View original topic: 1975 Basic Bug 110 Page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
HFOAIE Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:42 pm

This is my original dictionary entry, designed to briefly educate someone who is new to the subject.
Through 1970, VW had two trim levels: "standard" and "deluxe". The USA only got "deluxe" cars. That changed a little in 1971 with the introduction of the Super Beetle. It was given extra-deluxe trim, while the regular Beetle got sub-deluxe trim. The sub-deluxe trim was enough to advertise a price under $2000. In the following years, inflation took a big toll, so in 1975 for the first and only time, VW resorted to selling a "standard" trim Bug in the USA to be able to advertise a price under $3000: the Basic Bug. The regular Bug could also be had in the same sub-deluxe trim as usual, but for $200 more: the Custom Bug. VW didn't say much about the "Basic" and "Custom" because they wanted customers to just focus on buying a Beetle. Since the Custom Bug already bore the official model number of 111, the Basic Bug was given the official model number of 110.
The Basic Bug was about as stripped as they could make it, with black trim outside, including plastic center caps on regular wheels, virtually no insulation, only the top of the headliner, cardboard and fiberboard throughout the interior, and most notably, no flow-through ventilation. This was in bizzarre contrast to government mandated burdens like 5 mph bumpers with rubber strips and end caps, a one year/one model dash pad, expensive and complex new fuel injection, an EGR counter, and the little spotlight under the dash to illuminate the heater controls. The Basic Bug 110 was the poster child for How Not To Do It.
Read on for all the details. :arrow:

I recently added a definition to the Samba dictionary, and Everett Barnes himself wants me to mention it here. So, away we go ! In my search for restoration parts, I have NEVER encountered anyone who simply didn't have the parts. Instead, I have encountered a group I call "pretend VW experts". THEY think I'M stupid. They are sure I don't know the difference between a 1975 Basic Bug, and a 1973 Sports Bug ! They are sure it snuck into the USA from Canada or Mexico. They are sure some individual has cobbled something together. I'm sure they are "pretend VW experts". :idea:
So I gathered lots of proof. I'm about to be very generous to the "pretend VW experts". After the way they've treated me, I'd rather say, "if you don't know, I'm not gonna tell you".
--Road & Track May 1975. It was on the cover, and inside the black & white pictures vaguely show some details. Text and a couple of charts reveal more details of the 1975 Basic Bug, and it's companion, the Custom Bug.
--DB&HVWs July 1993. In the series on each year, it gets a few sentences.
--!975 Bug sales brochure. It's all on the back page, in the fine print (and I never thought I'd like something the government did). The 3 colors; 5.60x15 tires; cheap battery.
--Because of the issue of advertising a price under $3000, it was the only Bug used in magazine ads for 1975, with a few more government mandated details. They tried not to show it clearly, but it's there.
--For you "pretend VW expert" holdouts, there is no evidence for the existence of the Basic Bug in the owner's manual !

I have only 2 questions. What were the production numbers of Basic Bugs versus Custom Bugs, and was the fuel injection script on the decklid supposed to be chrome or black ?

a.wilson Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:47 pm


First I just wanted to say thank you for posting those photos up for the archives.

That yellow one shown a few items which were long missing on mine, by the time it came into my possession..
and honestly.. a few things that not even I knew about. (such as having those rubber plugs in the front cowl where the airbox is supposed to go).

Do you have any additional photos of the rear seat backing in that yellow '110? All seats were gone in mine so having to start from scratch.

BTW: if you have not seen this thread yet, it shows a good amount about the '110.

akcapsamb Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:06 pm

For the record, I think there's one of these in the classifieds
here right now... with what I'm guessing are some later mods:

a.wilson Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:51 pm

akcapsamb wrote: For the record, I think there's one of these in the classifieds here right now... with what I'm guessing are some later mods:

Notice the vent crescent (missing) and the unusual headliner... the chrome (bumpers, etc) and nicer door panels could easily have been added later.

Sure is one. Seat covers, door panels and outer trim were swapped out for the more common replacement items from VW vendor catalog/websites. It's pretty simple to upgrade those

Now as for what color the decklid FI script is, that I'm not sure of. I could only guess that it was black like rest of the trim. Mine was missing though..

Couple of years ago SkatBaG (in older link above) was selling his bug, and at that time I copied a few of his photos from his ad.
I tried scanning a rear shot of his bug from the copy -- but turned out grainy.
You'll have to judge for yourself wether it is black or not. IMO sort of does look black. :?

akcapsamb Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:16 pm

Here's another on Clist in Atlanta:

rustfree1967bug Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:26 pm

I parted out and scraped this 110 last fall.

I also know of another '75 110 for parts that I can get pretty cheaply. I will probably buy it save any good parts and junk it as well. So if any one needs any parts keep an eye on the classifieds in the next month or so.

HFOAIE Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:10 pm

I'm glad to hear from other people who know what I'm talking about. Have any of you run into those "pretend VW experts" like I did ?
The blue Basic Bug currently on The Samba is the most incorrectly restored Basic Bug I've ever seen. I would like to use the picture of the side of the headliner, but the restorer went to the trouble to add an assist strap on the door post, and a grab handle above the door. On my car, the assist strap "holes" are indentations which aren't open, and the grab handle holes contain square white plastic plugs.

The rear seat backing is the same painted fiberboard as the kick panels under the rear seat. I can work on getting a picture.

HFOAIE Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:52 pm

My dad bought the Basic Bug when it was a year old, and it came with chrome script on the decklid. I figured that maybe since they had a few dollars to spare before hitting $3000, they might have splurged on showing off the FI. And there WAS chrome on this car, like the knob holders for the vent wings, so it wasn't out of the realm of possibility.

In a related issue, it came without a radio, and back then I had to install one right away! Now I don't know if I removed a black plug or a chrome plug for the antenna.

One more thing: I cannot remember if it came with covers on the trunk lid springs, or if I added them. (hey, at least they were black)

Oh, ya, and the outside mirror had a black arm, but the body of it seems to have been aluminum, unless the one I have has faded even worse than the black "chrome" strips.

Those pictures in the dictionary come with a lot of narration, and Everett edited something interesting. The trunk lining was originally stuffed in on top of the EGR counter, but I cut the hole so it could lay flat.

19super73 Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:57 pm

The chrome on my wife's '75 110 is chrome, not black. The FI script is chrome and there is the basic chrome trim on the car except for the front hood, no chrome script there.

Around the vent windows on the doors is black, not chrome. The only options ours has is a gas heater and a stock radio. No rear defog at all.

akcapsamb Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:34 am

This list consolidates and updates what we understand about the build
specs for the 1975 Model 110. Sources are listed below, and questionable
items are marked with (verify). Last updated: 6 Nov 2010

No flow-through ventilation:
...No intake grill on the front hood
...No fresh air vents in the dash pad
...No air box in the trunk
...No crescent vents behind the rear side windows
...No dashboard control knob
Low-spec interior trim:
...Door panels: black exposed-fastener vinyl, smooth (no embossing), over fiberboard
...No armrests on door panels
...No rear coat hooks or assist straps
...No storage pockets on door panels
...Rear side panels: black exposed-fastener vinyl, smooth (no embossing), over fiberboard
...grey embossed cardboard rear cargo area liner embossed cardboard fuel injection computer liner @ rear cargo area
Three colors only:
...L10A Rallye Yellow
...L31A African Red
...L51C Miami Blue
One interior only:
...Houndstooth cloth seats (though black and white, VWOA called this 'grey') choice of leatherette.
Exterior black trim:
...door handles
...left mirror
...front trunk handle front turn signal housings
...front and rear bumpers
...engine release
...headlight rings
...antenna blanking plug
Partial headliner ('floating' headliner, exposed paint at front, rear and sides)
5.60x15 bias ply tires (vs. 6 x 15 tires)
12V/36 amp battery (vs. 12V/45 amp battery)
No engine compartment sound insulation.
Aluminum-finish rear deck "fuel injection" emblem.
Black plastic center caps on standard wheels (no hub caps).
No passenger grab handle on the roof, blanking plugs.
Black fender welting (verify)

As per Beetle build specs of the day: the 110 included no
round VW emblem on the front hood and featured felt or napped
carpeting (04V Anthracite Gray) (also called sometimes Salt & Pepper) at
front cowls and side members but NOT in the luggage area behind the rear
seat. Floor mats, four piece 041 Black. Wheels were regular type
ET40 4.5Jx15, L91 Chrome Silver. The 110 came
with an uncut dash pad, where no radio was provided -- and no defroster,
i.e., rear window with electric heat elements. The 110 carried round white
plugs where the defroster wires would enter the bodywork and a black
under-dash switch-blanking plug. The May 1975 Road & Track magazine
article said the defroster was a $35 (dealer installed?) option.

The 110 and the Sparkäfer: In 1975, VWAG introduced the Model 1200
in Germany, what eventually became known as the Sparkäfer (Savings Beetle)
The German Domestic Market (GDM) Sparkäfer's features parallelled the
1975 Model 110, without Bosch L Jettronic fuel injection. The
Sparkäfer retailed in Germany for DM 6,950 -- at an exchange rate of 2.6,
roughly equivalent to $2675.

The 110 & the 1974 Love Bug: The 1975 Model 110 followed
the late 1974 Love Bug, also a de-contented model. The Model
110 shared the Love Bug's all black exterior trim, houndstooth cloth and
black fender welting. Love Bugs had embossed vinyl door and rear side panels
with concealed fasteners and full headlining. Love Bugs didn't include
flow-through ventilation, but did carry the rear crescent vents, were available
in either Phoenix Red (32K) or Ravenna Green (65K) and carried a "Love Bug"
emblem and a dealer installed "Love Bug" exterior emblem (location varied per
dealer). Wheels were star pattern wheels, 15 x 4.5, painted L97U Aluminum.

Cloth interior: The 1974 Love Bug & 1975 Model 110 only came with
houndstooth cloth seating surfaces, which were theoretically available
on other 74 & 75 Model 111 Beetles -- though in reality these were rare
(effectively to the point of being non-existent?) because VWoA "strongly
recommended" (insisted?) dealers order leatherette-equipped models only.

Historical context: These models occurred at a time of rapid inflation and currency
fluctuation. MSRP increases came in quick succession, especially for
importers like VWoA. In response, the company introduced a series of
de-contented models to keep the MSRP of the Beetle competitive -- arguably
in vain. In late 1974, the Love Bug retailed for $2499. A year later, the
Model 110, including even less equipment, retailed for $2999. Currency
differentials and MSRP inflation were causal factors in Beetle's ultimate demise
in the US.

The concept of the 'stripped' Beetle, was hardly foreign to Volkswagen; the
ultra-basic trim was a common offering in the Beetle's domestic range, with
VW offering essentially similar configurations as to the public and as light duty
'commercial' vehicles for the German Post Office, other utilities, and the military.

In 1976, Ford offered the Pinto Pony MPG model at a $2,895 MSRP with
inexpensive cloth seats, black rubber floor mats and a more economical axle.

Also in 1976, Chevrolet marketed the Chevette Scooter model at a MSRP of
$2,899, without a rear seat or glovebox door.

In 1973, VW had marketed a reduced content version of the Type 3, a corollary to the 1975 Model 110, the Type 3 Basic Compact: without belt line chrome, door pockets, clock, rear window defogger... and with painted frames around the vent windows, a black cardboard front trunk liner over the gas tank (no liner on the sides, or over the firewall), plain vinyl door panels,rubber mats in lieu of interior carpet, and (per the 1973 VW color chart) only three of the six possible Type 3 colors of 73: Marina Blue, Bright Orange and Texas Yellow.

Note: The 110 build specs may have included factory option M149
(which the Love Bug did include), the black-out package for exhaust pipes,
headlamp rings, door window vent wing posts, door handles, all painted flat
black. (verify)

* J.T. Garwood, VW Beetle, The Car of the Century,
* Road and Track Magazine, May 1975

Discussion threads about the 1975 Model 110:
* Thread Title: Info on 1975 special edition, Model 110, Mar 12, 2007
* Thread Title: 110 Model Sedan vs "Std Bug" differences, Jan 17, 2010
* Thread Title: 75 model 110 questions Aug 03, 2009
* Thread Title: Need Interior info for the Basic "110" Standard, Jan 18, 2007
* Thread Title: 1975 110 Beetle build thread,, Apr 23, 2009
* Thread Title: Special Edition Bugs, Aug 23, 2007
* Thread Title: Canadian Standard, Feb 22, 2009
* Thread Title: 74 standard beetle cloth seats b&w houndstooth pattern, Jul 01, 2005
* Thread Title: 1974 Love Bug questions from childhood memories, May 26, 2006

* SkatBag's Gallery
* 19super73's Gallery

Nomenclature: For discussion purposes, these models are called the
1975 Model 110. The term is unambiguous -- as VWoA only marketed
the 110 for one year, and this is how VWoA officially marketed the model,
albeit with only a very slight reference on the specification page of the 1995

Other terms can be problematic. There is ambiguity surrounding the
terms basic, standard and custom. Dealers apparently were
creative in their terminology. Canadian marketing is another story. Journalists
(i.e., at Road & Track, etc.) used varying terminology (i.e., basic, custom) At
times VWoA distinguished between models by simply calling them Beetle and
Super Beetle. Other years (notably 73 & 74, see below), VWoA used the
terms Super Beetle and Basic Beetle, including years when there wasn't
an 'extra-basic' model like the 110, i.e., to refer to the torsion bar/upright
spare version of the car. For example (these are not Model 110's):


HFOAIE Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:30 am

About the official name: Kinda - sorta - maybe.
The upscale Bug is referred to as "Custom Bug" by R&T and just "Custom" by DB&HVWs. The 110 is referred to as "the basic $2895 Beetle" (not really a name) by R&T. DB&HVWs calls the 110 "Basic 110". In seperate places, the sales brochure calls the 110 "Beetle"--Base Model, and Model 110. The ad I have says "Sedan 110".
So I'm the only one who calls it Basic Bug. I always had the notion that the 110 should have a similar nomenclature to the Custom Bug. I think it makes sense that Basic Bug would have been the official name it was given, but they never got it into print. VW was desperate, so they resorted to a little bait and switch. Customer sees magazine ad with vague picture and $2895 price. Customer goes to dealer and gets brochure showing chrome and padding, while not getting too specific. After customer is committed to buying, he finds out the chrome and padding will cost about $200 more. In the body of the brochure, they didn't want to mention Basic or Custom like in '73 and '74 because it would complicate things, or maybe they weren't sure themseles. Just look at that hodgepodge I just listed. And besides, three digit model numbers are usually an in-house thing we use amongst ourselves for technical reference.

akcapsamb Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:40 am

HFOAIE wrote:
So I'm the only one who calls it Basic Bug.

Right, anecodotally you and I, along with Road and Track, etc. have called
a lot of beetles a lot of things. From what I can tell, VWoA never used the term
'custom' in marketing the Beetle... and they did use the term "Basic Beetle" for
more than the 1975 110 model -- in their official marketing.

If you go the Samba dictionary and look up Basic Beetle, and it suggests that the term
only applies to a model in 1975... and the definition makes no references to any
other models years where VWoA officially used the term... well that's problematic.

The term '1975 Model 110' is however, unambiguous, in this context.


George Evans Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:00 am

Years ago I robbed the trim off a 110. In that case the Fuel-Injection emblem was black as was everything else.

19super73 Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:52 am

akcapsamb wrote:
1975 Model 110 Beetle:

Deleted flow-through ventilation:
*absence of the intake grill on the front hood
*absence of the air box in the trunk
*absence of the crescent vents behind the rear side windows
*absence of the dashboard control knob
Deleted rear window defogger
Deleted interior vinyl trim and some carpet:
*cardboard 'exposed fastener' door panels
*deleted armrests
*deleted storage pockets
*cardboard 'exposed fastener' rear side panels
*cardboard rear storage liner
Partial full headliner (exposing paint on the roof's interior)
Deleted the engine compartment sound insulation.
Deleted front hood VW emblem.
Black trim in lieu of chrome trim.
Felt carpeting with rubber mats.
Black plastic center caps on standard wheels in lieu of chrome hub caps.

Three colors only, Rallye Yellow, African Red and Miami Blue
Houndstooth cloth (though black and white, VWOA called this 'grey')
No choice of leatherette.

Note: The 1975 Model 110 Beetles followed the 1974 Love Bugs, with
further decontenting. The LB's had all black exterior trim, no elec defog rear
window, houndstooth cloth, full vinyl door and rear side panels (with
concealed fasteners!), black fender welting. Oddly, the Love Bugs had no
flow through ventilation though did have the rear crescents.


Not to be picky regarding the bolded items but I think that we somehow need to see if this is accurate. My 110 has the chrome, including the script. The other 2 110's I have seen near me (wrecks and near wrecks) also had the chrome trim and script. Was this different from Canada to the US? My car also had/has salt and pepper carpeting but no sound deadener on the pans. The hood script was deleted for all Beetles by the '74 model year also so this isn't 110 specific.

I wonder if an ex-dealer employee in the '70's could chime in if they remember these cars. I understand that there weren't many of them and the ones left are relatively rare by today's VW standards.

George Evans Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:11 am

Canada & Us may be different. Every 110 I have ever seen in photos or in person (unmolested) have black bumpers, headlight rings, FI script & trim.

akcapsamb Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:22 am

Here's another discussion that might be useful:

Bookwus wrote: Hiya A.,

If it helps, Garwood says that your Rallye Yellow (L10A) 1975 110 came equipped with a passenger roof grab handle. That grab handle and the kickboard seals should both be 041 Black.

Outside mirrors were black.

Wheels were of the regular type and were L91 Chrome Silver.

Door and quarter panels would have matched the seats which were Dogtooth White & Black (29-5)

Napped carpet (04V Anthracite Gray) was installed on the front cowls and side members but NOT in the luggage area behind the rear seat. Replacement carpeting of this sort is available through a number of online vendors.

Floor mats were four piece and 041 Black.

19super73 Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:23 am

Well in addition to what I wrote, our 110 had the regular hub caps as well. Of course this car had ???? many owners in it's life and at any one point they could have slapped on regular caps or the original owner could have had this done at the dealership. I would be interested to find out if there were differences in various markets IE: Canada vs USA.

HFOAIE Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:25 pm

What a mess.

ONE- I don't want Everett Barnes to get in trouble with himself, but he edited the title in the dictionary. I'm sure that can be re-done, but first we should decide. What combination of any or all of these would be best ?
Choices are:
Model 110
TWO- Of course there are differences between USA and Canadian models. I always thought Canada always had "Standard trim" models all along, so I never even thought a "Standard trim" Beetle for Canada could be directly compared with a 1975 Basic 110 Beetle for the USA. My focus is on the very unique nature of this trim level in the USA for only one year. In Canada, was it not just business as usual, with European style "Standard trim" ?

THREE- Who is Garwood ? All the 1975 Basic 110 Beetles I've ever known of had paper thin black vinyl over fiberboard for interior door panels.

FOUR-Even at one year old, my 1975 Basic 110 Beetle had only one original center cap left, so we slapped on some conventional chrome hubcaps. I'm guessing that all the black plastic center caps from all the 1975 Basic 110 Beetles sold in the USA are (or were) scattered along roadsides across the country. (as per the dictionary photo, they snapped on from the outside, as opposed to Mexican or Rabbit caps sandwiched between drum and wheel)

mnussbau Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:36 pm

19super73 wrote: akcapsamb wrote:
1975 Model 110 Beetle:

Deleted front hood VW emblem.
Felt carpeting with rubber mats.

Not to be picky regarding the bolded items but I think that we somehow need to see if this is accurate. My 110 has the chrome, including the script. The other 2 110's I have seen near me (wrecks and near wrecks) also had the chrome trim and script. Was this different from Canada to the US? My car also had/has salt and pepper carpeting but no sound deadener on the pans. The hood script was deleted for all Beetles by the '74 model year also so this isn't 110 specific.

I wonder if an ex-dealer employee in the '70's could chime in if they remember these cars. I understand that there weren't many of them and the ones left are relatively rare by today's VW standards.
VW dropped the logo off the hood sometime in the '73 model year. And the felt carpeting and rubber mats were pretty much standard (forgive the pun) by '74 as well, if not earlier.

DrDarby Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:44 pm

No logo on the front hood. It was dropped shortly after the 1973 publicity photos in August.

Fuel Injection logo was bare aluminum not black. All the rest of the trim and brightwork was black.

No hub caps over the lug nuts, just plastic center caps w/VW logo and lug nut covers. Same as the Mexican beetles of the late 90s.

Salt & pepper felt carpet on sides & across the firewall, rubber mats on the floor. Memory tells me bare center tunnel ???

No grab handle on the roof, just blank plugs

Fiberboard door, side & rear seat panels held in place with push through the hole buttons. No real arm rests, just used the regular beetle's roof mounted grab handle as a pull. Cloth houndstooth seating surfaces w/black vinyl trim.

No flow through ventilation (solid trunk lid, no crescent vents)

Radio delete was just the uncut dash pad and the antenna delete was black (I still have one).

I was there when they were new and thought they were the coolest beetle I ever saw (at the time).

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group