The Jeans’ along with the City’ and Big’ were a significant trio of Sales Campaign models launched at the height of the European manufactured SEB era.
Together the formed the “Käfer der Käufer” Edition which repeated a theme used by Volkswagen artier that year in the “Drei Käfer auf Extra-Tour” Edition in using a trio of Beetles as the base models: spartan 1200cc, luxe 1300cc and sports 1600cc.
All three Beetles of the “Käfer der Käufer” Edition were represented on the extensive Volkswagen display at the 1973 Frankfurt Motor Show where the Jeans was priced at DM 5995 just DM345 more than the standard German market 1200 on which it was based. Unusual for the era was the fact that the Jeans, City and Big Beetles shared an official Volkswagen sales brochure. For markets such as the UK that did not import the City Beetle an alternative version of the brochure was produced featuring only the Jeans and Big Beetles. Publicity photos of this trio were also liberally produced and as a result these three models grouped together have become one of the most frequent seen illustrations of 1970‘s SEBs in books and magazines.
Of that trio the Jeans was certainly the most unorthodox and striking with all the trim normally seen in polished chrome given a black finish. Combining a distinctive solid colour paintwork and black trim was not an SEB finish exclusive to the Jeans models but with the addition to it of denim upholstery it proved to be one of the most endearing and enduring themes throughout the history of worldwide SEB production.
This the first ever model – the ’74 Jeans Beetle (S761), designed by designer Gunhild Liljequist, was a 1200/34hp based model with L16M Tunisgelb/Tunis Yellow paintwork, 4.5Jx15 Lemmerz GT sports wheels (M976), black side carrying “jeans” lettering with matching black lettering on the engine cover, denim seat covers with coloured stitching and pockets in the back rests, M Pack (Z 06) including heated rear window. The trim mouldings were black and was fitted with a ‘Ludwigshafen’ or ‘Wolfsburg’ (MW/VHF) radio. Production Plate studies by the UK Jeans Register suggests that VW Wolfsburg built the UK bound chassis’s in batches to be sent out to Belgium for assembly.
A Jeans II series was produced later that model year in two series. One for the home market and another for Export either in L11C Brillantgelb/Brilliant Yellow, L20A Marinogelb/Marino Yellow and L32K Phoenixrot/Phoenix Red paintwork with variations in equipment and colour combinations. Some fitted with high back seats and the S716 model notably with Marathon (Lemmerz) wheels.
In mid 1974 Dealers made available a ‘Jeans Kit’ of decals, seat covers and mud flaps. These items can be distinguished by the letter a in the Jeans logo which is more legible than on the factory Special Editions.
Unlike many other European markets only the first version – the S761 ’74 Jeans – was sold in the UK where reversing lights came as part of the equipment list. Priced at £1020 it cost £71 more than the standard model 1200 Beetle. UK importation amounted to 1,600 examples. 4000 produced for the German market.
The Jeans II and the Herringbone edition were marketed by Volkswagen as a ‘Volkssparwagen’ – a sales campaign emphasized that you were saving money not only on the purchase but also in gasoline and insurance. A newspaper was printed to promote the campaign.
Volkssparwagen promotional newspaper courtesy Jan Walter.
1/18 Otto Mobile S716 Jeans II Export
Further reading on this website:
“Retrospectively Speaking” editorial column RS 003
Marino Yellow photos courtesy Pat Parts, Belgium.