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Friday, December 30, 2016

Johnny Lightning 1975 Volkswagen Super Beetle Convertible

Ok, so the Kafer Racer may not be your ideal VW Beetle casting.  Maybe you prefer the traditional stock VW Beetle?  If you do, then this resurrected Johnny Lightning casting might get your attention.  This is one of the few late-model Super Beetle Convertible replica's out there, and while it also comes in red with black interior and top there's something about this yellow with white top.

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The Super Beetle was launched in the 1970's as a longer and slightly more powerful Beetle that can adapt to new U.S. safety regulations.  The front hood was lengthened to allow the spare tire to rest flat on the floor and the fuel tank to move slightly back to improve trunk space at the front.  This also added some extra safety for frontal collisions as well.  The exterior remained the same save for 5 mph impact bumpers and larger rear taillights with integrated turn signal and reverse lamps.  The interior got major revisions that now included padded dash and door panels, 4-spoke steering wheel, switches mounted on steering wheel stalks, radio, and HVAC controls with new air vents.  The front seats also got integrated headrests.  Powering the beetle is the 1600 CC air-cooled flat-4 that produces 57 horsepower through a 4-speed manual transmission.  The convertible top, when folded, stacks up behind the rear seats and a novelty feature to VW cabrio's until 1993.

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The yellow with white interior and top really brings out the smiles in people as these two vivid colors mean sunny days; perfect for a convertible.  The front-end has round headlights with chrome trim, chrome handle for trunk with adjoining trim, fender-mounted signal lights, and a front bumper with black trim.  The sides show silver trim along the beltline and lower door sills, with visible door hinges and vent windows on the doors.  Yes, Johnny Lighting does offer an open top version, but they decided to make this version with the top up to show the ripples in the top.  The top is not removable.

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The rear has detailed tri-taillights, engine cover vents and plate area with 2 OWNR plate, and dual exhausts below the rear bumper.  The chrome hubcaps on rubber tires look perfect here, though they do look small compared to the relatively large body.  The base does not show much aside from the transmission and the floor recesses.  The interior has front bucket seats with head restraints, while the rear seats look pretty accomidating for a small car.  The door panels are detailed with ridges and handles, while the floor shifter and parking brake are also visible.  The 4-spoke steering wheel sits in front of an updated dashboard with detailed air vents, radio, and HVAC controls in the center.  Even with the exterior being unchanged for three decades the interior update really brought the Beetle up to par with 1970's vehicles.  Too bad the Beetle's life was ended with the introduction of the Golf in the late 1970's.

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I wasn't expecting this Beetle casting to be vary nice, but this yellow and white example really proved me wrong and brought to my understanding the fun of a drop top Beetle.

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