After Mike Butts’ look at cars without grilles, this shot posted at the Cohort by William Rubano seems to scream out for a closer look at its poor face. What is going on here? If you’re fairly new on the planet, it may not be obvious, but for those of us who lived (endured) the 70s, you will know.
I’m amazed at how few images come up with a Google search for “VW Mini Rolls”. These, along with all manner of other hood/grille kits (1940 Ford was particularly popular), were everywhere to be seen, especially in LA at the time. It was a bit hard to know if they were done ironically or not; probably some of both. But something about a VW with a RR grille in the middle of Beverly Hills was just perfect.
A closer look reveals this to be a Mini Rolls 973 Super Beetle hood. Good luck finding a new grille. Hey; VWs weren’t meant to have grilles, so it’s real m uch better this way. And look at all that luggage space.
Weird, at first glance the shadow in the indentation looked like a head and shoulders. The ghost of VW owners past…
The 1940 Ford version of these isn’t THAT bad, but it’s still bad. On this dreadful design , I like how they molded the application into the front under the grille.
The 40 Ford version looks nice. Very Zephyr.
So that is what they looked like underneath.
Ugh. Not the kind thing ya wanna see first thing in the morning.
“Helga insisted she was pure German, but there was something about that Roman nose of hers…”
I got one of these cars in to my shop once, cleaned it up and made it run well, it took me close to a YEAR to sell the darned thing for $600 .
That hood was HEAVY and completely out weighed the spring’s ability to hold it open.
It was on a pre ’68 so one had to hold the hood open to gas it up .
Might have sold quicker for more money, with a proper Beetle lid from a salvage-yard.
Happy Motoring, Mark
@ Mark :
No way ! .
At that time I was running a VW Junk yard out of my Indie. VW Shop and a good front hood was worth $45, I paid about $50 for the whole car and didn’t like selling parts I could sell separately plus the RR hood paint matched the rest of the car, very important when selling cheap cars .
I’ve got to admit that I didn’t hate these. I actually think the RR grill treatment on a Beetle was a pretty witty bit of irony.
I’d have loved to have had one in high school and driven it to golf practice.
Practice was at the local country club and it wouldn’t have been hard to find a Panther Town Car or a K-car Imperial with all of its neo-classical styling cues to park next to.
I can just see an elderly member telling the bartender (who was also the manager): “F)*)ing kid parked next to my Lincoln, AGAIN!”
Ideally you’d park it next to a 1980 Mark VI.
“What if Choo Choo Customs tried to make a Lincoln from an LTD?”
” I actually think the RR grill treatment on a Beetle was a pretty witty bit of irony.
Yes, exactly. The people’s car of the rich. However this exact bit of irony is why I could never understand the thinking behind the VW Phaeton. It would have been a great Audi, but as a VW?
Did the RR and Ford hoods replace the existing hood, or did they merely bolt onto it? I’d like to think the former, so as to increase the Bug’s miserable luggage capacity.
They replaced it, and one of the selling points in the J.C.Whitney catalog was the increased luggage capacity.
I thought the Rolls version was pretty cool. I built a 1/24 model kit back in the early 70’s.
The worst version of these was available from J.C. Whitney it was a Wolf’s or Werewolves head that you matched with a Wolf Call horn. Bonus points to anyone who can find a picture of that one.
I think a Bentley grille would have been more apt, given what the future would hold….
Exactly. Who knew that someday a Bentley would just be a VW Phaeton with a grill that apes the ones real Bentleys had?
Someone is making modern VW grilles for old Bugs; a modern Bentley grille would work quite well in this vein:
Boss Hogg had a white Cadillac convertible while nephew Hughie had a white VW convertible. Would have been a better match for the Cadillac if it had the RR grill.
I rather this one.
I’ve never seen the MB version, guessing it’s a one-of. I’d like to see what it would look like on a pre-1967 with the glass covers over the headlights.
In the end it’s kinda cute. Even more Mercedes-esque than the authentic anti-beetle Mercedes 170h!
Much more fitting, given the relationship between VW & MB in the early years.
Yes, this and the 40 Ford grille were common enough to be “a thing” in the 70s. I recall a few running around Fort Wayne then. The 40 Ford fit the VW design better but the Rolls front was funnier (which I believe was the object of the whole exercise.)
A drive down memory lane….
I kind of like this one with the Woody sides
Popular Mechanics offered plans to combine the JC Whitiney ’40 Ford hood with a homemade woody wagon body on the Beetle.
Just imagine the (lack of) structural rigidity!
Here’s another variation I remember seeing back in the day
On the Beetle, I prefer the pre-war Ford grille.
My Dad had one of those ‘Alfa’ grilles on a ’61 Ghia convertible he brought back from Europe in ’63.
I have no idea why it was on my Dad’s car. I just thought it was a factory option, until saw them years later in an old J C Whitney catalog, advertised as a solution to covering up minor damage to that vulnerable Ghia nose.
Happy Motoring, Mark
I remember seeing these kits for VW’S in the Sears catalog back in the 70’s.
These were fairly common in Maine in the 70’s.
Chong’s ride in Up in Smoke
Ah the Willie Mays Hayes car. Wesley Snipes drove one in Major League
One of my childhood summertime dream cars, as I lay on the bed spending hours pouring through the JC Whitney catalog trying to put as many catalog parts on one particular car as I could.
Related reading on VW RR conversions:
Back in the late 1970s, Custom Cloud did RR conversions on 1973-76 Chevy Monte Carlos, resulting in them also getting sued by Rolls Royce: