This Turn Signal On Pre-1960 VW Beetle Is A Pop-out Trafficator You’ve Never Seen Before
This weird turn signal on pre-1960 Volkswagen Beetle is a pop-out light feature you’ve never seen before.
The pop-up lights known as semaphores or trafficactors were seen in early non-U.S.-market Volkswagen Beetles.
Found on B-pillars, this non-flashing lights are used to indicate driver’s intention to turn in the direction indicated by the signal.
These feature later moved to flashing-light indicators, starting low on the fenders, top of fenders and then to the bumpers.
The iconic Volkswagen Beetle known here as Ijapa started life indicating its turns in some markets with a charmingly but weird Semaphore indicators (trafficactors) that pops out of the B-pillars.
Found in the door pillar of pre-1960 Volkswagen Beetle, this non-flashing trafficators were used to indicate driver’s intention to turn in the direction indicated by the pointing signal.
When the turn signal switch is
turned on, an arm and lens (colour) assembly pushes the Semaphore out from the side of the car — an action that sends a signal to a light bulb inside the car’s speedometer confirming that the turn indicator is on.
The Semaphore indicator arm retracts back into its pocket in the side of the Volkswagen B-pillars when the turn signal switch is turned off.
According to Jalopnik, the pop-out trafficactor feature was moved to flashing-light indicators in 1955, “starting low on the fenders, but moving to the tops of the fenders in 1958, where they’d stay until getting stuck in the bumpers in 1975”, especially for non-U.S.-market Beetles.
Semaphores were common on pre-1960 vehicles (not on Volkswagen Beetle) until the introduction of the flashing amber, red or white indicators at or near the corners of the vehicle. Pre-1960 vehicles that are still used on today’s roads have had their trafficators replaced with modern indicators to aid visibility and to meet legislative requirements.