Volkswagen Type 15 Cabriolet by Karmann

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Type 15 Cabriolet by Karmann





It was in 1948 that Wilhelm Karmann first bought a VW Beetle sedan and converted it into a four-seated convertible. After successfully presenting it at VW in Wolfsburg the Beetle Cabriolet began production in 1949 by Karmann in Osnabrück.

The convertible was more than a Beetle with a folding top. To compensate for the strength lost in removing the roof, the sills were reinforced with welded U-channel rails, a transverse beam was fitted below the front edge of the rear seat cushion, and the side cowl-panels below the instrument panel were double-wall. In addition, the lower corners of the door apertures had welded-in curved gussets, and the doors had secondary alignment wedges at the B-pillar.

The top was cabriolet-style with a full inner headliner hiding the folding mechanism and crossbars. In between the two top layers was 1 in (25 mm) of insulation. The rear window was tempered safety glass, and after 1968, heated. Due to the thickness of the top, it remained quite tall when folded. To enable the driver to see over the lowered top, the inside rearview was mounted on an offset pivot. By twisting the mirror 180 degrees on a longitudinal axis, the mirror glass would raise approximately 2 in (5.1 cm).

After a pre-series of 25 vehicles completed the tough VW tests with flying colors, Wolfsburg ordered a first series of 1,000 pieces. Three years later, the ten thousandth convertible from the band and the production ended in 1980. As Brezelcabrios the convertibles built until 1952 are called, just because the sedans of this era had the distinctive rear window. From 1951 there was a special feature for a year: the side panels at the front got to the ventilation of the footwell Ausstellklappen, soon dubbed "rheumatic valves". With DM 6950, the convertible was half the price of the standard sedan.

The convertible was generally more lavishly equipped than the sedan with dual rear ashtrays, twin map pockets, a visor vanity mirror on the passenger side, rear stone shields, and through 1969, wheel trim rings. Many of these items did not become available on other Beetles until the advent of the optional "L" (Luxus) Package of 1970.

After a number of stylistic and technical alterations made to the Karmann cabriolet, (corresponding to the many changes VW made to the Beetle throughout its history), the last of 331,847 cabriolets came off the production line on 10 January 1980.

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