1977 SP1600

Country and/or Category: South Africa | VIN range: not known | S-code(s): not known |
Extras/Options M-code(s): not known

Paint and Upholstery:

initially:

‘Arctic White’ (01) / black leatherette with red tartan seat facings (82)
‘Sunburst Yellow’ (11) / black leatherette with yellow tartan seat facings (80)
‘Silver Cloud Metallic’ (49) / black leatherette with blue tartan seat facings (83)

later additionally:

‘Calypso Coral Red’ (14) / black leatherette with red tartan seat facings (82)
‘Black metallic’ (**) / black leatherette with yellow tartan seat facings (80)

(South African Volkswagen paint colours were unique to that local market)

Accent to the paintwork was provided by all black external trim.

Technical Data:

1600cc  typ. 114S  badged ‘SP1600’

Factory Fitted Optional Equipment:

engine modifications comprising of:
twin Solex H32 34PDS1/2 carburettors and compatibility matched distributor
free flow exhaust system
with supporting bodywork modifications:
fibreglass rear valence cover to mask the unused standard exhaust cutouts
plastic rain ducting to the inside of the engine lid louvers.

VDO instrument panels replacing the grill panels either side of the speedometer and housing VDO ‘Cockpit’ style gauges:  to the left –  52mmØ oil pressure gauge above voltmeter, to the right – 80mm Ø tachometer.
Tinted windows including a windscreen with heavy tint top section
Petri AG sports steering wheel
Satin black rear stone guards
Satin black door handle finger plates
Black KAMEI style over-roof decor set with SP initialling (silver on the black paintwork version)
KAMEI style front spoiler
5½J x14” versions of the Rostyle sports wheels with 185/70 SR Low Profile tyres
Chrome wheel trim rings

Context:

The SP1600 was based on the contemporary VW_ 1600_L model with many of its standard fittings unique to Uitenhage production* It did however take inspiration from the Brazilian 1600S ‘Super Fusca’ or ‘Bizorrão’ which preceded it and had  a very similar twin carburettor set up combined with 14” road wheels.  The carburettor (and distributor) set up of the SP1600,  which delivered an extra 15% power increase over and above the standard 1600 models, is reported to have been achieved using parts imported into South Africa from Volkswagen do Brasil.

Released initially as a Special Edition during late 1976 for the 1977 model year its popularity soon won it a place in the standard factory range through the 1977 and 1978 model years until the cessation of Kewer / Beetle production in South Africa.

Whilst originally released in Arctic White, Sunburst Yellow and Silver Cloud Metallic the colour range was subsequently supplemented with Calypso Coral Red.  These normal series colours were joined by a strictly limited number of 50 ‘Midnight Series’ Black SP1600s with a silver body stripe.

The SP1600 was produced by Volkswagen of South Africa (PTY) Ltd. at Uitenhage, South Africa.

Sales Literature:

The SP1600 was initially proposed with an approximately A4 sized folded page that opened out to make a poster of the now famous Sunburst Yellow publicity shot. The reverse carried text and photos very similar to those carried in contemporary (colour) newspaper advertisements.  The SP1600 was then subsequently well illustrated and fully detailed along with the stablemate 1300, 1600L and 1600S Kewer / Beetle range in both the 1977 and 1978 model year brochures.

Unconfirmed postscript:

50 revised cars were rumoured, but unsubstantiated by photographic or documentary evidence, to have been produced by VW to enable them to take part in the South African ‘Top of the World’ rally. The cars were reportedly powered by 1900cc engines from the typ.2 range driving through Hewland Mk 5 five-speed gearboxes. (information sources include “Der Käfer IV ” by Hans Rudiger Etzold).

Further reading on this website:

 * SA 1.0 The Special Edition Beetles manufactured in Volkswagen of South Africa (PTY) Ltd.’s Uitenhage factory 1973 – 1978

SA 1.1 Paint colours of the Special Edition Beetles manufactured in Volkswagen of South Africa (PTY) Ltd.’s Uitenhage factory 1973 – 1978

Information and pictures from ‘Der Kafer IV’, Hans-Rudiger Etzold, 1995, and Kevin Chown. Silver Cloud Metallic SP courtesy of Nuno Lemos from Amigos dos Carochas de Cascais. Engine information courtesy Armand Wouter Botha. Some information courtesy Elka Neikova plus “Volkswagen Audi CAR Magazine “The Special Beetles Pt.1 – The South African Special Editions”, 1983.


This page last modified: 2020-11-17