1972 Volkswagen 1302 LS Limousine Ixo - CLC334N (diecast)
The VW Käfer arrived in the US in 1949. At the time called just “the Volkswagen”, it was not a hit. Yet, slowly the average American came to appreciate that German oddball as a sturdy, economical and reliable car. By the 1960s, it was immensely popular, and affectionately known as the Beetle. However, North American and even Japanese brands wised-up to the Beetle’s success. With that, in the late 60s VW had quite a few competitors in the Beetle segment. Therefore, VW needed to improve their only passenger car, the VW Limousine. At a huge expense, VW decided to reduce the price of the regular Beetle and introduce a new improved version. These new models were the 1302 and the 1302 S. The 1302 was the cheaper one, with the regular 1.3-liter engine, while the 1302 S was the new 1.6 version.
While in Europe the new model was called the 1302 S, in the US VW called it Super Beetle. The most striking feature of the 1302 S (at least for publicity) was the bigger engine. VW used the most powerful power plant ever on a Bug, the Typ 126. It was a 1584 cm³ flat-4 with dual intake ports that delivered about 50 hp, improving top speed to almost 130 km/h. However, just as important as the new engine, was the new suspension system. Up front, VW used a new MacPherson suspension with helicoidal springs. That made the Käfer smoother to drive with a much more precise steering. Moreover, the new suspension setup freed-up space in the trunk. With that, trunk space grew by 86% (!) and now the spare tire laid flat in the trunk.
The first 1302 S came out of the assembly lines at the Wolfsburg and Emdem plants in August of 1970, as a 1971 model. Compared to the previous model, because of the improvements, the new 1302 S had a somewhat bloated shape. With that, Beetle enthusiasts initially didn’t have a very favorable reception to the 1302. Nonetheless, just in 1971, VW sold 700,000 units, and on February 17th, 1972, the 15,007,034th came out. That day VW broke Ford’s Model T production record established 60 years prior. With that sort of performance, to celebrate VW produced a handful of special editions in most markets. Nonetheless, in 1973 VW replaced the 1302 with the 1303, an even further-improved version of the Super Beetle. By then, most manufacturers had “compact and economical” cars, consequently the Beetle had to evolve.
In all honesty, I got this model because I was curious. So far, Schuco has delivered some fantastic Käfer models to my collection. Simply put, the brand became synonymous with “great Käfer in 143rd”. Nonetheless, I’m also a big fan of Ixo. From all the pics I found of Ixo’s 1302 LS (a “luxury” version of the regular 1302 S), it looked the part. Besides, I “needed” a Super Beetle for the W-143 Garage. With that, I took the chance and here it is. And as you can see, this 1302 LS really does look the part. Of course, I could do without the dead-eye headlights 🙄, however Ixo delivered a pretty good model. Nicely detailed and quite cheap, I consequently consider this one as a home run.