E1.5 – SE Beetle Paint Colours Europe 1970-1979

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Consistent themes

Irrespective of the motivation behind each SEB package – Celebratory or Sales Campaign they all had a consistent theme: a distinctive paintwork/trim combination enhanced by additional “M” package items and sometimes also with aftermarket accessories all at an effectively discounted total “package” price.

The most visible regular feature though of the SEBs were the paint colours they were finished in. Always of distinctive theme most were not shades from the normal model year colour chart for the saloon (sedan) Beetles.

The non-standard colours can be divided into two groups:

The first being from the palette of colours used at the Karmann factory in Osnabrück on the Beetle Cabriolet, Karmann Ghias and VW Porsche 914s. This source provided many of the brightest shades. Some, like L21E Blutorange, L32K Phoenixrot and L65K Ravennagrün, were not only popular colours on the Karmann production models but also on SEBs. L13K Sonnengelb on the other had was only seen on one SEB – a rarer Edition for the UK market – despite being a popular colour on Karmann production models notably the Beetle Cabriolet and VW Porsche 914s.

The second group being a range of colours whose origins are not readily attributable to an obvious source as the Karmann colours are. Some were used elsewhere in the Volkswagen-Audi Group whilst others appear to have been unique to the SEB models. Included in this second  group are some rare colours used either in a very limited time period an/or on a very limited number of SEBs. Particularly noteworthy are L64M Apfelgrün, L95C Moosgrün, L95M Ontario- metallic and LE3Y Pfirsichrot- metallic for example being colours that were used for one year only.

The charts in section E1.15 illustrate the colours indicatively, the SEBs on which they were used and the frequency of their use. An annotation key is used in the charts to show where the colours were sourced from as follows:

K= Karmann paint colour used on Beetle Cabriolets, Karmann Ghias and VW Porsche 914s

n1 = standard European Volkswagen paint colour for Beetle and other air-cooled passenger car models

n2 = standard European Volkswagen – Audi paint colour used within the VAG Group on passenger car models

s = special paint colour of which other uses within the Volkswagen Group are not clear.

Information from the Glasurit website suggests that some colours had a much longer period of use with Volkswagen than we had realised before undertaking the research behind these tables – L15M Zitronengelb being a particularly good example.

Standard European production Beetle saloons (sedans) had the plastic seal/beading strip between the wings and body panels finished in colours to match the body paintwork. Most SEBs on the other hand are distinctive in that they had black plastic seal/beading strips. Presumably this was a logical rationalisation to ease production complexities and relieve the need of having to manufacture short runs of colour matched strips. The detail does however lend a very distinctive small detailing touch to the SEB models and seems to “lift” the visual impact of the paintwork.

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Copyright Stephen Paul Hardy


This page last modified: 2017-01-02