Sunday, December 8, 2013

La Grande Edition

All right so I finally decided to do a write up about something I found out about my car after I bought it. Originally I bought my car because i wanted a super Beetle, the sunroof was a plus and I like the Fuel Injection because I thought I wouldn't have to do much with it. Wrong! But that's a story for another post.

After I bought it I posted pics of my car on thesamba.com and immediately I had someone post a reply saying something along the lines of "wow that's a great car! did you know that all 1975 supers were La Grande editions?" I was surprised, turns out my car is a relatively rare model. There weren't very many of these special edition models produced.

These La Grande Beetles were produced as kind of a farewell to the super beetle as all super beetle sedans were dropped after 1975. (the convertible ones hung around until 1980). They were meant to be a luxury edition of the Beetle and originally they were really quite nice, they were no Cadillac as far as handling but as far as Beetles go they were nice.

They came in three colors a metallic blue, metallic green, and a metallic harvest gold. The paint was a very nice elegant metallic shine. On the rear deck lid there was a La Grande Edition badge. Also included on all models was a metal sunroof from the factory, and optional at the dealership were pop-out rear windows for more air flow. The interior was a bit nicer than the base model standard beetles as well. All the vinyl trim was leather grained with corduroy inserts. It also came with a wood grain dash insert. The gold bug had a brown interior, the blue bug had a blue interior, and the green had a matching green interior. The steering wheel was also upgraded to a soft "comfort" grip instead of the hard plastic ones.

The car itself had a few upgrades aside from aesthetic ones. For the first time VW introduced the fuel injected engine to the Beetle and it was a standard feature. So in a way it was nicer than a Cadillac as on Cadillacs Fuel injection was still an option. And the Super Beetle also got a rack and pinion steering so that it was easier to steer. Handling was still the upgraded McPherson suspension that all super Beetles came with. With all of these features the La Grande was a really nice car to drive.

My car was originally the harvest gold color which is the color of the bug in the pictures I have shown in the article. And I found out that in the US that is the most rare color. Most of the ones distributed here were the green or blue. The gold ones were distributed some in Canada. But at the end of the year VW still had orders to fill in the US so they build more of the gold beetle to finish out the sales and because of this there aren't that many gold bugs. So mine is a rather rare model. Unfortunately everything that made it a la Grande is gone. The plaque, color, wood grain dash, steering wheel. Someday I may restore it to its La Grande glory, especially since its so rare. But for know I'm just trying to keep it running. My car doesn't drive as well as an original la Grande since its 40 years old and hasn't been cared for properly in probably the same amount of time. But its a work in progress.

Any one out there have a special edition model they want to share? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. I had one which I absolutely loved. When it got stolen about 9 months after I got it, I called the dealer and asked what are the chances I could get another Super Beetle La Grande, he said, "None." I was really disappointed. Got a new MGB and while driving it one day I found my beloved VW parked by a vacant lot not too far from my home. I asked my husband about selling the MG to get the VW back, but we were in the middle of a bunch of things and he thought it would have been too much of a hassle. I'm still sorry 42 years later. Ah, life.

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