The story behind one of the most desired and best loved Beetles - THE GT BEETLE

In the early 70's VW were put under pressure through the demands of their customers.
They were wanting more in the cars they were buying, this gave VW the motivation needed to release a series of special edition Beetles such as the Marathon Beetle, the Jeans Beetle and the GT Beetle.

The first special edition, and quite probably the best ever Beetle, was the sports model - The GT Beetle. It was the most well known of all the special editions, and VW started releasing them in 1972.
Only 2500 of these GT's were made, they were firstly introduced to the UK market, but then spread out more, with the last GT Beetle being sold in April 2003.
The GT Beetle, priced at £997 was only £19 more than the contemporary 1300 model.

The sports bug took its foundation from the European 1300s, which was a 1300 fitted with a 1584 engine that was putting out 50bhp, and had the advantage of front discs.
When sold in the UK, bizzarely they kept the 1300s badge, which if you didnt like, the dealer would have it removed and replace with the VW GT Beetle badge. Apparently, the reason for so many people keeping the 1300s badge, is that they had lower insurance premiums due to the badge. Imagine if that was the case now!!

One of the most endearing factors of the GT, was its distinctive colour choice. Out of the 2500 made, 50% were sold in lemon yellow, 40% in apple green, and 10% in tomato red.

Other styling tweaks that set the GT apart from other beetles of its day, were the Elephants foot lighting cluster. This is a favourite for the German look of today.


10% in Tomato Red
50% in Lemon Yellow
40% in Apple Green

Interestingly, this was the only model produced that Volkswagon officially named a 'Beetle' - all the other bugs were known as Beetles, due to the public nicknaming them. The GT featured a padded black dash (as opposed to the metal ones of other Bugs), a special wooden topped sports gearstick, and the other main change was to the wheels. These new sports wheels were half an inch wider than standard, and were known as 'Rostyle' wheels, or today as 'Sprintstars'.

It was 100Ibs lighter than the 1303s which had the same engine, this made it the fastest production Beetle of the time with a top speed of 85mph. It was also 10secs faster to 60mph than the previous 1300...which says a lot about how slow the 1300 must have been !! :-) The GT beetle really excelled though with its top gear acceleration. The gearbox had a higher final ratio which would go part of the way in explaining the improvement in performance. The GT gearbox is now a much sought after modification amongst the VW community.
If you do have a GT please visit possibly the best website on GT's: www.bugmeister.co.uk where you will find excellent info on the Beetle, and also an online GT register. Many thanks to the bugmeister for letting us use info and photos from his 1st class site.