Keep up to date
Keep up to date with all things Trade Classics, along with new cars.

1973 Volkswagen Beetle 1303S Karmann Convertible

This vehicle has now been sold - click ‘Register Similar’ below to get notified when we consign a similar vehicle.

Sold Price


  • Mileage~99,871
  • TransmissionManual
  • Engine1.6L
  • LocationBicester


1973 Volkswagen Beetle 1303S Karmann Convertible

Register interest for similar cars


Darren Rungasamy
Automotive Editor, Photographer and Consigner

An unmistakable legend for the groovy sun-seekers.

Karmann had an extensive and close relationship with Volkswagen, having first been contracted to work on the brand as early as 1949. Soon proving themselves to match the finesse and build quality of VW, Karmann became synonymous with quality open-top conversions. Aside from chopping the roof off and fitting a high-quality canvas roof, Karmann expertly strengthened the car, by adding members under each sill and across the passenger compartment as well as reinforcing the door apertures. Based on the final evolution of the VW Beetle, the 1303S, it was known as the "Super Beetle" due to its more modern brake, steering, suspension set-up, an upgraded cabin and more powerful 1.6-litre engine. The Karmann Beetle Convertible has always also carried a premium over its tintop sibling and the convertibles ongoing popularity reflects its desirability today. Created during an era when accessible and cheap-to-run 4-seater convertibles were far and few between, the Karmann Beetle virtually cornered the open-top car market, thanks to its durability, extensive parts network and legendary status.

This distinctive example was imported into the UK in 1990 and then converted to RHD. It comes with an impressive file of invoices, including an engine rebuild, and bills for ongoing upkeep and maintenance. Fitted with red leather seats and a set of Porsche Fuchs wheels, it is need of a little attention in places but is a solid example. It comes with two keys and is MOT and road tax exempt.

This listing was written from information supplied by Darren after meeting Kwame the owner, and having visited and photographed the vehicle.

Secure Auctions

We verify all our sellers and buyers to keep our community safe whilst also providing the highest levels of website security.

Full Transparency

8 out of 10 people that buy cars via our service don’t feel the need to visit due to the transparency and thoroughness of our listings.

Vehicle Delivery

We're there every step of your buying journey and will even arrange pick-up and delivery of your new vehicle.

Secure Auctions

We verify all our sellers and buyers to keep our community safe whilst also providing the highest levels of website security.

Full Transparency

8 out of 10 people that buy cars via our service don’t feel the need to visit due to the transparency and thoroughness of our listings.

Vehicle Delivery

We're there every step of your buying journey and will even arrange pick-up and delivery of your new vehicle.

Meet the owner

I've always liked the look of the Karmann Beetle Convertible.

Nick is an existing customer and friend of Trade Classics, having both bought and sold via our auction before. He is very much a petrolhead, owning a wide spectrum of classic and performance cars ranging from Ferrari's to Porsche, but has been on the hunt for a more everyday classic.

He purchased the Beetle last September, with the hope to export it to Cyprus, where he currently lives. As a result, it has been registered in the UK under his friend's name, Kwame. Due to a change in circumstances, has decided against the idea of exporting and is now selling the car. Nick will be happy to answer any questions about the car in the comments section below.

Vehicle Owner

Nick saved £1,440* when they
sold their VW with us.


  • We'll take the photos & create the listing.
  • We'll market it to our 62K buyers & online.
  • You'll keep your car until it's paid for.


  • They can fully review our cars online.
  • They can buy on our trusted platform.
  • They're able to buy without leaving home.



Finished in black, the Porsche alloys and near-perfect hood give it a unique style.

Wheels and Tyres

The car has been fitted with 15” Porsche Fuchs wheels by a previous owner in the past. All four would benefit from a refurb, but the marks appear to be generally superficial.

They are fitted with 50-profile Nankangs tyres up front and various 55-profile tyres on the rear. Take a look at the image gallery to see the detail.


The exterior of the car generally presents well. The body and wings are free of dents, with a decent panel fit and even shut lines. All doors open and close with no issues, the passenger doors are free from creaks or significant sagging. A closer inspection reveals corrosion noted on both A-pillars and the rear valance. There are small bubbles noted elsewhere, mainly confined to the lower side panels of the car.

The section under the rear seat is solid, with no outstanding problems observed in the front luggage area and surrounding suspension mounts. There are a handful of areas that would benefit from attention, notably both sides of the rear section of the floor pan and inner wheel wells close to the suspension mounts, in addition to the offside sill, door and front wheel well.

We've highlighted in more detail our observations through our high-resolution images and videos, so please take time to look through all the media files for a detailed view of what’s on offer, and for you to assess the condition of the car for yourselves.


The black paint has a good lustre, with an even colour match and smooth coverage. There are a few minor marks and chips, but nothing too distracting.

The images are taken from a few different angles to show off the car as you would see it if you were standing there for yourselves. So please take the time to fully assess these high-resolution images and videos of the car, for you to make up your own minds about the condition of the paint.

Glass and Trim

There is some lamination damage noted on the edges of the windscreen, the rest of the glass is in good condition, with mild signs of age but all appear to be original and all have decent seals and rubbers. All windows wind down without problems, only the driver's side handle will need replacing. The headlamps, lights and lenses are good.

The bumpers show signs of age, and the rear hangers are solid with a sheen of corrosion. The rest of the chrome trim, particularly the Karmann-specific items is good, with mild pitting in places. The wing beading is well-applied and in good shape.


Tastefully furnished with comfy red leather seats, the cabin is otherwise original.

Seats and Carpets

The red leather seats are in excellent shape, with no outstanding flaws observed. They’re comfortable and look great.

The carpets appear to be fairly recent fittings, with no outstanding wear or damage. All appeared to be free of dampness. Take a look through the gallery to get a closer look.


The padded dashboard has lasted well, with two fractures on the top of the facia noted, otherwise free of any other damage. The main dial is legible, with the clock face showing mild signs of age. The switchgear appears to work but was not fully tested.

The door cards are well mounted, with no outstanding issues with the rest of the cabin trim. The front luggage catch has been replaced by a retrofit item in the passenger footwell and works without problems. The heating works, with no evidence of leaking heat exchangers.

Steering Wheel / Gear Stick

The original Wolfsburg crested plastic steering wheel has a leather protective cover, which appears to be in good shape.

The gear lever and handbrake reflect the car's age. View the photos and video to see the interior up close.


Part of the VW's appeal is the durable air-cooled engine and charming character.

Engine and Gearbox

The engine started up immediately, despite not being turned over for a while. The choke takes a little time to catch, but once the engine is warmed up it is free of misfires or splutters. The exhaust didn’t belch out any unwanted black smoke, and on the day, the car appeared not to leak any oil on the ground.

The gearbox engages gears as it should, with no crunching noted. The clutch has a decent biting point. Take a look at the video to see and hear the car in action.

Suspension and Brakes

The suspension, which appears to be standard, allowed the car to absorb much of the road with comfort. No overbearing thuds or creaks were heard.

The car brakes well, there was mild binding but free of squeals or pulling at the steering wheel.

The Drive

The Beetle is something of a unique driving experience, yet once you get used to the mannerisms, it's an engaging experience. We were treated to a 10-minute ride along the dual carriageway. Cruising at 50 to 60mph, the car felt reassuringly taut, with the engine tone sounding even and smooth.

Cornering without any issues, with no creaks heard from the wheels with just a little of the expected wind noise. The car performed well without any drama when accelerating as Kwame changed up through the gears. The owner hasn’t had much of an opportunity to measure its true reliability, but the paperwork suggests a history of positive maintenance.

Electrics and Other

A Blaupunkt radio/tape player was fitted in the 90s but not tested on this occasion. It is also fitted with rear seatbelts.

The hood is in excellent shape, with mild marks on the inside but otherwise free of rips or significant damage. It lowers and raises with no problems, providing a tight fit. There is a leather hood cover which is also in decent condition.

History and Paperwork

A chance to own a genuine Karmann Convertible Beetle, the invoices show welding and continuous maintenance, suggesting this has been well-cared for over the years.

This example appears to have left the factory as a Raven Green 1303S and then resprayed pink. It was imported into the UK in 1990 and converted into RHD, then stripped down and painted in black in 2009. The car has undergone various number plate changes over its 5 keeper's history and had been with the previous keeper for 6 years, who appeared to have spent almost £4,000 on the car.

The car comes with dozens of invoices dating back to the 1990s which include regular maintenance, upkeep and servicing. There is also a big bill for an engine rebuild and exchange gearbox in 1999 at 85,586 miles. A new starter motor was fitted in 2014, followed by a clutch and steering box in 2015.

More recently it saw over £3,500 worth of work in 2019, for welding, maintenance and what appears to be a minor overhaul to pass its MOT. The most recent recorded service was in May 2021 by Volksfarmer of Kent, followed by some more welding in 2022. It also comes with several of its past MOTs, including its first one after its import. It was last MOT’d in 2022, although it is road tax and MOT exempt. It comes with two keys.

We’ve done all our usual seller checks including photo ID, V5 and also actioned an HPI check on the vehicle.

We've summarised our own view on the car based on information gained from the seller in the listing above, however, as you can see, we go to great lengths to photograph and video the car in hi-resolution detail - this has been done for you to make your own assessment from the comfort of your sofa. So please sit back, have a cuppa and take your time to review everything on this listing in order to make your own assessment of the vehicle's condition. Viewings are also welcomed with all our listings, so please get in touch with us to arrange a suitable time - we just need to speak to you first and receive a valid photo ID before confirming.

If there's anything you're unsure about, no matter how small, then please first ask the owner in the comments area below before placing your bids, as bids can't be retracted and form a binding contract if you win the car - just like a traditional auction house.

Service History
Date Type Mileage
10-03-2022 MOT 99,739
01-05-2021 Service
30-10-2020 MOT 99,644
25-04-2019 MOT 99,399
23-02-2017 MOT 98,935
15-06-2016 Service
18-12-2015 MOT 98,280
10-12-2014 MOT 97,040
28-10-2013 MOT 95,165
02-06-2011 MOT 95,116
07-10-2009 MOT 95,375
26-07-1999 Engine Rebuild 85,586
01-04-1998 MOT 85,485
23-01-1997 MOT 76,915
06-01-1995 MOT 61,559
27-10-1994 Service 60,903
07-01-1994 MOT 57,502
17-12-1992 MOT 53,914
16-12-1991 MOT 51,444
17-12-1990 MOT 48,835
Key Details
  • ModelBeetle 1303S Karmann Convertible
  • Transmission4-Speed Manual
  • Reg. Date17-12-1990
  • CC1,584
  • Mileage~99,871
  • HistorySince 1990
  • ColourBlack
  • Interior ColourBlack/Red
  • Interior TrimLeather
  • Chassis #1542294652
  • Engine #D1030158
  • Matching #sNo
  • Last Service01-05-2021
  • RestoredPartially
  • Engine RebuildYes - 1999
  • MOT10-03-2022
  • MOT ExemptYes
  • Road Tax ExemptYes
  • HPi ClearYes - All clear
  • Former Keepers5 in UK
  • Tyre BrandNexen/Nankang/Delmax
  • # of Keys2
  • VisitedYes
  • Sale TypePrivate
  • Owned~7 months
  • Key FeatureOriginal Karmann
  • Auction ID1874