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1971 Volkswagen Beetle
Manufacturer: Welly
Release dates Unknown
Catalog number: 2343
Date Purchased: December 2008
Date Completed February 2010
Number in collection: 32

So much has been written about the history of the Volkswagen Beetle that I'm not going to repeat it all here. I'll instead focus on the early 1970's, which is the time period represented by this replica. This was an increasingly time for the Beetle for several reasons. First, it was facing increased competition from more contemporary cars from other manufacturers, especially the Japanese. In the US, domestic companies were finally making sub-compact cars. Although the quality may not have been up to VW standards, they did offer more room, better performance, and decent fuel economy. Another problem is that the strength of German currency was making their products more expensive than competing cars from other countries. Another major problem was that VW was having more difficulty adapting the Beetle to increasingly tougher safety and exhaust emission regulations, especially in the US. These combined factors resulted VW withdrawing the Beetle from the US market in 1979.

This scale model is made by Welly. It features a spring-loaded, 'pull-back' type of motor at the rear wheels. It has nice exterior details with opening doors, and the wheels are in the style of the actual car. The interior has a good level of detail, with minimal intrusion of the pull-back motor into the back seat area. Chassis detail is basic, with the exception of the area underneath the motor. The overall appearance reminds me of a Maisto Power Racer car, but with a much more realistic look. Although no model year is specified on the model, the crescent shaped vents behind the rear quarter windows and the two vents on the engine cover make this a 1971.

I originally worked on this car long before I started photographing them. The 'before' pictures are not of my car, but ones I found on-line of cars that are in original condition. The 'after' pictures were of my car, but taken while I was originally writing this page.

Click to zoom Click to zoom
What I started with. Actual car I used for reference.

Pictures of car before any changes were made (click to enlarge)

Disassembly was started by removing two screws that hold the chassis to the body. Unless I state otherwise, many parts are mounted to other parts by pins which are attached by heat applied from the inside of the part they are mounted to. I cut these bonds and removed the parts. The remainder of this process, as well as the resulting parts breakdown, is as follows:
  • The bottom half of the interior, with the rear seat moulded to it as a single piece. The front seats and parking brake handle are separate pieces that fit to holes in the floor. All pieces are black plastic.
  • The front axle, plated wheels and tires pressed onto the axle. This falls loose once the bottom interior is removed. Although the tires can be removed from the wheels, I didn't see any way to remove the wheels from the axles without damaging them, so I stopped there.
  • The rear tires, wheels, axle and pull-back motor assembly. As with the front axle, this assembly also fits loosely in the chassis. I also could not remove the wheels without the risk of damaging them.
  • A one piece black plastic chassis That has basic detail cast to the bottom, except the area under the pull-back motor, which has no detail.
  • Chrome plated front and rear bumpers, front turn signals, and rear license plate.
  • Two clear headlight lenses, that have a pin that passes through a separate chrome plated bezel, and then to a hole in the body.
  • Two clear red tail light lenses, that have a pin that passes through a separate chrome plated bezel, and then to a hole in the body.
  • Two small screws that hold the doors to the body at the hinge point.
  • Two doors with black plastic interior panels glued to them. I tried removing the panels to make detailing easier, but quit when it seemed like they would break before I was successful, so I stopped there. The doors have open quarter vents with no window provided.
  • A small screw that holds the dashboard to the inside of the body. A separate steering wheel is loosely mounted to the dash, and was easily removed. Both pieces are black plastic.
  • A clear window assembly that locates to a pin inside if the body.
  • The die-cast body, painted blue with tampo-printed markings.

After disassembling the car, only paint and foil were used to add details.

The following is a summary of the changes I made:
  • Wheels and tires: Sanded the tread surface with 220 grit sandpaper to simulate wear. Painted inside of wheels Testors acrylic flat black. Painted area of wheels not covered by hubcaps Tamiya metallic gray.
  • Chassis: Painted entire piece Testors acrylic flat black. Highlighted the few moulded in details with Tamiya semi-gloss black and metallic gray.
  • Interior: Mixed Testors acrylic flat black and flat white to get a light gray color, which was then used on the seats and door panel inserts. All other pieces are Testors acrylic flat black. Suitcase on the rear seat is Testors acrylic leather. Painted areas that are the body color on the actual car a mix of Testors blue and white. Remaining interior details were highlighted with appropriate colors, using pictures of the actual car as a guide.
  • Windows: Painted rear view mirror detail on inside windshield Testors acrylic flat black, and used Testors silver on the mirror face.
  • Body: Painted the entire inside of the roof that is visible inside the interior with Testors acrylic flat white. All other areas are Testors acrylic flat black. This was also used on the rear window trim, windshield trim, and running boards. Drew in body panel seams and engine compartment vents with a metal tipped 'quill' pen and black ink. Applied Bare-Metal foil to rear turn signals, side window trim, mirrors, running board trim, side mouldings, door handles, and luggage compartment trim. Additional detail was added to the lights with Tamiya clear orange, clear red, and Testors flat white. Remaining exterior details were highlighted with appropriate colors, using pictures of the actual car as a guide.
Disassembled parts, before reassembly To the left is the car prior to reassembly.

The car was reassembled by reversing the procedure used to disassemble it. No glue was needed.

Pictures of completed car (click to enlarge)

The proportions of the completed car look very close to the actual car. The table below shows how close they are.

Actual car 
(mm / in)
(mm / in)
Dimensions of actual car based on model scale
(mm / in)
Calculated scale based on model to actual car
Length 4028 / 158.6 122 / 4.8 4026 / 158.4 1:33
Wheelbase 2400 / 94.5 75 / 2.97 2475 / 98 1:32
Width 1549 / 61.0 48 / 1.90 1584 / 62.5 1:32
Height 1501 / 59.1 46 / 1.79 1518 / 59.2 1:33

I'm not sure what scale Welly intended this replica to be, as nothing is moulded into the chassis and I no longer have the original packaging to see if it was printed there. My calculations put the scale at 1:33, and all of the major dimensions seem pretty consistent to this scale.

This is the first time I've really looked at this car in any detail since completing it several years ago. I'm satisfied with the way it turned out, and made no changes other than giving a thorough cleaning before taking these pictures. Aside from the concessions made for the pull-back motor, I think that Welly did a nice job on this car. It's also more detailed than some of their cars that I've bought more recently. I'm glad I bought it when I did, as I don't recall seeing any in stores since that time.

Liked what you saw? More cars can be found HERE .

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