2003 Volkswagen Sedán “Última Edición” Schuco - 45 026 9600 (diecast)
On February 17, 1972, an important car came out of the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg. On that day, the 15,007,034th Beetle rolled off the assembly line. That is quite significant, because it bested Ford’s 1927 world record of the most produced automobile. By then, the Beetle/Käfer/Vocho was undoubtedly the most recognized car in the world. Sales were strong, however their “single model policy” led Volkswagen into a financial crisis. The company needed to diversify, so production lines at Wolfsburg switched to the more modern Golf. Production of the Käfer continued in smaller numbers at other German factories until 19 January, 1978. That day, at the Emden plant in Lower Saxony, the last German Käfer sedan rolled off the line. Two years later, the last Käfer Cabriolet left the Karmann plant in Osnabrück. Even so, there still was demand for the Käfer, especially abroad.
Therefore, starting in 1978, VW shifted production to Brazil and Mexico. Brazil would supply the South American and African markets and Mexico would export to Europe and Central America. Produced at the VW plant in Puebla since 1967, the Vocho (or Vochito, diminutive) was absurdly popular in Mexico. To the effect that in September 1980 Volkswagen de México produced the one millionth unit. The cars for the domestic market came with a 1.5-liter engine while the export models used a 1.2-liter unit. However, the Beetle was in essence a pre-WWII project, and could not compete with modern cars. So in 1985 exports to Europe ended, and the Beetle was only available in developing countries. That didn’t mean, however, that VW stopped developing the Vocho. Almost every model year VW changed something in the car, from better seats to a new AM/FM stereo cassette radio.
Being such an old project meant that the Vocho was not environmentally friendly. Therefore, in 1991, VW introduced a catalytic converter to the 1493 cm³ boxer-4. Nonetheless, they maintained the carburetor, electrical system and the old ignition system. Aimed solely at reducing emissions, these improvements did not improve the 43 hp output. In 1993 VW expanded the engine to 1584 cm³ and introduced the “Digifant”’ electronic fuel injection. Output improved to 50 hp, but more importantly, by replacing the carburetor, emissions decreased. From then on, the Vocho received a “1600i” badge on the engine cover. VW kept the Vocho almost unchanged, with only a few improvements here and there. Yet, with fierce competition from other more modern cars and terrible emission levels, the writing was on the wall. In March 2003 VW de México announced the end of the Vocho production.
To celebrate the end of the line, on July 10th VW announced a special edition – the Última Edición. The series consisted of the last 3000 cars to leave the Puebla assembly line. The cars would only come in Harvestmoon Beige or Aquarius Blue. They would also feature whitewall tires, CD player and chrome bumpers, trim, hub caps and exterior mirrors. On the bonnet there was the Wolfsburg symbol and a special commemorative plaque on the glove box cover. The absolute last one, the 21,529,464th Beetle ever made, went directly to the VW Museum.
However, one of the remaining 2,999 Última Edición was different. At the time, Prof. Wilfried Bockelmann was responsible for Technical Development at Wolfsburg. And he had a special request: he wanted an Última in a special color, Snap Orange. VW agreed, and this model here represents that exact single car. I found it on auction on eBay, however I almost dismissed it, because of the odd color. To the best of my knowledge, the Última Edición could only be beige or baby blue. Ergo, Schuco made a mistake, right? Or so I thought. Totally by accident, while researching about my Open Air Vocho, I stumbled upon SEBeetles. And there I learned about Prof. Bockelmann’s unique orange version. When I learned it was a very special version, I immediately went to eBay and bought the model.
Schuco does offer the Última Edición in Aquarius Blue, however not the Harvestmoon Beige version. The blue is also a limited edition, and also hard to find. Yet, this one represents the more unique car. In scale, Schuco did a fantastic job on the model. It looks just like the real deal, however two small details are absent. In front of the driver’s door should be the immobilizer key lock. Because of the high rate of thefts, VW added that as standard equipment to all Vochos. Moreover, the “Última Edición” badge is missing from the engine cover. Both are very small details, yet Schuco could have added them. Other than that, it’s perfect. I already had the first (or one of the very first) Käfer and now I have the last Vocho. Not bad 😉.
And with the Vocho Última Edición, we close the W-143 Beetlemania. Hope you all enjoyed 😊!