The Power Pack Beetle

This is the third in the series of four articles on the Special Edition Beetles that were unique to the Irish market back in the ’70s. As a Power Pack owner, it’s also the one closest to my heart!

The Power Pack Beetle (badged “1300S” on the decklid) is the only one of the four Special Editions sold in Ireland not to be built here. It was built at the Brussels VW factory (D’Leteren) in Belgium and imported in a batch of 300 consecutive cars. As a result, and differing from Irish CKD production, the chassis numbers of the Power Pack Beetles are all sequential. The research team has put considerable time and effort into gathering information on the Irish Power Pack Beetles and it has resulted in significant discoveries of some of the Irish VW market’s forgotten history.

The Power Pack beetles were all built in the last two days of production of 1972 in the Belgian plant. Just before New Years’ Day, 1973. They were shipped to Dublin and went on sale the first week in February 1973. Reports from dealerships at the time were that the Power Pack Beetle was very popular. The allocation to regional dealers was circa 5-6 cars each and going by surviving registrations, it can be seen that the Dublin-centred dealers received significantly larger allocations each. When asked how many they sold in 1973, Gerard O’Sullivan of Eglantine Motors in Cork replied “As many as we could get!!!!” Demand for the new, sporty model was high!

First of all, the Power Pack Beetle is almost equivalent to the UK “GT Beetle”. Almost! Both Power Pack and GT Beetles feature the 1600 twin port “AD” code engine, the high ratio “AS” code gearbox and disk front brakes. They also both feature special spoke-effect “sports” steel wheels, made by Lemmerz, a padded dash and a heated rear screen. However, the Irish market Power Pack Beetle got a slightly lower-spec interior to the UK GT. While the GT got tan vinyl interior, Kamei tunnel tray, chrome and wood gearlever, the Power Pack got a more conventional black basketweave vinyl interior, no tunnel tray and the ordinary gear lever, common across the range.
The UK GT was available in a choice of three fruity colours: Lemon Yellow, Apple Green and Tomato Red. However, the Power Pack was supplied in L30M Tomato Red only. Interestingly, in ads and articles of the time, the paint colour was mentioned as “Monza Red” but the cars themselves bear the sticker for Tomato Red. Editorial license in the MDL marketing department maybe?!

Through our research, has to date identified over 100 individual Power Pack Beetles of the original 300. Some are photographed here and we are always interested to hear of more. If you owned one or remember a neighbour or family member who had one, or even spotted one at a show or on the road one day, please get in touch with any information you may know. It all helps flesh-out our research into these iconic beetles.

Submitted by: Trevor Brady