I wanted to put this in the "how to's" section, but I don't have permission to do so. But I wanted to put this up; it sure would have helped me today!
I wanted my door handles to be black to go with some style accessories already on my Cyber Green Beetle. I looked into painting them, and then coincidentally found a used pair for sale in factory black that were actually cheaper than the paint supplies would have been. I received them today and went to work...
This is the easy part. Open the door (either one; they're the same for removal instructions). Just rearward of the door handle tailpiece, on the edge of the door, you'll find a black rubber plug. Pull it off, and underneath is a star-headed screw. Loosen this screw a few turns (but not all the way out.) This will allow you to pull the exterior handle tailpiece off. If it's tight, it will help to move the handle as if you're opening the door. The tailpiece will pull straight out.
Next, looking at the newly exposed rearward end of the handle, you'll see the latch cable and its grooved end tab which is inserted into a groove in the door handle. Gently pry it out, taking careful note of which groove it sits in. (On both of mine, the first 4 grooves were visible, but the 5th was covered by the tab.) Then, pull the handle itself outward and slide it rearward at the same time, which will release it from the spring-loaded bracket that keeps the handle tight against the door when it's closed. There is a tab at the front end of the handle; wiggle the whole thing free.
This is a bit trickier. Getting the forward tab of the handle in the groove is easy, but you need to reattach the handle pull to that spring-loaded bracket inside that keeps the handle against the door. It's awkward, but the best way I found was to hold that bracket upward (meaning toward the exterior panel) while using your other hand to maneuver the door handle's tabs into the bracket. It will help to have nimble fingers! I could see using a mini screwdriver for this purpose. (It appears that there is a way to push inward on the screw you loosened on the edge of the door to hold this bracket in place for install, but I couldn't get it to work. If you can see a pic of the brass bracket that holds the door handle on the interior of the door you'll see what I mean.)
Once the handle is in place both at the forward tab and locked into the spring bracket, you can reattach the cable, using the same groove as before. Then, you'll need to put the tailpiece back in. On some years of NBs, there's no lock cylinder on the passenger side door. If this is the case, replace the tailpiece, tighten the door edge screw, and replace the rubber plug. Done! On the driver's door, and some passenger doors, you'll need to get the lock cylinder's "finger" into a slot in the lock mechanism. It takes some good aim as you align the tailpiece while inserting it, and it will help to use your key to wiggle the lock until you feel it click into place. Then, as before, tighten the screw, replace the rubber plug, and that's all folks!
One more thing: if, like me, you just want to change the COLOR of the handles, you'll need to remove the plastic cover piece from the locking tailpiece(s) so you can still use the new colored tailpiece but still unlock the car with your keys (good idea, right?
) There are 2 tabs on the colored "shell" of the tailpiece. Use a small screwdriver to CAREFULLY pry these out just enough to pry the lock cylinder out. Snap the cover back onto your existing lock cylinder (don't mix 'em up, for crying out loud!!!) and then replace the tailpiece as described above.
I hope this helps someone!