VW Beetle Gearbox Codes

The VW Beetle was fitted as standard with a 4 speed manual transmission.  Most of the manual transmissions are Synchronized with only the earlier gearboxes (pre 1960) being Unsynchronized on 1st gear.

A Beetle Gearbox sits directly in front of the engine at the rear of the car.

It is supported at the front of the gearbox (The Nosecone) by a rubber gearbox mount which is attached to the torsion bar tube.

The front gearbox mount changed design 5 times over the production of the Beetle.

At the rear of the gearbox there are two rubber mounts at the bottom of the gearbox which mount to the gearbox frame-horns.  There was only one design change of these mounts over the production which took place in 1972.

Drive to the engine is supplied by a threaded input shaft.

All standard Beetles were fitted with Swing Axle rear suspension which used a Swing Axle Gearbox.  The 1302 and 1303 VW Beetles were IRS.

1956 Oval Gearbox Bellhouse

1956 Oval Gearbox Bellhouse


1200cc and 1300cc VW Beetles were fitted at the factory with a 180mm clutch.  The 1500cc and 1600cc engines were fitted with a 200mm clutch.

The Clutch is located in the bell-housing at the rear of the gearbox where the engine mounts. The clutch pressure plate and the release bearing changed in September 1970 to a much stronger and more reliable version.

All clutches fitted to a VW Beetle are operated by a clutch cable which runs through a tube under the chassis to the clutch pedal.  The clutch cable changed 6 times over its production:

  • 1947 to 1960 – 2270mm
  • 1960 to 1961 – 2255mm
  • 1961 to 1963 – 2270mm
  • 1963 to 1966 – 2258mm
  • 1966 to 1971 – 2260mm
  • 1971 to 1974 – 2281mm
  • 1974 to 1979 – 2270mm

Automatic Gearboxes

VW Beetle Automatic Badge

Automatic Badge

In August 1967 the introduction of a semi-automatic transmission was offered as an extra option to the VW Beetle.  First made available to the 1500 model and shortly after available to the 1300 and 1600 model.  It had a conventional gearstick but no clutch pedal.

Like a true automatic the Beetle Automatic featured a torque converter so that the car creeps forward if left in gear.  The 3 speed semi-automatic gearbox is simply a standard 4 speed manual gearbox with first gear removed.  The remaining 3 gears and reverse are then arranged in a H-pattern where reverse is located where first used to be.  First gear is now called ‘Low Range’ and is located where second is on a standard manual gearbox.  The next two slots are now Drive 1 and Drive 2 which is 3rd and 4th gear in the manual version.  To change gear it is as simple as moving the lever from one slot to another.

VW Beetle Gearbox Codes

AA1200cc4.375From Chassis 0981810
AB1300cc4.375Swing Axle
AC1500cc4.125Some 1300cc from 08/1970
AD1200cc4.375Limited Slip Differential
AE1300cc4.375Limited Slip Differential
AF1500cc4.125LSD >08/1970, Some 1300cc >08/1970
AH1500cc/1600cc4.125IRS Models from 08/1968
AM1300cc4.375IRS Models from 08/1970
AP1300cc4.375Limited Slip Differential 08/1970>
AQ1600cc4.125Limited Split Differential 08/1970-08/1972
AS1600cc3.875From 03/1972
AT1600cc3.8751303s + Cabrio from 03/197
AU1600cc3.8751303s + Cabrio from 03/1972 with LSD
BA1300cc/1500cc4.375Semi Automatic 08/1968 -08/1970
BC1300cc/1500cc4.375Semi Automatic 08/1968 -08/1970 with LSD
BE1600cc4.125Semi Automatic 08/1970-08/1971
BF1600cc4.125Semi Automatic 08/1970-08/1971 with LSD
BJ1300cc4.375Semi Automatic 08/1970>
BK1300cc4.375Semi Automatic 08/1970> with LSD
BL1600cc4.125Semi Automatic