VW Taillights: Shapes & Sizes Make A Difference The taillights on your Air Cooled VW play an important role in safe driving. Broken or cracked taillights can let in moisture, which could lead to rust or cause an electrical malfunction in your lighting system. Mid America Motorworks has designed this easy reference chart for determining the correct size and height for your VW taillights. While not all model years are covered, this gives you a good idea of what to look for in restoring original looks or giving your Classic Volkswagen a personal touch. Beetle Taillights 1956-2003 With a large metal housing and lens with a snowflake-style reflector pattern, these taillights were designed for use with dual filament bulbs (taillight/brake light) with additional integrated flashing turn signal functionality for the American market. They were comprised of a shell and lens reflector assembly and a small bulb holder that inserted into the rear of the reflector. The whole assembly sat on a basic bracket mounted on the fender, using a single screw on the top of the metal shell. The 'tombstone' taillight, was first seen in August 1967 for the 1968 model year. The lenses featured separate sections for a turn signal (amber or red), taillight, a reflector, and on some units, a clear reversing lamp. They also had a squared-off lower edge that was very similar to the lines of the 1970s Beetle. Beetles had 12v electrics and the new lights were significantly brighter than their predecessors. US versions of the tombstone light gained an additional chunky reflector on the outer edge of the metal housing. The final taillight incarnation appeared on the 1973 model 1303 Super Beetle, and by 1974 was used on 1200 and 1300 flat screen Beetles. This design would remain until the end of production of the final few Karmann Cabriolets in 1980. The new lights were large, round and chunky, earning them the nickname 'elephant's feet.' Their rotund dimensions necessitated a complete re-design of the Beetle's rear wing, which for the first time had a cut out behind the light. The bulb holder/base section was made from moulded plastic, which slotted neatly into the aperture in these new fenders. Bus Taillights 1958-1979 While the VW Bus taillights may not have had as many creative nicknames, they certainly went through their own evolution. Measurements are shown for the small round taillights of the 1958-1961 Buses, the oblong taillights of the 1962-1972 Buses and the larger, late taillights of the 1972-1979 Buses.