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The Gelb Schwarzer Renner: a beloved and rare super beetle

ER Classics Desktop 2022

The Volkswagen Beetle has not only undergone various technical developments during its long life. To give the usually excellent sales an extra boost, the delivery program was regularly expanded with a special series. Every Keverfan will remember the Weltmeister, the Jeans Bug, the Big Bug, the Winter Bug and the Silver Bug. Around the turn of 1972/1973, Volkswagen launched on the basis of the just released 1303 - the last highly modified European Beetle with, among other things, the panorama window, the safety dashboard and the 1302 technology - the Gelb Schwarzer Renner.

The Gelb Schwarzer Renner had a striking and controversial color scheme. Image: Volkswagen AG (edited)
The Gelb Schwarzer Renner had a striking and controversial color scheme. Image: Volkswagen AG (edited)

Need for sporty Beetle model

For years, there has been a growing need for a sporty Beetle model within the large group of Beetle drivers and adepts. Rudolf Leiding - VW boss in the early 1000s - had by now seen that the competitors of Opel (Kadett Rallye) Simca (XNUMX Rally) had added sporty equipment variants to the delivery range. While NSU had been carrying models such as the TT and TTS for several years.

It was the era when the Super Beetle rounded up the evergreen's model range. Initially as a technically and spatially modified 1302. And from 1972 as a result of, among other things, American safety requirements as once again strongly modified 1303. Initially, the VW constructors had the idea to translate the sporty aspirations in relation to the brand new 1303 into a version with Porsche traits. That went way too far for Leiding. He ordered the manufacturers to use the well-known 1.584 cc engine with 50 HP of the 1303 S as a basis.

Discussion for Bundestag

Still, Leiding felt a lot for a special Beetle. And that feeling eventually resulted in a 1303. The car was painted in Saturngelb and matte black colors. A color scheme that raised questions at a high German political level because these colors could invite an aggressive driving style. In addition, the 'GSR' was fitted with steel sports wheels, which were surrounded by tires in size 175/70 HR 15. The bumpers were painted in matte black.

Two sports seats with headrests found a place in the predominantly black interior of the Gelb Schwarzer Renner. As well as a leather sports steering wheel. However, this 'Sonderausstattung' was not the biggest secret of the Gelb Schwarzer Renner, which was mainly seen as the basis for a really sporty Beetle.

The Gelb Schwarzer Renner is built in an edition of 3500 pieces. 100 original copies are still known worldwide. Image: Volkswagen AG (edited)
The Gelb Schwarzer Renner is built in an edition of 3500 pieces. 100 original copies are still known worldwide. Image: Volkswagen AG (edited)

Special standard feature

Volkswagen policymakers first gave this special version an 'American' standard feature. For example, the 'GSR' got slits in the front cover plate as standard. These simplified the installation of the optional oil cooler. Volkswagen also concluded agreements with a number of specialized tuners in Germany. Depending on the core activities, these tuners could adapt the Gelb Schwarzer Renner to buyer's wishes.

Buyers could go to the tuners included in the sales prospectuses for adapted cylinder heads, an adapted chassis, special double carburettors, oil coolers or engines with power ratings from 75 to 200 HP. Incidentally, Volkswagen allowed tuning by a selected performer, whereby the power increased to a maximum of 100 HP and the top speed was maximized at 165 kilometers per hour. In the event of an increase in power and performance, Volkswagen urgently advised opting for a reinforced box and wheel suspension, firmer flywheels and the reinforced box girders of the 1303 LS Convertible.

Rough husk, white kernel. Those who wanted to keep the Gelb Schwarzer Renner in original trim were satisfied with the basic specifications of the rear-mounted 1.584 cc engine of the 1303 S, on which the “GSR” was based. Image: Volkswagen (edited)

Also various factory options

Those who did not want all that and wanted the Gelb Schwarzer Renner to keep its original technical specifications could also choose from a number of factory options. Popular were the extra spotlights and the 'Halogen H4 Umrustsatz', as well as the reinforced damping that were available from the factory. A selection of other options: a rev counter, a radio, a fire extinguisher and a clock could be ticked on the order form.

Special and rare

The Gelb Schwarzer Renner. It was a special version for the German market. And it remained a special edition. Because between December 27, 1972 and February 1, 1973, 3.500 units left the factory in Wolfsburg, where they were given an ideal basis for further customization.

And the way in which Leiding dealt with those possibilities was smart. The outsourcing of tuning work ensured that Volkswagen could easily integrate the Gelb Schwarzer Renner into its own production process and build it at favorable costs. The Gelb Schwarzer Renner was therefore in every respect a unique answer to the prevailing 'sports personalization' atmosphere. And to this day a sought-after collector's item, of which around 100 pieces - personalized or not - are still on the road worldwide.




Give a reaction
  1. Under the same “aggressive” heading, the mirror image letters “turbo” fell on the front spoiler of the BMW2002.
    Which does not make people aggressive. . ..

  2. hey Jeroen

    your above response is heartfelt.
    And the Opels and Fords with their American genes are missed.
    And of course the Lancias and the Wolseleys etc etc.
    But put Jan the Dutchman in his German car and then he can drive like an ASO
    because they invite it, are built and designed for it, and radiate all of this.
    Your average German doesn't even see this.

  3. It is quite special that there was political unrest at the time because a car "would entice an aggressive driving style". I cannot currently name a German car this does not. The aggression usually radiates from the design / lighting (angry viewers), the adjustment of the engines (no throttle or full throttle) and the accompanying driving behavior of many of the drivers (m / f).

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