I’ve always preferred Beetles from the mid-1960s and earlier over later models, so it’s always been a bit more difficult for me to identify the specific model year of a Beetle from the 1970s. After researching it I can confidently identify this Beetle, which I found on a residential street in Salt Lake City, as a 1974 model. It came down to three features. First, the large “elephant foot” taillights make it easy to pin this one as a 1973 or later. I learned that the front turn signals were moved from the top of the fenders down into the front bumper for 1975, so that narrowed it down to ’73 or ’74. There at first didn’t appear to be any significant exterior changes between those two years, but I finally discovered that ’73s didn’t have the plastic end caps on the bumpers that this example has, so I was able to settle on 1974 as this Bug’s year.
Another junkyard Volkswagen. This one looks like it’s led a bit of a rough life, going through multiple color changes and finally ending up being parted out. Besides the missing parts, which have likely been removed since arriving at the wrecking yard, it looks like it would have been restorable. Even though it’s a bit sad that it’s been permanently taken off the road, Beetles that show up in wrecking yards here usually get picked over pretty well before being sent to the crusher, so at least this Beetle’s parts will go on to keep other Beetles alive.
The car is gone now, but while it was still in the yard I saved the picture Row52 had of it in a slightly more complete state.
This Beetle can be identified as a 1974 from the shock-absorbing bumper mounts (introduced in 1974) and the dual tailpipes (the 1975 model had a single tailpipe). All Beetles with curved windshields are Super Beetles, and all convertibles were Super Beetles starting 1974. The bumpers on this example don’t appear to be original.
The only clue I could spot to point to this chopped up Volkswagen Beetle’s model year is the 4-lug wheels, which were used from 1968 to the end of the Beetle’s US sales in 1979. There’s another Beetle hiding behind the Chevy Astro Van, which I didn’t even notice until writing this post…