The Triple White Convertible was available for the regular sales price in model year 1979 ($6800) and 1980 ($7140). The last ever built VW Beetle Convertible in January 1980 was a Triple White. It was painted Alpine White either L90B or L90E. Through the last model years, the white colour was only sold in combination (P1V3LW) with the Convertible top in Light Sand and interior colour Ermine. Seat covers were fabricated in smooth Leatherette similar to the Champagne Edition 2 instead of Basket Weave. As all US Convertibles from 1979 on the Triple White featured 165 SR 15 whitewall tires, cigarette lighter, Quartz crystal clock, dual outside mirrors, heated rear window, leatherette steering wheel and woodgrain dash applique as standard.
The Triple White was probably launched as an unlimited Last Edition thanks to the success of two earlier white on white special editions.
Contemporary information officially circulated within the VWoA Dealership network leads SEBeetles to conclude that the Triple White, Triple Black and Wolfsburg editions were all special order paint finish models rather than Special Editions in their own right.
The status of the Triple White in particular as a Special Edition has been the subject of erroneous misunderstanding brought about by confusion with it and the preceding Bicentennial Convertible and Champagne Editions. This mistaken association of the Triple White as a Special Edition has been further compounded retrospectively by popular culture and inference thanks to a succession of “white on white” limited and special edition production runs at Wilhelm Karmann GmbH.
It was partly through the 1979 model Triple White and to a much lesser extent the Triple Black models being very prominent on the assembly lines in the closing days of production that they became cult models almost overnight. With the clamour of enthusiasts to purchase new 1978 and 1979 model year Beetle Cabriolets the various white based US specification versions became as much sought after in Europe as they were in the USA and Canada.
This engendered a fashionable legacy in the early 1980s of Special Edition “white on white” models and prompting the production at Karmann of several similarly themed Editions – Rabbit Convertibles, subsequent equivalent Golf Cabriolets, Ford Escort Cabriolets and Scirocco coupés. This fashion was also embraced in Special Editions of the Polo and Golf saloon models – and by other manufactures notably Peugeot. A fashion legacy that retrospectively conferred a higher profile to the standing of the first ever Triple Whites – the 1303/Super Beetle ones.
See also Bicentennial Convertible, Champagne Edition, and New Beetle Triple White, Triple Black, Wolfsburg Edition.
Information courtesy The Kafer Cabriolet Register and Arto Tolonen. Triple White at Lewisville Volkswagen pictures courtesy Mark Miles.