Sunday, April 11, 2010
San Francisco Street Sighting - 1973 Volkswagen Squareback
This car is a 1973 Squareback, the final year of production and one of the relatively few Squarebacks (known as the 1600 Variant in Europe) that were ordered with an automatic transmission. Many buyers were distrustful of a VW automatic after the so-called "Automatic Stickshift" available in Beetles proved to be unreliable. It is in good shape for the most part, with a straight body and rust only on the front bumper. The owner's neighbor told me it had been restored, and it looks really good. It wasn't finished yet, though. At the time these photos were shot, it needed a piece of rocker trim on the driver's side and a new Volkswagen badge for the back hatch.
These cars aren't worth very much, nor are they particularly rare. Over one million Squarebacks/Variants were made worldwide. Really clean ones aren't terribly difficult to find, although in San Francisco a really clean anything is in relatively short supply due to tight, street-only parking and godawful drivers. This is one of the nicer examples I've seen around, and the only one I've seen in recent memory with an automatic.