WARNING.— The person in whose name this vehicle is displayed may or may not be the current owner of the vehicle. Readers are warned, therefore, that this entry is not proof of ownership.
- Registration Mark
- 72 KY 508
- (a) Type:
- Type 1
- (b) Year:
- (c) Colour:
- Matt Green
- (d) Paint code:
- (e) Engine CCs:
- (a) Country of origin:
- (b) County first reg'd:
- (c) Current or last known location:
Trevor Brady snapped this 1200N or Sparkäfer, as it is known in its native Germany, while on holidays in County Kerry quite a few years ago.
The Sparkäfer model was Volkswagen’s base model, an entry level Beetle. It was designed for those that wanted the reliability of a Beetle but could not afford or did not need the Deluxe model. The Sparkäfer was the economy model, a lower specification, no frills Beetle that was supplied with earlier wings, blade bumpers, no bonnet or side trim, no window rubber trim and the chrome vent windows were replaced with basic black trim. There was no chrome trim across the dashboard and the full headliner was replaced with a half headliner. The door cards, steering wheel and floor mats were all basic trim levels and the oddest thing of all was that even this Sparkäfer, which is a 1972 model, has 6 volt electrics.
This specification was adopted by many private companies as well as the army, the post office and other official bodies as it offered the cheap reliable motoring that only a Volkswagen could offer at the time without the frills and more to the point, without the added expense. At the time these ‘parts bins’ Beetles were laughed at by some people who believed Volkswagen were assembling cars with whatever was left over in their parts bins as the newer Tombstone and later Elephant Feet rear light models hit the market but in reality it was very clever marketing that put thousands more Beetles on the road and made the people’s car accessible to even more people.
(for reference, I have attached a photo of a 1973 Sparkäfer that was used by ADAC, the German Automobile Club. This car now resides in the museum in Wolfsburg. It should be noted, that this display model isn’t 100% correct to factory spec as it appears to have been updated with some Deluxe trim, chrome vent windows and chrome hubcaps at some point in its life)
This Sparkäfer was last taxed in August 1999 and that’s when it was last driven on the Irish roads. This Sparkäfer was owned by an artist who was living in Caherciveen at the time but sadly at some time during his ownership, the Beetle was vandalised by a group of local youths after they found out the owner was gay. They dented pretty much every panel on this rare old Sparkäfer but more importantly, they must have frightened the owner beyond belief.
The owner repaired his Beetle and used it until he sold it to a man from Tralee who then sold it on to another Kerry man who still owns it to this day. The Beetle itself only has 24,000km on the clock from new and still retains its 6v electrics. The Sparkäfer now resides in another collection in Kerry but sadly is very rusty and may not be restored. Having said that, the owner of the collection is a Volkswagen enthusiast and knows that although this Beetle may not make it to the restoration table it will most certainly supply much needed parts to many other Beetles that are either on the road or undergoing restoration.