Super Beetle models deployed MacPherson struts for suspension.

The suspension enhancements transformed the look and handling of the car. Also, luggage space was a considerable 86 per cent more than in the Standard. This was made possible by having the spare wheel flat in the bottom and the fuel tank set differently (with a different shape) thanks to those MacPherson struts. The Super Beetle is the same as the Standard from the front pillar to the back of the car. The different front end improves the handling of the car but also adds around 73kg to the car’s overall kerb weight.

The major exterior changes for the 1973 Beetle included a curved panoramic windshield that was 43 per cent larger than the old one. It also received 5mph crash-proof bumpers and large ‘elephant foot’ tail light clusters, upright headlights and received four louvered cooling vents over the rear engine cover. Inside, a padded dashboard housed a new airbag and new front seats were fitted.

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The History

This particular 1303 Beetle received its first UK registration in July, 1973. In the intervening 49 years, RYH 783L has been enjoyed by only four former keepers, prior to its current owner’s acquisition in June, 2021.

The car has a current MoT (with no advisories) to June, 2022. At an MoT dated December, 2011, the mileage was recorded at just 33,710 miles. It is currently around 38,700, meaning the car has been driven just 5,000 miles in ten years.

It must be mentioned that the MoT dated March 2008 recorded the mileage at 71,941. However, a year later at its 2009 MoT, the mileage was recorded at 32,062. No known reason is available for the change.

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The Paperwork

Along with the V5C issued in the current owner’s name, there is a current MoT certificate and a small selection of recent parts/service invoices, some of which are pictured in the gallery. There are two sets of keys to accompany the car upon sale.

At the time of purchase by the current keeper, note was made of a Cat C against the car on the sales invoice raised by the seller, the circumstances about which are unknown to the present keeper.

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The Interior

The interior presents in a condition befitting its age of nearly 50 years. The two door cards are in reasonably good condition, as is the general state of the front upholstery and carpeting. However, the same can’t be said of the rear upholstery, rear side panels or the roof lining.

As mentioned previously, the car could do with either some focused TLC or a complete refurbish to bring it up to standard.

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The Exterior

The exterior paintwork also present a reasonable condition considering the age of the car. As highlighted in the accompanying gallery, there are several areas of the exterior that would benefit from some cosmetic attention or perhaps a complete strip down and reconditioning might be in order for those seeking a low-cost and manageable project.

The brightwork and badging are in reasonable order and the front and rear lights are clear of the usual age-related fog often found on a car of this age. Both door under-sills are clear of rust and damage and a cursory glance down each flank of the car shows no evidence of collision damage.

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The Mechanics

Following the car to its photo location at Beachy Head in East Sussex, the car performed very well and accelerated keenly through the gears. Repositioning the car for the photographs, the car fired up at every request, settling into that sonorous burble that only a 1.6-litre Beetle engine can make.

Underneath, the car presents in good order with the usual light oxidation present for a car of this mileage and age.

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The Appeal

As a lifelong admirer of the original VW Beetle (the writer has owned four), this is a perfect car for someone to take up as a light project. No part of the car – inside or out – is ‘too far gone’ that it cannot be brought back to near original condition and comfortably within a reasonable budget.

Essentially, two options are open to the new keeper of RHY 783L…give this ‘Super Beetle’ a new lease of life with a thorough internal and external refurb, or simply keep the mechanicals running as smoothly as they currently do and continue to enjoy the road less travelled – and not just on Sundays.

G’won, because you’re here pop on a cheeky bid…you know you want to.

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C’s for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller’s discretion.

Please see our FAQ’s here and our Terms & Conditions here

Vehicle specification
  • Year 1973
  • Make Volkswagen
  • Model 1303 Super Beetle
  • Colour Black
  • Odometer 38,700 Miles
  • Engine size 1584
  • Town Eastbourne
  • Location Sussex
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
13 bids from 7 bidders
  • possimu•••• £4,800 30/11/21
  • beast_s•••• £4,500 30/11/21
  • possimu•••• £4,300 30/11/21
  • Victorw•••• £4,100 30/11/21
  • possimu•••• £4,000 29/11/21
  • cj22222 £3,500 28/11/21
  • possimu•••• £3,400 26/11/21
  • neil-hi•••• £3,100 26/11/21
  • andy-mo•••• £2,950 25/11/21
  • possimu•••• £2,400 25/11/21

The Gallery

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