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History of the VW Beetle
Following on from the major changes of 1967, the 1968 Beetle underwent minor changes, the exterior petrol flap was now operable from inside the car, the cable for unlocking the bonnet was located in the glovebox. The air vents in the front footwell moved further back in the cabin, allowing more air to the windscreen. The 1300 was now available with an automatic ‘box. Following a short period of illness Prof. Dr. Nordhoff dies at aged 69, 2 weeks later Dr. L C Kurt Lotz takes on the roll of VW CEO. 3 months later VW release the Type 4 range of vehicles with the 411, available as either a 2 or 4 door.
February 1969 saw Auto Union and NSU merge, and due to the rise of NSU stocks VW decided to amalgamate the two companies (VW and NSU). NSU had been about to launch their new car the K70 and rumors abounded about the aforementioned take over, the car allegedly being pulled off the NSU stand at the Geneva Motor Show the night before the show opened. Obviously these rumors were true, and the K70 was later launched as a VW, signaling the end of the NSU brand, leaving VW to concentrate on promoting Audi (formerly Auto Union). Understandably with all of this going on, changes to the ’69 Beetle were relatively sparse. The 1500 engine cover now has 10 horizontal vents, this is in preparation for the extra cooling that the US export model needs with its 1600cc 47bhp Type motor. A higher specification version of the base car (1300/1500) is made available, the “L” comes with; 2 reverse lights, bumpers with moulding strips, padded dashboard, anti-dazzle mirror, vanity mirror in passenger sun visor, lockable glove compartment, door pocket in passenger door, rear ashtray and loop pile carpet. The Sparkafer was available as a 1300 with an automatic gearbox.
1970 saw VW prepare for the introduction of a new model by releasing the 1302, essentially a hybrid of the original 1300 from the windscreen back, with the exception of the independent rear suspension, and 1303 forward of the screen. MacPherson struts were employed in the front suspension, replacing the original torsion beam design. As a result luggage capacity was increased from 140 to 260 litres.
The larger 1300/1600 engines required a more curved engine lid, new also was the through vent system, utilizing crescent shaped vents behind the rear windows which in conjunction with the fresh air ventilation allows draft free ventilation. On the new dashboard 2 vents, and adjustable vents allowed more effective ventilation. The new ventilation system was also available on the 1300/1500 models, but not the Sparkafer.