Volkswagen introduced the 1303 Big in late 1973 to cater to customers who were after a more luxurious Beetle. Launched as a limited-edition model, it was sold as a handful of European countries including Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.
Offered in blue, green, beige and silver in certain markets, the 1303 Big wore black stripes above both rocker panels and model-specific “1303 / Big” stickers affixed just in front of the rear fenders. The metallic paint gave the car a more up-scale look than a regular Super Beetle.
All Big Beetles sat on the same 15-inch steel wheels that were also found on the 1303 S GSR, another limited edition that was launched in late 1972. Standard equipment included a locking rear decklid and a heated rear window, while rubber bumper inserts and two reverse lights could be ordered as dealer add-ons.
Inside, the 1303 Big came with inertia reel seatbelts, full carpeting, corduroy upholstery and a padded steering wheel. A wooden shift knob and fake wood trim on the dash added a touch of class that was rarely seen on a factory-built Beetle.
In the United Kingdom and in Germany, the Big retained the 1303’s stock air-cooled flat-four engine. Linked to a four-speed manual transmission, it made 50 horsepower and 78 lb-ft. of torque. Zero to 62 mph (100 km/h) could be achieved in 18.3 seconds and maximum velocity was reached at 81 mph (130 km/h).
In its home country of Germany, the Big Bug carried a base price of 7,670 Deutsche Marks in early 1974.
All photos taken out of a period brochure.