Who we are

COLIN SHINKIN –

Colin’s first car was a 1965 Ruby Red 1200 Beetle ‘Deluxe’ which led him very quickly to an obsession with all things VW. After studying art and design at Cambridge Art School he relocated to London working in various publishing and graphic design studios.

His next vehicles were a 1972 1302 S ‘Super Beetle’, and a 1970 American specification Beetle 1600 – ‘left behind’ by a UK based American Air Force employee on his way home. An avid reader of Dune Buggies and HotVWs and VW Trends magazines during the early 70s Colin visited many shows as possible and watched with excitement the US customisation and drag scene develop over here.

At the end of the 90s, and by now the owner of another ’72 1302 S, it became clear to Colin during a VW forum chat that there was very little documentation regarding Special Edition Sales Campaign models. As he was now happily embracing the ‘new media’ of the internet SEBeetles.com quickly followed. The now defunct 1302super.com website was also a labour of love during that period.

Colin’s most recent Beetle was a Willow Green ’72 1302 (favourite year and model – you guessed it) May Beetle. Now resident in west London, UK Colin has resigned himself to the fact that after 45 years the VW bug has well and truly bitten – and shows no sign of a cure.

Colin is the designer, owner and webmaster of SEBeetles who’s passion for the Special Editions of all three generations of Beetles keeps him alert and very busy constantly updating and improving the site. In addition, he is constantly active keeping the dedicated Facebook Group updated and puts a lot of energy into turning his dream of making the Parkplatz meetings increasingly successful.

 

STEPHEN PAUL HARDY –

The start of Stephen’s passion for the Special Edition (Sales Campaign) VW Beetles – what we call “SE Beetles”- goes back to June 1970 when, as a teenager, he saw one of the first factory produced Sales Campaign Editions on his local Volkswagen dealer’s forecourt. The special bright paintwork of that June Beetle and the succession of colourful and charismatic SE Beetles that followed throughout the 1970’s fired his imagination and a passion for the subject that has lasted for 45 years.

A respected authority on a whole range of VW production history topics Stephen has had a significant number of articles published over the years in national – and international – circulation magazines catering for enthusiasts interested in both miniature and full-size Volkswagens alike.

All his articles from the 1980’s were, for convenience, written under the quasi-pen name of “Beverley and Stephen Hardy” supplemented later also by a small amount of work for “VOLKSWORLD” Magazine under the pseudonym Jan Sebestyén. From the mid 1990’s all his published work can be identified simply through the use of his own name, sometimes given as “Stephen Hardy” and sometimes given in full as “Stephen Paul Hardy”.

Against a boyhood background of the first VW coming into his family life in 1966 in the form of a brand new 1300 Beetle his own ownership kicked off, in scale model form, in 1971 and in full-size form in 1974. His VW ownership (in all sizes) has been continuous since then.

His first article on SE Beetles saw the light of day in the May 1981 issue of “BEETLING” Magazine published in the UK by Autometrix Publications. A lot of resulting reader interest in that article and collaboration with equally well-known authority, particularly on early VW production matters, Chris Barber resulted in a series of articles in BEETLING’s successor “Volkswagen Audi Car” Magazine during 1983. In these pre-internet days, the articles were a definitive reference source not only about European produced SE Beetles but the, then little known and unique, SE Beetles manufactured in South Africa.

Further updating articles on SE Beetles researched by Stephen were published throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s in “Safer Motoring” Magazine (later VW Motoring). Stephen continues to write occasional articles for Autometrix Publications’ current “Volkswagen Driver” Magazine and for “MODEL Collector” Magazine.

United by a passion for the subject Stephen has, since 2015, been working with Colin Shinkin behind the scenes at SEBeetles.com which is the most comprehensive information resources in the world about the Special Edition (Sales Campaign) Beetles. Between them, Colin and Stephen are currently undertaking extensive, painstaking, background research with the intent of keeping this immensely successful website up-to-date.

As Stephen recently mused: “Many of details about the early SE Beetles are still unknown and difficult to accurately catalogue. This is partly because of the nature of their being limited one-off production batches not catalogued within the normal model year information and partly because they came from an era of paper records, Much of this archive information being now lost or forgotten. This situation is further exacerbated by some Editions being factory instigated whilst others, it seems, were batch orders placed by the various official Volkswagen importers to the various “export” markets outside of Germany.

It is perhaps a sobering thought that more is now known about the early Beetle prototypes and production models from the 1940’s and 1950’s than is known about some of the SE Beetles from the 1970’s.

Despite the wonderful facility of internet access, which is enabling enthusiasts to share information in a way hitherto thought impossible, research on SE Beetles’s is, in fact, becoming more difficult with the passing of time. Many of the details that we do know about them are anecdotal and recorded only in the memories of enthusiasts who were around in the 1970’s. We need to verify all this anecdotal information and record it in a readily accessible, electronic, way now for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations of Beetle enthusiasts while our grey cells are still functioning”.

Stephen continues to write the occasional article for Autometrix Publications’ current “Volkswagen Driver” Magazine and currently writes regular features and reviews for “MODEL Collector” Magazine. Stephen, whose main area of contribution is very seventies-centric, contributes with his journalistically based experience and almost sixth sense ability to dig out apparently disparate snippets of information that ultimately lead to coherently piecing together additional chapters of the history of SEB production.

 

JAN WALTER –

Jan’s relationship with Special Edition Beetles began since his birth having been driven around in his mothers Ontario Blue 1303 City for the first four years of his life – ‘Mummy, daddy, Beetle.’ was his alleged first words! Furthermore, it has also been alleged he took more care with his growing collection of over 70 scale model cars than his own attempts to learn to walk!

At the age of five, he read his first Beetle magazine. This was the foundation for his general Volkswagen education and Beetle history books and more magazines followed on and up throughout his teenage years. At that time he inherited his grandfather’s 1302 Convertible, the wedding car of his parents and a well-cared for family member. He contacted Colin in the early days of 1302super.com and sebeetles.com to exchange information relating to the City and 1302. He has become a regular contributor since then and archives special edition related content and provides his own picture library as a research pool for SE Beetles.

He finally drove off to college to study media and cultural studies, later going into the performing arts. Even before he had a driver’s license Jan saved all his money to buy a daily driver Beetle. The result was a very special Mexican Open Air sunroof Beetle, which later inspired him to initiate the 1600i Open Air Register. More tangible by-products of his VW passion are the restoration of a wrecked 1950 Convertible and, perhaps more significantly, one of the only 25 World Cup 1974 Convertibles produced.

Jan is the eagle-eyed part of the team who has an amazing ability to accurately collate, catalogue and recall photographic and documentary evidence. As such he is the binder which brings the emotive, passion-driven but often less attentive skills of Colin and Stephen into a cohesive whole ensuring that what is published is consistent and as accurate as the information leads us to believe at any given time.

Together these three enthusiasts have come together to make a classic team who’s aggregated knowledge and expertise are far greater than the sum of its individual parts.


THE WIDER SEBEETLES TEAM –

Credit must go though to all the other enthusiasts who help with information, photographs and documentary evidence. This is a truly International network of SEB fans who make invaluable contributions to recording SEB history via this, and other model specific, websites, Groups, and Forums. Their help comes to us in many ways not least of which through the very active Facebook Group that is dedicated to the Special Edition Beetles.

Such input and help are credited variously through this website to its contributors. Without that information, we would not have managed to publish nearly as much information as has, in fact, become possible.

THE ONGOING DEVELOPMENT OF THIS WEBSITE –

Many of details about the early SE Beetles are still unknown and difficult to accurately catalogue. This is partly because of the nature of their being limited one-off production batches not catalogued within the normal model year information and partly because they came from an era of paper records.

Much of this archive information has now been lost or forgotten. This situation is further exacerbated by some Editions being factory instigated whilst others, it seems, were batch orders placed by the various official Volkswagen importers to the various “export” markets outside of Germany.

It is perhaps a sobering thought that more is now known about the early Beetle prototypes and production models from the 1940’s and 1950’s than is known about some of the SE Beetles from the 1970’s.

Perhaps even more sobering is the reality that surviving examples of the earliest 1970 Spring Edition series and many subsequent Editions are now much rarer than surviving examples of the highly sought after Hebmüller two-seater Beetle Cabrio produced between 1949 and 1951.

Despite the wonderful facility of internet access, which is enabling enthusiasts to share information in a way hitherto thought impossible, research on SE Beetles’s is, in fact, becoming more difficult with the passing of time. Many of the details that we do know about them are anecdotal and recorded only in the memories of enthusiasts who were around in the 1970’s. We need to verify all this anecdotal information and record it in a readily accessible, electronic, way now in SEBeetles for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations of Beetle enthusiasts while our grey cells (certainly in Colin and Stephen’s case) are still functioning.

Supported by the International network of fans Colin, Stephen, and Jan between them continue to undertake the extensive, painstaking, background research needed to keep this immensely successful website up-to-date.

A website which is the most comprehensive information resources in the world about the Special Edition (Sales Campaign) Beetles produced 1970 to the present day.

– Stephen Paul Hardy, January 2018.


This page last modified: 2018-02-25