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Authenticity Series - Part 4 - Zwitters

27 March 2024
Zwitter details
Part 4 of our series on detail changes throughout the production of the VW Beetle, this time concentrating on the 'zwitter' built between October 1st 1952 through to March 10th 1953

The 'Zwitter' was a transition model Beetle that retained the 'split rear window' but introduced many of the new 'Oval window' parts such as the updated dashboard, so the easiest way to spot one is to look at the rear window and the dash - if it's a split rear window but an oval style dash then it's a 'Zwitter'.

Zwitter at Stanford Hall

This was a major update to the look of the split window era Beetle, whilst retaining the 25hp engine and running gear. Chrome trim was added to the split rear window (unless it was a 'Standard'), the side trim lost it's groove and became smooth, as did the bumpers. Simpler and smoother 'popes nose' licence plate light was added along with new slightly bigger twin lens tail lights. Inside remained largely the same as the split except for the new dashboard, with the batwing steering wheel retained, grooved interior door handles and ribbed doors. Gone are the crotch coolers from the front quarters, replaced by quarter light windows in the doors. 

The old 16" wheels were replaced with 15" versions, although visually they were identical apart from the size. The Beetle still had no turn signals other than the semaphores mounted in the 'B' pillar, which were still the ribbed cover style.

  • New smooth style bumper with rounded overrider.
  • Horngrill now oval in shape
  • Smoother/smaller popes nose licence plate light
  • Slightly larger tail lights, now with oval shaped lens - with a second lens on top, now known as 'hearts' due to the heart shaped upper lens.
  • New 'Oval style' dashboard (named because this was the dash used in the later oval rear window Beetles).
  • Batwing steering wheel retained
  • Grooved interior door handles
  • Smooth ashtray
  • Wheels now 15"
  • Door window now with quarter light