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Throwback: The Volkswagen Beetle GSR, a classic in yellow and black

While the Volkswagen Beetle may be one of the most recognizable cars in the world, one of its most eye-catching variants is lesser known – the GSR® yellow and black striped speed racer.

The GSR is a flashy, sporty, bumblebee-colored car that was the answer to years of requests from Beetle fans for a sportier version of the classic coupe. In 1973, Volkswagen unveiled the GSR sporting updates designed with European rally racing in mind, a bright yellow paint scheme offset with flat-black hood and bumpers, and sport seats plus a three-spoked race-quality steering wheel. Each 15-inch wheel, outfitted with extra-wide tires, featured the vehicle’s production number.

One thing that didn’t change with the first GSR model was the Beetle’s engine. It was still powered by the famous flat-four which offered 50 horsepower and 80 pound-feet of torque – a bit low, even by historical standards. Though the GSR would seem pokey on modern interstates, buyers at the time were after an affordable package for rallying, not commuting.

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The original GSR came into being toward the end of the Beetle’s run in Europe, and only 3,500 units were built, with only a hundred or so originals known to exist today – making them rare and highly sought after.

The rare model did make a curtain call of sorts with a special edition Beetle GSR that debuted in 2014. A modern re-interpretation of the 1970s original, the modern take includes features like all-black mirror caps, GSR lettering above the side skirts and a large rear spoiler. The major difference between the original and the relaunch was now found up front, under the hood – a modern water-cooled engine packing 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque.

With just three letters and two colors, the GSR makes for one striking automotive icon, in both ‘then’ and ‘now’ versions.

Read the full article on newsroom.vw.com