GregS
Another newbie question: how do the standard and super beetles compare safety-wise? I mean, for cars built in the same model year? I.e., how would a '72 standard beetle compare to a 1302 from the same year, and how would a '73 standard beetle compare to a '73 1303? Were there any safety features implemented in super beetles that were not added to standard beetles in the same model year?
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flash

I have read or been told that due to the McPhearson struts on my 73 Super I can turn in a 3' smaller radius than the standard bug.  Don't know if that is a safety factor though.  Maybe with the spare tire laying flat instead of upright might be considered a factor in a front end crash. The curved windsheild offers wider visability.

Loren R. Knapp
In The Hot Sonoran Desert of Arizona - 73 Super Beetle "The Blues."
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68autobug

The standard Beetles have a collapsible steering shaft, so that the steering wheel isn't pushed into the drivers chest in an accident...

I made My Son put one of those into His 1956 Beetle on 1968 Autostick Pan/chassis, as I believe that is a safety feature...

The supers don't need that as the shaft doesn't go straight forward into the steering box...

I prefer My 1968 standard autostickshift Beetle to a 1302S or 1303S...

although I did own a 1302S for many years back in the seventies.

I like the upright torsion bars at the front, for strength in an accident.... but a  supers flat spare wheel would take a lot of impact in a crash and probably protect and cushion the force to the occupants.....

I believe the standard Beetle to be much stronger in the front end with the torsion bars etc attached to the chassis and not the body [like the Supers]..

but whether that is a safety feature.... [I don't think so, as the Supers were designed many years after the standard Beetle]

 

Lee Noonan    68AutoBug   Australia

 

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68autobug

I recently saw on a UK website , a pic of a 1303S which had mounted a gutter while turning a corner and hit the guard rail...

The RHS fender was ripped off, the windscreen popped out, the door sprung open, the Strut was ripped from the body, and the body under the RHS fender was pushed in to the pedals....

the whole body was twisted...

 I don't believe the same amount of damage would occur to a torsion bar front suspension beetle...

The weak point IMHO is the struts being attached to the body [like most small new cars today]  the torsion bar front end is attached to the chassis... which is much stronger than the body....

 

Yes, the torsion bar beetle does take a large area to turn around....

 

 

Lee Noonan  68AutoBug   Australia

 

http://community.webshots.com/user/vw68autobug

 

 

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GregS
That's scary looking damage for what sounds like a relatively minor accident.

Frankly, I'm surprised that the 1303 is less resistant to damage than a standard beetle would be; I thought that one of the reasons for the Super Beetle design changes was to improve safety. Of course, damage and safety are two separate things, but one of the keys to safety is to keep the passenger compartment intact in an accident, and it doesn't look like that Super Beetle handled that job very well.

Of course, there's no way that a 30+ year old car design is going to be as safe as one of today's cars, so accepting that risk is just part of owning a classic car. But it's still something to consider.


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GregS
Another question on this topic. I recall reading somewhere that VW changed how they fastened the seats to the chassis in the 70s; that the seats used to be bolted in place, but that because of the risk of the bolts snapping in an accident, VW switched to welding the seats in place. Clearly, this would be an improvement in safety, since you don't want the seats coming loose in an accident. But do you folks know if this is actually true?
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BeetleWarrior

In '73 they went to a 3 point mount. This used a pin to hold the seat in the desired position.

 

Terry

'70 Bay
'73 Bug
'73 Super
[url=http://texasaircoolers.com/]TexasAirCoolers.Com[/url]
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68autobug

 

Yes,

Safety and strength no longer go hand in hand....

Safety these days are collapsible zones built into every car....

so late model cars get totally wrecked in relatively small accidents....

 

later model Beetles 1302S  1303S have the front suspension mounted to the body, which means they can really get damaged a lot, and actually totally wrecked , in a minor accident....  twisted body etc...

where as the earlier beetles can usually be fixed....

these are just My observations over the years.....

My fathers 60 model beetle was involved in so many rear end crashes in which He crashed into the car in front.....   so Neither bonnet or engine lid were able to be opened, on many occasions...

 

Volkswagenwerk used to say they did every modification to better the car.... but in the later years, I believe many things were to cut costs or make it easier or cheaper to manufacture.... IMHO....

 

 although the 1303 Super was designed around the USA safety laws at the time..... 

 

Lee Noonan    68AutoBug   Australia

 

 

http://community.webshots.com/user/vw68autobug

 

68AutoBug - helping keep air cooled Volkswagens alive in Australia & around the World -

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