So yesterday when I was doing a bit of research for my article about car badging, and especially Volkswagen’s strange badging habits, I happened to come across this 1968 brochure and noticed something peculiar about the convertible Beetle shown in the photo there. Two details that are very confusing, especially in the context of being on a picture in an official VW-sanctioned publication like a brochure. I think what I’m seeing here, for the first time, and, notably, something I’ve never read about referenced online, is a pre-production version of the 1968 Beetle that was different from the production one, but late enough in the game to be used in brochure and advertising shoots. Let me show you what I mean.
Here’s the two key parts: first, the location of the VOLKSWAGEN badge is horizontal, right above the license plate light housing. No Beetle ever came from the factory with the badge like that! And the taillights, they seem too small and too low. 1968 was a big year for Beetle taillights, as this was the first time a reverse lamp was integrated into the main taillight, forming a sort of tombstone-shaped design.
But it’s not just this picture! This very morning, I was looking at another 1968 brochure, and saw this:
This looks to be a sedan version of this same pre-production series, with the horizontal badge and taillights that look a bit smaller, maybe even a bit more rounded at the base, and lower-set. These look more like adaptations from the earlier 1962-1967 taillight. For comparison, here’s a 1968 VW press pic of the rear of the Beetle:
See the badge angle? And the size/shape/location of the taillights? Those brochure pics are definitely some not-final pre-production Beetles!
That’s why Cold Start is late today! Because this is an amazing discovery! A pre-pro ’68 Beetle, just out there in plain sight! Do they give Nobel Prizes for this stuff? Probably.