Posted: 09 May 2004
1979 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet 'Epilogue' - 7,540 Original Miles!
A classic Volkswagen Beetle is an automobile icon and internationally popular cult object. More so, it is a prime collectible, especially the open-air variant.
Every 4-seater Volkswagen convertible since day one was largely hand-built by specially trained, Old World craftsmen at Karmann Coachworks in OsnabrÃ¼ck, Germany. When after 31 years of uninterrupted production it all came to an end on January 31, 1980, Bug lovers worldwide were truly heartbroken.
Appropriately, some of the last few Kabrioletts built were dressed in black, the color of mourning. Formally called the Epilogue model, these cars are rarer than hens' teeth today. No Volkswagen dealer in the country could order more than a single Epilogue. The only triple black US Beetle convertible ever available from the factory, the Epilogue Cabriolets are among the most collectible and most valuable Volkswagens ever built.
The 1979 Cabriolet presented for auction here, VIN *1592026853* is one of those rare Epilogues. What makes it even more desirable is the fact that it was NOT SOLD, instead remaining on the dealer's California showroom floor as a much-admired display car, only to be driven on special occasions.
As of today, this Epilogue has travelled a mere 7,540 miles. Yes, that's the total mileage, guaranteed.
The car is still titled in the name of the Southern California dealership. A look at the service sticker on the Bug's door jamb reveals that on November 1, 1991--13 years ago--the mileage was recorded at 6,902.
Looking at this factory original Epilogue Cabriolet today, it is hard to believe that it is already 25 years old, a quarter of a Century!
The jet black paint sparkles like it's still 1979. No rock chips, no scratches, no dings, no dents anywhere! Running boards still have their production labels attached; polished aluminum rear fender splash guards are mint!
The uniquely structured, multi-layered convertible top is still the original one. It is absolutely flawless, including the headliner. The convertible top boot is so crisp, you'd assume it was sewn last week. Well, we know that it wasn't; it's 25 years old!
The date-coded, argent silver, factory 'Sport Wheels' defy their age to the fullest. DUNLOP SP tires of the dimension 165 SR 15 still show their red wear indicators. All of the black plastic center caps and lug nut caps are truly perfect!
Get down on your hands and knees to check out the undercarriage: it's so clean, you could eat off of it!
Take a peek at the wheel wells and you'll amazed to find that they're sparkling clean, too.
It might be redundant, but let me state clearly: this Bug is rust free. Never had rust, never needed rust repair. That's guaranteed.
Aside from the coachwork and undercarriage, there are other important areas Beetle experts like to inspect closely, simply because they are easily neglected and thus tell more about a Beetle's true condition than a shiny exterior. These areas are the trunk (1) and the battery area (2) below the rear seat.
Everything is in prime condition--the NLA original cardboard covers are nicely preserved. The date-coded spare wheel looks unused, and the trunk floor is virginal.
Wow, this is most unusual! No damage due to spilled battery acid. Note the tire jack, still in its original location. It has not been needed in 7,500 miles . . .
The Beetle's interior gives convincing testimony to the car's ultra-low mileage. The original steering wheel and dash are crack free and perfect, the wood applique does not even show a hint of fading.
Late model Super Beetle convertibles could boast a number of improvements over earlier models, such as a clock (yes, it still works perfectly), fresh air blower fan, heated rear window, adjustable head restraints, 3-point safety belts, and even a tiny spotlight illuminating the heater levers between the seats. Note the dealer-installed AM radio.
Black basketweave leatherette upholstery is 100% factory original. It's free of any rips, tears, or discoloration; certainly due to the car's low mileage, there is no sagging of the stuffing to report, either. Thankfully, no unsightly speaker holes mutilate the door panels.
You can fit two, even three adults onto the rear seat of a Bug convertible, and they don't need to visit Yoga classes first. Rear compartment is all original as well, and free of wear and tear. No wonder, since this car has been driven a mere 300 miles annually, on average!
Vulnerable white plastic side covers--almost always cracked--are pristine. Cardboard cover for engine computer--located on the right side of the immaculate, felt-lined luggage compartment behind the folding rear seatback--is superbly preserved as well.
Black on black, inside and out. This car is spotless!
Let's check out the engine compartment, shall we?
Clean, clean, clean! Even the inside of the decklid sparkles like a mirror! Engine is the original, air-cooled, BOSCH L-Jetronic-injected 1.6-liter, dual port opposed-four, the final evolution of a power plant that has become a legend in its own right. The Boxer starts, runs, and sounds like a champ. No smoke or leaks spoil the good impression. It's healthy, clean, and a very peppy performer. Best of all, it will last forever.
You can look everywhere; this car's ultra low mileage will be evident. Cadmium-plated parts on engine and transmission have retained their golden sparkle for 25 years.
Ardent collectors might call it sacrilegious, but we're not going to park this rare Epilogue in the garage forever, for fear of adding a few miles. So let's find out what it's like to pilot a 25-year-old car with roots in the 1930s!
Spring has arrived just in time to go for a nice cruise; April 28 is a gorgeous day in Santa Barbara. The Beetle starts instantly, sounds great, and runs like a Rolex watch. Only a low-mileage Beetle rides and drives like this one. There's no shimmy or shake. Suspension is firm, brakes are strong. Levers and switches have retained their 'new' feel.
On a quaint backcountry road, with none of the pitiful crop of 2004 cars around, driving this 'new' classic Beetle feels like a trip down memory lane. All of a sudden, it's 1979 again!
As time marches on, finding a superb '79 Cabriolet like this one becomes more and more unlikely. Driven a mere 7,540 miles during the last quarter Century, this Epilogue may just be what the Doctor ordered to cure the cookie-cutter-car-blues.
Although not an entry level Beetle Cabriolet, this authentic Epilogue offered here at a sensible reserve will be a good investment. For about half of the money of a NEW BEETLE Cabriolet, you'll receive a blue chip collectible that can become part of a collection, be an attention getter on a VW dealer's showroom floor, or serve faithfully as a smart and fun alternative to a 'modern' automobile, foregoing depreciation forever.
(for informational purposes only)
Laguna Beach, California, U.S.A.
Specs & Details
Interior Color: black
Engine: air-cooled 4 cyl boxer
Miles Driven: 7,540
Sold For: $20,100
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