Volkswagen Beetle
Overview
The Volkswagen Type 1, widely known as the Volkswagen Beetle or Volkswagen Bug, is an economy car
Economy car
An economy car is an automobile that is designed for low cost operation. Typical economy cars are small, light weight, and inexpensive to buy. Economy car designers are forced by stringent design constraints to be inventive...

 produced by the German auto maker Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and is the original and biggest-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Škoda marques and the truck manufacturer Scania.Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, where it is...

 (VW) from 1938 until 2003. With over 21 million manufactured in an air-cooled
Air-cooled engine
Air-cooled engines rely on the circulation of air directly over hot parts of the engine to cool them.-Introduction:Most modern internal combustion engines are cooled by a closed circuit carrying liquid coolant through channels in the engine block and cylinder head, where the coolant absorbs heat,...

, rear-engined, rear-wheel drive configuration, the Beetle is the longest-running and most-manufactured automobile of a single design platform
Automobile platform
An automobile platform is a shared set of common design, engineering, and production efforts, as well as major components over a number of outwardly distinct models and even types of automobiles, often from different, but related marques...

 anywhere in the world.
Although designed in the 1930s, the Beetle was only produced in significant numbers from 1945 onwards, when the model was internally designated the Volkswagen Type 1, and marketed simply as the "Volkswagen".
Encyclopedia
The Volkswagen Type 1, widely known as the Volkswagen Beetle or Volkswagen Bug, is an economy car
Economy car
An economy car is an automobile that is designed for low cost operation. Typical economy cars are small, light weight, and inexpensive to buy. Economy car designers are forced by stringent design constraints to be inventive...

 produced by the German auto maker Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and is the original and biggest-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Škoda marques and the truck manufacturer Scania.Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, where it is...

 (VW) from 1938 until 2003. With over 21 million manufactured in an air-cooled
Air-cooled engine
Air-cooled engines rely on the circulation of air directly over hot parts of the engine to cool them.-Introduction:Most modern internal combustion engines are cooled by a closed circuit carrying liquid coolant through channels in the engine block and cylinder head, where the coolant absorbs heat,...

, rear-engined, rear-wheel drive configuration, the Beetle is the longest-running and most-manufactured automobile of a single design platform
Automobile platform
An automobile platform is a shared set of common design, engineering, and production efforts, as well as major components over a number of outwardly distinct models and even types of automobiles, often from different, but related marques...

 anywhere in the world.

Overview

Although designed in the 1930s, the Beetle was only produced in significant numbers from 1945 onwards, when the model was internally designated the Volkswagen Type 1, and marketed simply as the "Volkswagen". Later models were designated VW 1200, 1300, 1500, 1302 or 1303, the former three indicating engine displacement
Engine displacement
Engine displacement is the volume swept by all the pistons inside the cylinders of an internal combustion engine in a single movement from top dead centre to bottom dead centre . It is commonly specified in cubic centimeters , litres , or cubic inches...

 and the latter two being derived from the type number and not indicative of engine capacity. The model became widely known in its home country as the Käfer (German for "beetle
Beetle
Coleoptera is an order of insects commonly called beetles. The word "coleoptera" is from the Greek , koleos, "sheath"; and , pteron, "wing", thus "sheathed wing". Coleoptera contains more species than any other order, constituting almost 25% of all known life-forms...

") and was later marketed as such in Germany, and as the Volkswagen Beetle in other countries.

In the 1950s, the Beetle was more comfortable and powerful than most European small cars, having been designed for sustained high speed on the Autobahn. It remained a top seller in the U.S., owing much of its success to high build-quality and innovative advertising, ultimately giving rise to variants, including the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
Volkswagen Karmann Ghia
The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia is a 2+2 coupe and convertible marketed from 1955 to 1974 by Volkswagen – combining the chassis and mechanicals of the Type 1 , styling by Luigi Segre of the Italian carrozzeria Ghia, and hand-built bodywork by German coach-builder Karmann.The Karmann Ghia was...

 and the Volkswagen Type 2
Volkswagen Type 2
The Volkswagen Type 2, officially known as the Transporter or Kombi informally as Bus or Camper , was a panel van introduced in 1950 by German automaker Volkswagen as its second car model – following and initially deriving from Volkswagen's first model, the Type 1 , it was given the factory...

 van.

Along with cars including the Morris Minor
Morris Minor
The Morris Minor was a British economy car that debuted at the Earls Court Motor Show, London, on 20 September 1948. Designed under the leadership of Alec Issigonis, more than 1.3 million were manufactured between 1948 and 1971...

, Fiat 500
Fiat 500
The Fiat 500 is a car produced by the Fiat company of Italy between 1957 and 1975, with limited production of the Fiat 500 K estate continuing until 1977. The car was designed by Dante Giacosa....

, Renault 4CV
Renault 4CV
The Renault 4CV was an economy car produced by the French manufacturer Renault from August 1947-July 1961. The first French car to sell over a million units, the 4CV was ultimately superseded by the Renault Dauphine....

 and Dauphine
Renault Dauphine
Renault Dauphine is a rear-engined economy car manufactured by Renault in one body style — a three-box, four-door sedan — as the successor to the Renault 4CV, with over two million examples marketed worldwide during its production from 1956-1967....

, and Citroën 2CV
Citroën 2CV
The Citroën 2CV |tax horsepower]]”) was an economy car produced by the French automaker Citroën between 1948 and 1990. It was technologically advanced and innovative, but with uncompromisingly utilitarian unconventional looks, and deceptively simple Bauhaus inspired bodywork, that belied the sheer...

, the Beetle pioneered the modern continental economy car and later served as the benchmark for the initial two generations of North American compact car
Compact car
A compact car , or small family car , is a classification of cars which are larger than a supermini but smaller than or equal to a mid-size car...

s, including the Chevrolet Corvair
Chevrolet Corvair
-First generation :The 1960 Corvair 500 and 700 series four-door sedans were conceived as economy cars offering few amenities in order to keep the price competitive, with the 500 selling for under $2,000...

 and Ford Falcon, as well as later subcompact car
Subcompact car
Subcompact car is a North American term used to describe automobiles whose class size is smaller than that of a compact car, usually not exceeding in length, but larger than a microcar...

s such as the Chevrolet Vega
Chevrolet Vega
The Chevrolet Vega is a subcompact, two-door automobile that was produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors for the 1971-1977 model years. Named after the star Vega, the car was powered by a lightweight aluminum-block inline four-cylinder engine...

 and Ford Pinto
Ford Pinto
The Ford Pinto is a subcompact car produced by the Ford Motor Company for the model years 1971–1980. The car's name derives from the Pinto horse. Initially offered as a two-door sedan, Ford offered "Runabout" hatchback and wagon models the following year, competing in the U.S. market with the AMC...

.

The Beetle had marked a significant trend led by Volkswagen, Fiat, and Renault whereby the rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout had increased from 2.6 percent of continental Western Europe's car production in 1946 to 26.6 percent in 1956. The 1948 Citroën 2CV and other European models marked a later trend to front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive is a form of engine/transmission layout used in motor vehicles, where the engine drives the front wheels only. Most modern front-wheel drive vehicles feature a transverse engine, rather than the conventional longitudinal engine arrangement generally found in rear-wheel drive and...

 in the European small car market, a trend that would come to dominate that market. In 1974, Volkswagen's own front-wheel drive Golf
Volkswagen Golf
The Volkswagen Golf is a small family car manufactured by Volkswagen since 1974 and marketed worldwide across six generations, in various body configurations and under various nameplates – as the Volkswagen Rabbit in the United States and Canada , and as the Volkswagen Caribe in Mexico .The...

 model succeeded the Beetle. In 1994, Volkswagen unveiled the Concept One, a "retro"-themed concept car
Concept car
A concept vehicle or show vehicle is a car made to showcase new styling and or new technology. They are often shown at motor shows to gauge customer reaction to new and radical designs which may or may not have a chance of being produced....

 with a resemblance to the original Beetle, and in 1998 introduced the "New Beetle
Volkswagen New Beetle
-Specifications:*Dimension:**Length: **Width: **Height: **Wheelbase: **Curb weight: *Max speed: 177–210 km/h *Acceleration : 6.5-13.2 sec-Body styles:-Engine choices:-Safety:...

", built on the Golf
Volkswagen Golf Mk4
Launched in 1999, the Volkswagen Golf Mk4 was the best selling car in Europe in 2001 . The Mk4 was a deliberate attempt to take the Volkswagen Golf series further upmarket, with a high-quality interior and higher equipment levels...

 platform with styling recalling the original Type 1.

In a 1999 international poll for the world's most influential car of the 20th century
Car of the Century
The Car of the Century was an international award given to the world's most influential car of the 20th century. The election process was overseen by the Global Automotive Elections Foundation...

, the Type 1 came fourth, after the Ford Model T
Ford Model T
The Ford Model T is an automobile that was produced by Henry Ford's Ford Motor Company from September 1908 to May 1927...

, the Mini
Mini
The Mini is a small car that was made by the British Motor Corporation and its successors from 1959 until 2000. The original is considered a British icon of the 1960s, and its space-saving front-wheel-drive layout influenced a generation of car-makers...

, and the Citroën DS
Citroën DS
The Citroën DS is an executive car produced by the French manufacturer Citroën between 1955 and 1975. Styled by Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni and the French aeronautical engineer André Lefèbvre, the DS was known for its aerodynamic futuristic body design and innovative...

.

Design overview

The Beetle featured a rear-located, rear-wheel drive, air-cooled four-cylinder, boxer engine in a two-door bodywork featuring a flat front windscreen, accommodating four passengers and providing luggage storage under the front bonnet and behind the rear seat – and offering a Cx or coefficient of drag of 0.41. The bodywork attached with eighteen bolts to its nearly flat chassis which featured a central structural tunnel. Front and rear suspension featured torsion bars along with front and rear stabilizer bars – providing independent suspensions at all wheels.
Certain initial features were subsequently revised, including mechanical drum brakes, split-window rear windows, mechanical direction-indicators and the non-synchronized gearbox. Other features, including its distinctive overall shape, endured.

Its engine, transmission, and cylinder heads were constructed of light alloy. An engine oil cooler (located in the engine fan's shroud) ensured optimal engine operating temperature and long engine life, optimized by a thermostat that bypassed the oil cooler when the engine was cold. Later models of the carburetor featured an automatic choke
Choke valve
A Choke valve is a type of valve designed to create choked flow in a fluid. Over a wide range of valve settings the flow through the valve can be understood by ignoring the viscosity of the fluid passing through the valve; the rate of flow is determined only by the ambient pressure on the upstream...

. Engine intake air passed through a metallic filter, while heavier particles were captured by an oil bath. After 1960, steering featured a hydraulic damper that absorbed steering irregularities.

Indicative of the car's simple, no-nonsense design, the interior featured painted metal surfaces, a metal dash consolidating instruments in a single, circular binnacle
Binnacle
A binnacle is a waist-high case or stand on the deck of a ship, generally mounted in front of the helmsman, in which navigational instruments are placed for easy and quick reference as well as to protect the delicate instruments. Its traditional purpose was to hold the ship's magnetic compass,...

, adjustable front seats, a fold-down rear seat, optional swing-out rear windows, front windows with pivoting vent windows, heating via air-to-air exchange manifolds operating off the engine's heat, and a windshield washer system that eschewed the complexity and cost of an additional electric pump and instead received its pressurization from the car's spare tire (located in the front luggage compartment) which was accordingly overinflated to accommodate the washer function.

While the overall appearance of the Beetle changed little over its life span, it received over 78,000 incremental changes during its production.

"The People's Car"

In 1931, Ferdinand Porsche
Ferdinand Porsche
Ferdinand Porsche was an Austrian automotive engineer and honorary Doctor of Engineering. He is best known for creating the first hybrid vehicle , the Volkswagen Beetle, and the Mercedes-Benz SS/SSK, as well as the first of many Porsche automobiles...

 developed the Porsche Type 12, or "Auto für Jedermann" (car for everybody) for Zündapp
Zündapp
Zündapp was a major German motorcycle manufacturer. The company was founded in 1917 in Nuremberg by Fritz Neumeyer, together with the Friedrich Krupp AG and the machine tool manufacturer Thiel under the name "Zünder- und Apparatebau G.m.b.H." as a producer of detonators...

. Porsche already preferred the flat-four engine, and selected a swing axle
Swing axle
A swing axle is a simple type of independent suspension first used in early aircraft , such as the Sopwith and Fokker, usually with rubber bungee and no damping....

 rear suspension (invented by Edmund Rumpler
Edmund Rumpler
Edmund Rumpler was an Austrian automobile and aircraft designer.Born in Vienna, then Austro-Hungarian Empire , he worked mainly in Germany.Lyons 1988, p.73 An automotive engineer by training, he collaborated with Hans Ledwinka on the first Nesseldorf , the Präsident, in 1897.By age 30, in 1902, he...

), while Zündapp insisted on a water-cooled five-cylinder radial engine
Radial engine
The radial engine is a reciprocating type internal combustion engine configuration in which the cylinders point outward from a central crankshaft like the spokes on a wheel...

. In 1932, three prototype
Prototype
A prototype is an early sample or model built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from.The word prototype derives from the Greek πρωτότυπον , "primitive form", neutral of πρωτότυπος , "original, primitive", from πρῶτος , "first" and τύπος ,...

s were running. All of those cars were lost during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the last in a bombing raid in Stuttgart
Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

 in 1945.

The Zündapp prototypes were followed by the Porsche Type 32, designed in 1933 for NSU Motorenwerke AG
NSU Motorenwerke AG
NSU Motorenwerke AG, normally just NSU, was a German manufacturer of automobiles, motorcycles and pedal cycles, founded in 1873. It was acquired by Volkswagen Group in 1969...

, another motorcycle company. The Type 32 was similar in design to the Type 12, but had a flat-four engine. NSU's exit from car manufacturing resulted in the Type 32 being abandoned at the prototype stage.

In 1933, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 gave the order to Ferdinand Porsche
Ferdinand Porsche
Ferdinand Porsche was an Austrian automotive engineer and honorary Doctor of Engineering. He is best known for creating the first hybrid vehicle , the Volkswagen Beetle, and the Mercedes-Benz SS/SSK, as well as the first of many Porsche automobiles...

 to develop a Volkswagen (literally, "people's car" in German, pronounced ˈfɔlksvaːɡən). The epithet Volks- literally, "people's-" had been previously applied to other Nazi sponsored consumer goods such as the Volksempfänger
Volksempfänger
The Volksempfänger was a range of radio receivers developed by engineer Otto Griessing at the request of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels....

("people's radio"). Hitler required a basic vehicle capable of transporting two adults and three children at 100 km/h (62 mph). The "People's Car" would be available to citizens of the Third Reich through a savings scheme, or Sparkarte (savings booklet), at 990 Reichsmark
German reichsmark
The Reichsmark was the currency in Germany from 1924 until June 20, 1948. The Reichsmark was subdivided into 100 Reichspfennig.-History:...

, about the price of a small motorcycle (an average income being around 32RM a week).

Development

Initially designated the Porsche Type 60 by Ferdinand Porsche, the design team included Erwin Komenda
Erwin Komenda
Erwin Komenda ex Dr Ferdinand Porsche employee, helped in the design of the bodies for the VW Beetle and various Porsche sports cars....

 and Karl Rabe
Karl Rabe
Karl Rabe was an automobile designer and held position of Chief Designer at Porsche. He helped Ferdinand Porsche to develop the Porsche's transmissions.-References:...

.
In October 1935 the first two Type 60 prototypes, known as the V1 and V2 (V for Versuchswagen, or "test car"), were ready. In 1936, testing of three further V3 prototypes, built in Porsche's Stuttgart
Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

 shop, began. A batch of thirty W30 development models, produced for Porsche by Daimler-Benz
Daimler-Benz
Daimler-Benz AG was a German manufacturer of automobiles, motor vehicles, and internal combustion engines; founded in 1926. An Agreement of Mutual Interest - which was valid until year 2000 - was signed on 1 May 1924 between Karl Benz's Benz & Cie., and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, which had...

, underwent 1800000 mi (2,896,812 km) of further testing in 1937. All cars already had the distinctive round shape and the air-cooled, rear-mounted engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

. Included in this batch was a rollback soft top called the Cabrio Limousine. A further batch of 44 VW38 pre-production cars produced in 1938 introduced split rear windows; both the split window and the dash were retained on production Type 1s until 1953. The VW38 cars were followed by another batch of 50 VW39 cars, completed in July 1939.

The car was designed to be as simple as possible mechanically, so that there was less to go wrong; the aircooled 25 hp 995 cc motors proved especially effective in actions of the German Afrika Korps
Afrika Korps
The German Africa Corps , or the Afrika Korps as it was popularly called, was the German expeditionary force in Libya and Tunisia during the North African Campaign of World War II...

 in Africa's desert heat. This was due to the built-in oil cooler and the superior performance of the flat-four engine configuration. The suspension design used compact torsion bars instead of coil
Coil spring
A Coil spring, also known as a helical spring, is a mechanical device, which is typically used to store energy and subsequently release it, to absorb shock, or to maintain a force between contacting surfaces...

 or leaf spring
Leaf spring
Originally called laminated or carriage spring, a leaf spring is a simple form of spring, commonly used for the suspension in wheeled vehicles...

s. The Beetle is nearly airtight and will float for a few minutes on water.

The Volkswagen was officially named the KdF-Wagen by Hitler when the project was officially announced in 1938. The name refers to Kraft durch Freude ('Strength Through Joy'), the official leisure organization of the Third Reich
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

.
The model village
Model village
A model village is a type of mostly self-contained community, in most cases built from the late eighteenth century onwards by industrialists to house their workers...

 of Stadt des KdF-Wagens
Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg is a town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located on the River Aller northeast of Braunschweig , and is mainly notable as the headquarters of Volkswagen AG...

 was created near Fallersleben
Fallersleben
Fallersleben is a district in the City of Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, Germany, with a population of 11,269 . The village of Fallersleben was first mentioned in 942 under the name of Valareslebo. Fallersleben became a city in 1929, and was incorporated into Wolfsburg in 1972. Before 1972, it belonged...

 in Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony is a German state situated in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany...

 in 1938 for the benefit of the workers at the newly built factory. After World War II, it was known as the Volkswagen Type 1, but became more commonly known as the Beetle.

Influence of Tatra

The Austrian car designer Hans Ledwinka
Hans Ledwinka
Hans Ledwinka was an Austrian automobile designer.- Youth :Ledwinka was born was born in Klosterneuburg , near Vienna, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire....

  was a contemporary of Porsche working at the Czechoslovakian company Tatra
Tatra (car)
Tatra is a vehicle manufacturer in Kopřivnice, Czech Republic. The company was founded in 1850 as Schustala & Company later renamed Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriksgesellschaft, a wagon and carriage manufacturer, and in 1897 produced the first motor car in central Europe, the Präsident. In 1918, it...

. In 1931, Tatra built the V570
Tatra V570
Tatra V570 was a prototype early 1930s car developed by a team led by Hans Ledwinka and Paul Jaray. The aim of the construction team was to develop cheap people's car with an aerodynamic body...

 prototype, which had a air-cooled flat-twin engine engine mounted at the rear. This was followed in 1933 by a second V570 prototype with a streamlined body similar to that of the Porsche Type 32. The rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout was a challenge for effective air cooling, and during development of the much larger V8 engine
V8 engine
A V8 engine is a V engine with eight cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of four cylinders, in most cases set at a right angle to each other but sometimes at a narrower angle, with all eight pistons driving a common crankshaft....

d Tatra T77
Tatra T77
The Czechoslovakian Tatra 77 is the first serial-produced truly aerodynamically designed automobile. It was developed by Hans Ledwinka and Paul Jaray, the noted Zeppelin aerodynamic engineer. Launched in 1934, the Tatra 77 is a coach-built automobile constructed on a central tube-steel chassis and...

 in 1933 Tatra registered numerous patents related to air flow into the rear engine compartment. The use of Tatra's patented air cooling designs later became one of ten issues for which Tatra filed suit against VW.

Both Hitler and Porsche were influenced by the Tatras. Hitler was a keen automotive enthusiast, and had ridden in Tatras during political tours of Czechoslovakia. He had also dined numerous times with Ledwinka. After one of these dinners Hitler remarked to Porsche, "This is the car for my roads". From 1933 onwards, Ledwinka and Porsche met regularly to discuss their designs, and Porsche admitted "Well, sometimes I looked over his shoulder and sometimes he looked over mine" while designing the Volkswagen. The Tatra T97
Tatra T97
The Type 97 is a mid-class saloon car from Czechoslovak car-maker Tatra. It was produced for a short time in the pre-war period, from 1936 to 1939.- History :...

 of 1936 had a 1,749 cc, rear-located, rear-wheel drive, air-cooled four-cylinder boxer engine. It cost 5,600 RM and accommodated five passengers in its extensively streamlined four-door body, which provided luggage storage under the front bonnet and behind the rear seats. It also featured a similar central structural tunnel found in the Beetle.

Just before the start of the Second World War, Tatra had ten legal claims filed against VW for infringement of patents. Although Ferdinand Porsche was about to pay a settlement to Tatra, he was stopped by Hitler who said he would "solve his problem". Tatra launched a lawsuit, but this was stopped when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938, resulting in the Tatra factory coming under Nazi administration in October 1938. The T97, along with the T57, were ordered by Hitler to be removed from the Tatra display at the 1939 Berlin Autosalon and Tatra was later directed to concentrate on heavy trucks and diesel engines, with all car models, except for the V8-engined Tatra T87
Tatra T87
The Tatra 87 is a car built by Czechoslovak manufacturer Tatra. It was praised by German officers in World War II for the superior speed and handling it offered for use on the Autobahn. It was powered by a rear-mounted 2.9 litre air-cooled 90-degree overhead cam V8 engine that produced 85...

, being discontinued. The matter was re-opened after World War II and in 1961 Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and is the original and biggest-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Škoda marques and the truck manufacturer Scania.Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, where it is...

 paid Ringhoffer-Tatra 3,000,000 Deutsche Marks in an out of court settlement.

Wartime production

The factory had only produced a handful of cars by the start of the war in 1939; the first volume-produced versions of the car's chassis
Chassis
A chassis consists of an internal framework that supports a man-made object. It is analogous to an animal's skeleton. An example of a chassis is the underpart of a motor vehicle, consisting of the frame with the wheels and machinery.- Vehicles :In the case of vehicles, the term chassis means the...

 were military vehicles, the Type 82 Kübelwagen
Volkswagen Kübelwagen
The Volkswagen Kübelwagen was a military vehicle designed by Ferdinand Porsche and built by Volkswagen during World War II for use by the German military...

 (approximately 52,000 built) and the amphibious Type 166 Schwimmwagen
Volkswagen Schwimmwagen
The VW Type 128 and 166 Schwimmwagen were amphibious four-wheel drive off-roaders, used extensively by the German Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS during the Second World War...

 (about 14,000 built).

A handful of Beetles were produced specifically for civilians, primarily for the Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 elite
Elite
Elite refers to an exceptional or privileged group that wields considerable power within its sphere of influence...

, in the years 1940 to 1945, but production figures were small. Because of gasoline shortages, a few wartime "Holzbrenner" Beetles were fueled by wood pyrolysis
Pyrolysis
Pyrolysis is a thermochemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures without the participation of oxygen. It involves the simultaneous change of chemical composition and physical phase, and is irreversible...

 gas producers
Wood gas generator
A wood gas generator is a gasification unit which converts timber or charcoal into wood gas, a syngas consisting of atmospheric nitrogen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, traces of methane, and other gases, which - after cooling and filtering - can then be used to power an internal combustion engine or...

 under the hood. In addition to the Kübelwagen, Schwimmwagen, and a handful of others, the factory managed another wartime vehicle: the Kommandeurwagen; a Beetle body mounted on the Kübelwagen chassis. 669 Kommandeurwagens were produced up to 1945, when all production was halted because of heavy damage to the factory by Allied air raids. Much of the essential equipment had already been moved to underground bunkers for protection, which let production resume quickly after hostilities ended.

Post-war production and boom

In occupied Germany, the Allies followed the Morgenthau plan
Morgenthau Plan
The Morgenthau Plan, proposed by United States Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., advocated that the Allied occupation of Germany following World War II include measures to eliminate Germany's ability to wage war.-Overview:...

 to remove all German war potential by complete or partial pastoralization. As part of this, in the Industrial plans for Germany
Industrial plans for Germany
The Industrial plans for Germany were designs the Allies considered imposing on Germany in the aftermath of World War II to reduce and manage Germany's industrial capacity.-Background:...

, the rules for which industry Germany was to be allowed to retain were set out. German car production was set at a maximum of 10% of the 1936 car production numbers.

Mass production of civilian VW automobiles did not start until post-war occupation
Allied Occupation Zones in Germany
The Allied powers who defeated Nazi Germany in World War II divided the country west of the Oder-Neisse line into four occupation zones for administrative purposes during 1945–49. In the closing weeks of fighting in Europe, US forces had pushed beyond the previously agreed boundaries for the...

. The Volkswagen factory was handed over by the Americans to British control in 1945; it was to be dismantled and shipped to Britain. Thankfully for Volkswagen, no British car manufacturer was interested in the factory; "the vehicle does not meet the fundamental technical requirement of a motor-car ... it is quite unattractive to the average buyer ... To build the car commercially would be a completely uneconomic enterprise." The factory survived by producing cars for the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 instead. Allied dismantling policy changed in late 1946 to mid 1947, although heavy industry continued to be dismantled until 1951. In March 1947, Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

 helped change policy by stating
"There is the illusion that the New Germany left after the annexations
Oder-Neisse line
The Oder–Neisse line is the border between Germany and Poland which was drawn in the aftermath of World War II. The line is formed primarily by the Oder and Lusatian Neisse rivers, and meets the Baltic Sea west of the seaport cities of Szczecin and Świnoujście...

 can be reduced to a 'pastoral state'. It cannot be done unless we exterminate or move 25,000,000 people out of it."


The re-opening of the factory is largely accredited to British Army officer Major Ivan Hirst
Ivan Hirst
Major Ivan Hirst , was a British Army officer and engineer who was instrumental in reviving Volkswagen from a single factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, into a major postwar automotive manufacturer.-Education:...

 (1916–2000). Hirst was ordered to take control of the heavily bombed factory, which the Americans had captured. His first task was to remove an unexploded bomb that had fallen through the roof and lodged itself between some pieces of irreplaceable production equipment; if the bomb had exploded, the Beetle's fate would have been sealed. Hirst persuaded the British military to order 20,000 of the cars, and by March 1946 the factory was producing 1,000 cars a month, which Hirst said "was the limit set by the availability of materials". During this period, the car reverted to its original name of Volkswagen and the town was renamed Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg is a town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located on the River Aller northeast of Braunschweig , and is mainly notable as the headquarters of Volkswagen AG...

. The first 1,785 Type 1s were made in 1945.

Following the British Army-led restart of production, former Opel manager (and formerly a detractor of the Volkswagen) Heinz Nordhoff was appointed director of the Volkswagen factory. Under Nordhoff, production increased dramatically over the following decade, with the one-millionth car coming off the assembly line
Assembly line
An assembly line is a manufacturing process in which parts are added to a product in a sequential manner using optimally planned logistics to create a finished product much faster than with handcrafting-type methods...

 by 1955. During this post-war period, the Beetle had superior performance in its category with a top speed of 115 km/h (71.5 mph) and 0–100 km/h (0–60 mph) in 27.5 seconds with fuel consumption of 6.7 l/100 km (36 mpg) for the standard 25 kW engine. This was far superior to the Citroën 2CV
Citroën 2CV
The Citroën 2CV |tax horsepower]]”) was an economy car produced by the French automaker Citroën between 1948 and 1990. It was technologically advanced and innovative, but with uncompromisingly utilitarian unconventional looks, and deceptively simple Bauhaus inspired bodywork, that belied the sheer...

 which was aimed at a low speed/poor road rural peasant market and Morris Minor
Morris Minor
The Morris Minor was a British economy car that debuted at the Earls Court Motor Show, London, on 20 September 1948. Designed under the leadership of Alec Issigonis, more than 1.3 million were manufactured between 1948 and 1971...

 that was designed for a market that had no motorways / freeways, and even competitive with more advanced and small wheeled city cars like the Austin Mini
Mini
The Mini is a small car that was made by the British Motor Corporation and its successors from 1959 until 2000. The original is considered a British icon of the 1960s, and its space-saving front-wheel-drive layout influenced a generation of car-makers...

.

In Small Wonder, Walter Henry Nelson wrote:
"The engine fires up immediately without a choke. It has tolerable road-handling and is economical to maintain. Although a small car, the engine has great elasticity and gave the feeling of better output than its small nominal size."


Opinion in the United States was not flattering, however, perhaps because of the characteristic differences between the American and European car markets. Henry Ford II
Henry Ford II
Henry Ford II , commonly known as "HF2" and "Hank the Deuce", was the son of Edsel Ford and grandson of Henry Ford...

 once described the car as "a little box." The Ford company was offered the entire VW works after the war for free. Ford's right-hand man Ernest Breech
Ernest R. Breech
Ernest R. Breech was an American corporate executive. Although he is best remembered for his work in revitalizing Ford Motor Company in the years following World War II, he served similar roles at Trans World Airlines and other companies....

 was asked what he thought, and told Henry II, "What we're being offered here, Mr. Ford, isn't worth a damn!"

During the 1950s, the car was modified progressively: the obvious visual changes mostly concerned the rear windows. In March 1953, the small oval two-piece rear window was replaced by a slightly larger single-piece window. More dramatically, in August 1957 a much larger full width rear window replaced the oval one. 1964 saw the introduction of a widened cover for the light over the rear licence plate. Towards the end of 1964, the height of the side windows and windscreen grew slightly, giving the cabin a less pinched look: this coincided with the introduction of a very slightly curved ("panoramic") windscreen, though the curve was barely noticeable. The same body appeared during 1966, with a 1,300 cc engine in place of the 1,200 cc engine: it was only in the 1973 model Super Beetle that the Beetle acquired an obviously curved windscreen. The flat windscreen remained on the standard Beetle.

There were also changes under the bonnet. In 1954, Volkswagen added 2 mm to the cylinder bore, increasing the displacement
Engine displacement
Engine displacement is the volume swept by all the pistons inside the cylinders of an internal combustion engine in a single movement from top dead centre to bottom dead centre . It is commonly specified in cubic centimeters , litres , or cubic inches...

 from 1,131 cc to 1,192 cc. This coincided with upgrades to various key components including a redesign of the crankshaft. This increased power from 33 bhp to a claimed 40 bhp and improved the engine's free revving abilities without compromising torque at lower engine speeds. At the same time, compression ratios were progressively raised as, little by little, the octane ratings of available fuel was raised in major markets during the 1950s and 1960s.

There were other, less-numerous models, as well. The Hebmüller
Hebmüller
The coachbuilding company Hebmüller And Sons was founded in 1889 by Joseph Hebmüller, it was established in the town of Wuppertal in Germany....

 cabriolet (officially Type 14A
Volkswagen Type 14A (Hebmüller Cabriolet)
The Volkswagen Type 14A is a German automobile produced after the Second World War....

), a sporty two-seater, was built between 1949 and 1953; it numbered 696. The Type 18A
Volkswagen Type 18A
Volkswagen Type 18A was a German automobile specially made for the German police that started production in 1949. In German it was called "Polizei Cabriolet" or Gendarmerier. It was also used by East Berlin's fire department. In total 482 were made, 203 by Karosserie Austro-Tatra...

, a fixed-top cabriolet, was produced by Austro-Tatra
Austro-Tatra
The Austro-Tatra was a car made by Austro-Tatra-Werke, Vienna, from 1934 to 1948.After World War I and the subdivision of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the administration, and factory , of the Nesselsdorf, later Tatra, company, were divided by a new frontier and border...

 as a police and fire unit; 203 were assembled between January 1950 and March 1953.

Beetle sales boomed in the 1960s, thanks to clever advertising campaigns, and the Beetle's reputation for reliability and sturdiness. On 17 February 1972, when Beetle No. 15,007,034 was produced, Beetle production surpassed that of the previous record holder, the Ford Model T
Ford Model T
The Ford Model T is an automobile that was produced by Henry Ford's Ford Motor Company from September 1908 to May 1927...

. By 1973, total production was over 16 million, and by 23 June 1992, over 21 million had been produced.

Diesel

In 1951, Volkswagen prototyped a 1.3 L diesel engine
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

. Volkswagen made only 2 air-cooled boxer diesel engines that were not turbocharged, and installed one engine in a Type 1 and another in a Type 2
Volkswagen Type 2
The Volkswagen Type 2, officially known as the Transporter or Kombi informally as Bus or Camper , was a panel van introduced in 1950 by German automaker Volkswagen as its second car model – following and initially deriving from Volkswagen's first model, the Type 1 , it was given the factory...

. The diesel Beetle was time tested on the Nürburgring
Nürburgring
The Nürburgring is a motorsport complex around the village of Nürburg, Germany. It features a modern Grand Prix race track built in 1984, and a much longer old North loop track which was built in the 1920s around the village and medieval castle of Nürburg in the Eifel mountains. It is located about...

 and achieved 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in 60 seconds.

Introduction to Ireland

Volkswagen began its involvement in Ireland when in 1949, Motor Distributors Limited, founded by Stephen O'Flaherty secured the franchise
Franchising
Franchising is the practice of using another firm's successful business model. The word 'franchise' is of anglo-French derivation - from franc- meaning free, and is used both as a noun and as a verb....

 for the country at that year’s Paris Motor Show. In 1950, Volkswagen Beetles started arriving into Dublin packed in crates in what was termed "completely knocked down" (CKD) form ready to be assembled. The vehicles were assembled in a former tram depot at 162 Shelbourne Road in Ballsbridge
Ballsbridge
Ballsbridge is a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, named for the bridge spanning the River Dodder on the south side of the city. The sign on the bridge still proclaims it as "Ball's Bridge" in recognition of the fact that the original bridge in this location was built and owned by a Mr...

. This is now the premises for Ballsbridge Motors who are still a Volkswagen dealer. The first Volkswagen ever assembled outside Germany was built here. This vehicle is now on display at the Volkswagen Museum in Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg is a town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located on the River Aller northeast of Braunschweig , and is mainly notable as the headquarters of Volkswagen AG...

.

Introduction to the UK

The first Volkswagen Beetle dealer in the UK was J.Gilder & Co. Ltd. in Sheffield, which began selling Volkswagens in 1953. Jack Gilder had been fascinated by both the design and engineering of the Beetle when he came across one in Belgium during the war. He applied for the franchise as soon as the opportunity presented itself and became Volkswagen's representative in the North of England.

VW Beetle 1953–1957

During this period, the rear window of the VW Beetle lost the "bar" in the center and as a result has been referred to as the "oval" or "oval window" Beetle.

VW Beetle 1967

The Beetle underwent significant changes for the 1967 model. While the car appeared similar to earlier models, much of the drivetrain
Powertrain
In a motor vehicle, the term powertrain or powerplant refers to the group of components that generate power and deliver it to the road surface, water, or air. This includes the engine, transmission, drive shafts, differentials, and the final drive...

 was noticeably upgraded. Some of the changes included a larger-displacement
Engine displacement
Engine displacement is the volume swept by all the pistons inside the cylinders of an internal combustion engine in a single movement from top dead centre to bottom dead centre . It is commonly specified in cubic centimeters , litres , or cubic inches...

 engine for the second year in a row. Horsepower had been increased to 37 kW the previous year, and for 1967 it was increased even more, to 40 kW.

On U.S. models, the output of the electrical generator was increased from 180 to 360 watts, and upgraded from a 6-volt to a 12-volt system. The clutch disc also increased in size, and changes were made to the flywheel
Flywheel
A flywheel is a rotating mechanical device that is used to store rotational energy. Flywheels have a significant moment of inertia, and thus resist changes in rotational speed. The amount of energy stored in a flywheel is proportional to the square of its rotational speed...

, braking system, and rear axle
Axle
An axle is a central shaft for a rotating wheel or gear. On wheeled vehicles, the axle may be fixed to the wheels, rotating with them, or fixed to its surroundings, with the wheels rotating around the axle. In the former case, bearings or bushings are provided at the mounting points where the axle...

. New standard equipment included two-speed windscreen wiper
Windscreen wiper
A windscreen wiper or windshield wiper is a device used to remove rain and debris from a windscreen or windshield. Almost all motor vehicles, including trains, aircraft and watercraft, are equipped with such wipers, which are usually a legal requirement.A wiper generally consists of an arm,...

s, reversing lights, a driver's armrest on the door, locking buttons on the doors, and a passenger's side exterior mirror.

In February 1967, inventor Don P. Dixon of San Antonio, Texas, filed and was ultimately granted a patent for the first air conditioning unit specifically designed for the Beetle, which were soon offered by U.S. dealerships.

The 1967 model weighed 840 kg (1,851.9 lb), which was a typical weight for a European car at this time.

That same year, in accord with the newly enacted U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 regulates all automotive lighting, signalling and reflective devices in the United States. Like all other Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, FMVSS 108 is administered by the United States Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety...

, the clear glass headlamp
Headlamp
A headlamp is a lamp, usually attached to the front of a vehicle such as a car or a motorcycle, with the purpose of illuminating the road ahead during periods of low visibility, such as darkness or precipitation. Headlamp performance has steadily improved throughout the automobile age, spurred by...

 covers were deleted; the headlamps were brought forward to the leading edge of the front fenders, and the sealed-beam units were exposed and surrounded by chrome bezels. For the 1968 model year, Beetles sold outside North America received the same more upright and forward headlamp placement, but with replaceable-bulb headlamps compliant with ECE regulations rather than the U.S. sealed beams.

The Super Beetle and final evolution

In 1971, alongside continued production of the "standard" Beetle, a Type 1 variant which featured MacPherson strut
MacPherson strut
The MacPherson strut is a type of car suspension system which uses the axis of a telescopic damper as the upper steering pivot. It is widely used in modern vehicles and named after Earle S. MacPherson, who developed the design.-History:...

 front suspension and a redesigned front end. Officially known (and marketed in Europe) as the VW 1302 from 1971 to 1972, and VW 1303 from 1973 onwards, but commonly called Super Beetle, the new stretched nose design replaced the dual parallel torsion bar beams which had compromised trunk space and relocated the spare tire from a near vertical to a low horizontal position. The redesign resulted in a tighter turning radius despite a 20 mm (0.78740157480315 in) longer wheelbase, and a doubling of the front compartment's cargo volume. As with previous models, air pressure from the spare tire pressurized the windshield washer canister, in lieu of an electric pump.

1972 Super Beetles had an 11% larger rear window (4 mm (0.15748031496063 in) taller), larger front brakes, four rows of vents (versus two rows previously) on the engine deck lid, tail lights incorporating reverse lights, a four-spoke energy-absorbing steering wheel and steering column, and an engine compartment socket for a proprietary VW Diagnosis system.

In 1973, the VW 1303 introduced a curved windscreen, pushed forward and away from the passengers, allowing a redesigned, padded dashboard to replace the pre-1973 vertical dash. A two-speed heater fan, higher rear mudguards, and larger tail lights were added. The changes to the heater/windshield wiper housing and curved windshield resulted in slight redesign of the front hood, making the 1971 and 1972 Super Beetle hoods unique.

For 1974, the previous flat steel bumper mounting brackets were replaced with tubular "self restoring energy absorbing" attachments, effectively shock absorbers for the bumpers, on North American market Beetles. These cars also got stronger "5 mph" bumpers that added an inch to the length of the car. The steering knuckle and consequently the lower attachment point of the strut was redesigned to improve handling and stability in the event of a tire blowout. This means struts from pre-1974 Super Beetles are not interchangeable with 1974–79s.

1975 models featured Air Flow Control (AFC) Fuel Injection
Fuel injection
Fuel injection is a system for admitting fuel into an internal combustion engine. It has become the primary fuel delivery system used in automotive petrol engines, having almost completely replaced carburetors in the late 1980s....

 on U.S., Canadian, and Japanese Beetles, a derivative of the more complex Bosch fuel injection system used in the Volkswagen Type III – and equivalent to Bosch L-jetronic. The fuel injected engine also received a new muffler and the option of an upstream catalytic converter required on some models (e.g. California), necessitating a bulge in the rear apron sheet metal directly under the rear bumper, and replacing the distinctive dual "pea shooter" pipes with a single offset tailpipe – making fuel injected models identifiable at a glance. Other changes were rack and pinion steering replacing the traditional worm and roller gearbox on Super Beetles, and a larger license plate lamp housing below the engine lid. The front turn indicators were moved from the top of the fenders into the bumper bars on European models.

In 1976, the optional "Auto-stick" transmission and the Super Beetle sedan were discontinued, with VW continuing to market the standard sedan and VW 1303 convertible. 1976-on convertibles received no significant engineering changes, only a few cosmetic touches and new paint options, including the "Champagne Edition" models (white on white was one example) to the final 1979 "Epilogue Edition" black on black, in salute to the first Beetles produced in the 1930s. 1977 model sedans received front seats with separate head restraints.

Beetle Cabriolet

The Beetle Cabriolet began production in 1949 by Karmann
Karmann
Wilhelm Karmann GmbH, commonly known simply as Karmann, in Osnabrück, Germany was until 2009 the largest independent motor vehicle manufacturing company in Germany...

 in Osnabrück
Osnabrück
Osnabrück is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany, some 80 km NNE of Dortmund, 45 km NE of Münster, and some 100 km due west of Hanover. It lies in a valley penned between the Wiehen Hills and the northern tip of the Teutoburg Forest...

. It was in 1948 when Wilhelm Karmann bought a VW Beetle limousine and converted it into a four-seated convertible. After successfully presenting it at VW in Wolfsburg, production started in 1949. After a number of stylistic and technical alterations made to the Karmann Cabriolet (corresponding to the many changes VW made to the Beetle throughout its history), the last of 331,847 cabriolets came off the conveyor belt on 10 January 1980.

Decline

Though extremely successful in the 1960s, the Beetle was faced with stiff competition from more modern designs. The Japanese had refined rear-wheel-drive, water-cooled, front-engine small cars to where they sold well in the North American market, and Americans introduced their own similarly sized rear-wheel-drive Chevrolet Vega
Chevrolet Vega
The Chevrolet Vega is a subcompact, two-door automobile that was produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors for the 1971-1977 model years. Named after the star Vega, the car was powered by a lightweight aluminum-block inline four-cylinder engine...

, Ford Pinto
Ford Pinto
The Ford Pinto is a subcompact car produced by the Ford Motor Company for the model years 1971–1980. The car's name derives from the Pinto horse. Initially offered as a two-door sedan, Ford offered "Runabout" hatchback and wagon models the following year, competing in the U.S. market with the AMC...

 and AMC Gremlin
AMC Gremlin
The AMC Gremlin is a two-door subcompact car produced in the United States and Canada by the American Motors Corporation between 1970 and 1978. AMC reduced its development and manufacturing costs by adapting a shortened Hornet platform with a Kammback-type tail...

 in the 1970s. The superminis
Supermini car
A supermini is a British term that describes automobiles larger than a city car but smaller than a small family car. This car class is also known as the B-segment across Europe, and as subcompact in North America....

 in Europe adopted even more efficient transverse-engine front-wheel-drive layouts, and sales began dropping off in the mid 1970s. There had been several unsuccessful attempts to replace or supplement the Beetle in the VW product line throughout the 1960s; the Type 3, Type 4, and the NSU-based K70 were all less successful than the Beetle, though aimed at more upscale markets for which VW lacked credibility. The over-reliance on the Beetle meant that Volkswagen was in financial crisis by 1974. It needed German government funding to produce the Beetle's replacement. Only when production lines at Wolfsburg switched to the new watercooled, front-engined, front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive is a form of engine/transmission layout used in motor vehicles, where the engine drives the front wheels only. Most modern front-wheel drive vehicles feature a transverse engine, rather than the conventional longitudinal engine arrangement generally found in rear-wheel drive and...

 Golf
Volkswagen Golf
The Volkswagen Golf is a small family car manufactured by Volkswagen since 1974 and marketed worldwide across six generations, in various body configurations and under various nameplates – as the Volkswagen Rabbit in the United States and Canada , and as the Volkswagen Caribe in Mexico .The...

 designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro
Giorgetto Giugiaro
Giorgetto Giugiaro is an Italian automobile designer responsible equally for a stable of supercars and several of the most popular everyday vehicles driven today...

 in 1974, (sold in North America as the "Rabbit") did Volkswagen produce a car as successful as the Beetle. The Golf would be periodically redesigned over its lifetime – entering its sixth generation in 2008 – with only a few components carried over between generations, while the Beetle used only minor refinements of its original design.

The Golf did not kill Beetle production, which continued in smaller numbers at other German factories until 19 January 1978, when mainstream production shifted to Brazil and Mexico, markets where low operating cost was more important. It is important to note that the Beetle Cabriolet was still produced for the North American and European markets in Germany until 10 January 1980. The last Beetle was produced in Puebla
Puebla, Puebla
The city and municipality of Puebla is the capital of the state of Puebla, and one of the five most important colonial cities in Mexico. Being a planned city, it is located to the east of Mexico City and west of Mexico's main port, Veracruz, on the main route between the two.The city was founded...

, Mexico, in July 2003. The final batch of 3,000 Beetles were sold as 2004 models and badged as the Última Edición, with whitewall tires, a host of previously discontinued chrome trim, and the choice of two special paint colors taken from the New Beetle. Production in Brazil ended in 1986, then started again in 1993 and continued until 1996. Volkswagen sold Beetle sedans in the United States until August 1977 (the Beetle convertible/Cabriolet was sold until January 1980) and in Europe until 1985, with private companies continuing to import cars produced in Mexico after 1985.
The Beetle outlasted most other automobiles which had copied the rear air-cooled engine layout such as those by Subaru
Subaru 360
The Subaru 360 was the first automobile mass-produced by Fuji Heavy Industries' Subaru division. A number of innovative features were used to design a very small and inexpensive car to address government plans to produce a small "people's car" with an engine no larger than 360 cc when most in...

, Fiat
Fiat
FIAT, an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino , is an Italian automobile manufacturer, engine manufacturer, financial, and industrial group based in Turin in the Italian region of Piedmont. Fiat was founded in 1899 by a group of investors including Giovanni Agnelli...

, Renault
Renault
Renault S.A. is a French automaker producing cars, vans, and in the past, autorail vehicles, trucks, tractors, vans and also buses/coaches. Its alliance with Nissan makes it the world's third largest automaker...

 and General Motors
Chevrolet Corvair
-First generation :The 1960 Corvair 500 and 700 series four-door sedans were conceived as economy cars offering few amenities in order to keep the price competitive, with the 500 selling for under $2,000...

. Porsche's sport coupes which were originally based on Volkswagen parts and platforms continue to use the classic rear engine layout (which later became water-cooled) in the Porsche 911
Porsche 911
The Porsche 911 is a luxury 2-door sports coupe made by Porsche AG of Stuttgart, Germany. It has a distinctive design, rear-engined and with independent rear suspension, an evolution of the swing axle on the Porsche 356. The engine was also air-cooled until the introduction of the Type 996 in 1998...

 series, which remains competitive in the first decade of the 21st century.

Worldwide end of production

As of 2002 over 21 million Type 1s had been produced, but by 2003, annual production had fallen to 30,000 from a peak of 1.3 million in 1971. VW announced the end of production in June 2003, citing decreasing demand, and the final original Type 1 VW Beetle (No. 21,529,464) rolled off the production line at Puebla
Puebla, Puebla
The city and municipality of Puebla is the capital of the state of Puebla, and one of the five most important colonial cities in Mexico. Being a planned city, it is located to the east of Mexico City and west of Mexico's main port, Veracruz, on the main route between the two.The city was founded...

, Mexico, on 30 July 2003 – 65 years after its original launch and unprecedented 58-year production run (counting from 1945, the year VW recognizes as the first year of non-Nazi funded production). This last Beetle, nicknamed El Rey (Spanish for "The King" after a legendary Mexican song by José Alfredo Jiménez
José Alfredo Jiménez
José Alfredo Jiménez was a Mexican singer-songwriter in the ranchera style whose songs are considered an integral part of Mexico's musical heritage....

) was delivered to the company's museum in Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg is a town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located on the River Aller northeast of Braunschweig , and is mainly notable as the headquarters of Volkswagen AG...

, Germany.

To celebrate the occasion, Volkswagen marketed a final special series of 3,000 Beetles marketed as "Última Edición" (Final Edition) in light blue (Aquarius Blue) or beige (Harvest Moon Beige). Each car included the 1.6 engine, whitewall tires, a CD player with four speakers, chrome bumpers, trim, hub caps and exterior mirrors, a Wolfsburg emblem above the front trunk's handle, chrome glove box badge, body coloured wheels, tinted glass, a rear parcel shelf, and VW Ultima Edicion plaque.

A mariachi
Mariachi
Mariachi is a genre of music that originated in the State of Jalisco, in Mexico. It is an integration of stringed instruments highly influenced by the cultural impacts of the historical development of Western Mexico. Throughout the history of mariachi, musicians have experimented with brass, wind,...

 band serenaded production of the last car. In Mexico, there was also an advertising campaign as a goodbye for the Beetle. For example, in one of the ads was a very small parking space on the street, and many big cars tried to park in it, but could not. After a while, a sign appears in that parking space saying: "Es increíble que un auto tan pequeño deje un vacío tan grande" (It is incredible that a car so small can leave such a large void). Another depicted the rear end of a 1954 Beetle (year in which Volkswagen first established in Mexico) in the left side of the ad, reading "Erase una vez..." (Once upon a time...) and the last 2003 Beetle in the right side, reading "Fin" (The end). There were other ads with the same nostalgic tone. The Volkswagen Sedan is used as a taxi in Mexico City up to 2013. The Mexican government is removing this type of taxi and already made the green colours change into red-gold.
  • Engine: Fuel-injected (Bosch Digifant) four-cylinder horizontally opposed, 1584 cc, 50 hp, 98.1 newton metre @ 2,200 rpm, three-way catalytic converter
  • Rated fuel milage: 32.5 miles per US gallon
  • Max cruising speed: 130 kilometre per hour
  • Brakes: front disc, rear drum
  • Passengers: Five
  • Tank: 40 l (11 US gal; 9 imp gal)
  • Colours: Aquarius blue, Harvest Moon beige.

The Beetle in other countries

Other countries produced Beetles from CKD (complete knockdown kits): Ireland, Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa, Australia, and Nigeria have assembled Beetles under license from VW.

Beetles produced in Mexico and Brazil had several differences:

Brazil

Brazilian production of the Beetle, where it is called "Fusca", started in 1953, with parts imported from Germany. By 1959, the cars were 100% Brazilian made. Production continued until 1986. In 1993 production resumed and continued to 1996. The Brazilian version retained the 1958–1964 body style (Europe and U.S. version) with the thick door pillars and smaller side windows. This body style was also produced in Mexico until 1971. Around 1973, all Brazilian Beetles (1300 and 1500 series) were updated with the 1968+ sheet metal, bumpers, and four-lug rims; although the five-stud rims and "bugeye" headlights were produced as late as 1972 (the base VW 1200 and 1300 manufactured in Brazil was similar to the 1964 European/U.S. 1200 until the 1970 model year but came with vented wheels since the mid-1960s). The 1971 and 1972 1200 and 1300s had the 1964-era taillights and headlights, fuel tank, but fitted with the 1968+ raised bumpers. Brazilian CKD kits (complete knock down) were shipped to Nigeria between 1975 and 1987 where Beetles were locally produced. The Brazilian-produced versions have been sold in neighboring South American nations bordering Brazil, including Argentina and Peru.

The Brazilian VW Bugs have four different sized engines: 1,200 cc, 1,300 cc, 1,500 cc, and, finally, 1,600 cc. In the 1970s, Volkswagen made the SP-2 (derived from the VW Beetle chassis and powertrain) that used an air-cooled 1,700 cc VW engine that was a regular 1,600 cc engine with its engine displacement increased by the use of large diameter cylinders. In Brazil, the VW Bug never received electronic fuel injection, instead retaining single or double-single carburetion throughout its entire life, although the carburetion specs differs from engines of different years and specs.

The production of the air-cooled engine finally ended in 2006, after more than 60 years. It was last used in the Brazilian version of the VW Bus, called the "Kombi", and was replaced by a 1.4 L water-cooled engine with a front-mounted cooling system.

Southern Rhodesia

The Volkswagen Type 1 chassis was used as the basis for an mine-protected APC
Armoured personnel carrier
An armoured personnel carrier is an armoured fighting vehicle designed to transport infantry to the battlefield.APCs are usually armed with only a machine gun although variants carry recoilless rifles, anti-tank guided missiles , or mortars...

 called the Leopard security vehicle
Leopard security vehicle
The Leopard Security Vehicle is an unusual land-mine protected APC used by the Rhodesian Government and civilian population during the Rhodesian Bush War...

 and the Pookie
Pookie (vehicle)
The Pookie mine detection vehicle was created to deal with the constant mining of the roadways during the Rhodesian Bush War. According to , manufacturer of the Pookie:...

 demining vehicle, fielded by the Republic of Rhodesia during the Rhodesian Bush War
Rhodesian Bush War
The Rhodesian Bush War – also known as the Second Chimurenga or the Zimbabwe War of Liberation – was a civil war which took place between July 1964 and December 1979 in the unrecognised country of Rhodesia...

.

Mexico

Mexican production began in 1955 because of agreements with companies such as Chrysler
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

 in Mexico and Studebaker-Packard Company which assembled cars imported in CKD form. In 1964, they began to be locally produced. These models have the larger windshield, rear window, door and quarter glass starting in 1971; and the rear window from 1965 to 1971 German built models was used on the Mexican models from 1972 to 1985, when it was replaced with the larger rear window used on 1972 and later German built Beetles. This version, after the mid-1970s, saw little change with the incorporation of electronic ignition in 1988, an anti-theft alarm system in 1990, a catalytic converter
Catalytic converter
A catalytic converter is a device used to convert toxic exhaust emissions from an internal combustion engine into non-toxic substances. Inside a catalytic converter, a catalyst stimulates a chemical reaction in which noxious byproducts of combustion are converted to less toxic substances by dint...

 in 1991 (as required by law), as well as electronic Digifant fuel injection
Fuel injection
Fuel injection is a system for admitting fuel into an internal combustion engine. It has become the primary fuel delivery system used in automotive petrol engines, having almost completely replaced carburetors in the late 1980s....

, hydraulic valve lifters, and a spin-on oil filter in 1993. The front turn signals were located in the bumper instead of the Beetle's traditional placement on top of the front fenders from the 1977 model year on, as they had been on German Beetles sold in Europe of the same time period. Starting in 1995, the Mexican Beetle included front disc brakes, an alternator instead of a generator, and front automatic seat belts. Starting with the 1996 model, the chrome moldings disappeared leaving body colored bumpers and black moldings instead. By the end of the 1996 model year, exterior chrome or matt moldings were dropped altogether and for model year 1997 Volkswagen de Mexico (VWdM) dropped the Sedan's flow-through ventilation system with all its fittings, notably the exterior crescent-shaped vents behind the rear side windows.

In mid-1996, front drum brakes and fixed front seat belts were re-launched in a new budget version called the "Volkswagen Sedán City", which was sold alongside the upscale version "Volkswagen Sedán Clásico" which had front disc brakes, automatic seat belts, right side mirror, velour upholstery, optional metallic colors and wheel covers in matte finish (also found on some 1980s Beetles and Buses). These two versions were sold until 1998. From late 1998–2003, The Sedán Clásico was discontinued and the Sedán City lost its prefix and gained disc brakes, automatic seat belts and optional metallic colors. This last version was named the "Volkswagen Sedán Unificado" or simply the "Volkswagen Sedán".
Independent importers continued to supply several major countries, including Germany, France, and the UK until the end of production in 2003. Devoted fans of the car even discovered a way to circumvent US safety regulations by placing more recently manufactured Mexican Beetles on the floorpan
Floorpan
The floorpan is a large sheet metal stamping that often incorporates several smaller welded stampings to form the floor of a large vehicle and the position of its external and structural panels....

s of earlier, US-registered cars. The Mexican Beetle (along with its Brazilian counterpart) was on the US DOT's (Department of Transportation) hot list of grey market
Grey market
A grey market or gray market also known as parallel market is the trade of a commodity through distribution channels which, while legal, are unofficial, unauthorized, or unintended by the original manufacturer...

 imports after 1978 as the vehicle did not meet safety regulations.

In the Southwest US (Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

, California, New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, Texas), Mexican Beetles (and some Brazilian T2c Transporters) are a fairly common sight since Mexican nationals can legally operate the vehicle in the United States, provided the cars remain registered in Mexico.

The end of production in Mexico can be attributed primarily to Mexican political measures: the Beetles no longer met emissions standards for Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, in which the ubiquitous Beetles were used as taxicabs; and the government outlawed their use as taxicabs because of rising crime rates, requiring only four-door vehicles be used. In addition, Volkswagen (now Germany's largest automaker) has been attempting to cultivate a more upscale, premium brand image, and the humble Beetle clashed with this identity, as seen in the Touareg
Volkswagen Touareg
The Volkswagen Touareg is a mid-size crossover SUV produced by German automaker Volkswagen since 2002. The vehicle was named after the Tuareg people, a Berber-speaking group in North Africa...

 and Passat
Volkswagen Passat
The Volkswagen Passat is a large family car marketed by Volkswagen Passenger Cars through six design generations since 1973. Between the Volkswagen Golf / Volkswagen Jetta and the Volkswagen Phaeton in the current Volkswagen line-up, the Passat and its derivatives have been badged variously as...

 luxury vehicles. In the late 1990s consumers strongly preferred more modern cars such as the Mexican Chevy, the Nissan Tsuru, and the Volkswagen Pointer and Lupo
Volkswagen Fox
The Volkswagen CrossFox is a mini SUV version which sets it apart from the standard Fox. As is the case for other similar models, it is available only with front-wheel drive....

.

Australia

Official importation of the Volkswagen Beetle into Australia began in 1953, with local assembly operations commencing the following year. Volkswagen Australia was formed in 1957, and by 1960 locally produced panels were being used for the first time. Australian content had reached almost 95% by 1967; however, declining sales saw the company revert to using imported components the following year. In 1976, Volkswagen ceased Australian assembly operations, their factory in Clayton, Victoria was sold to Nissan Australia (which is now occupied by Holden Special Vehicles
Holden Special Vehicles
Holden Special Vehicles is the officially designated performance vehicle partner of Australian automobile manufacturer Holden. Established in 1987 and based in Clayton, Victoria, the company modifies Holden models such as the Commodore, Caprice and Ute and markets them under the HSV brandname.-...

), and all Volkswagens were once again fully imported.

Beetle customization

The Beetle is popular with customizers
Custom car
A custom car is a passenger vehicle that has been modified in either of the following two ways. First, a custom car may be altered to improve its performance, often by altering or replacing the engine and transmission. Second, a custom car may be a personal "styling" statement, making the car look...

 throughout the world, not only because it is cheap and easy to work on, but because its iconic looks can be personalised and the flat-four motor is so tunable. Its very ubiquity makes even subtle changes noticeable.

Exterior

Customized Beetle styles include the Rat rod
Rat rod
A rat rod is a style of hot rod or custom car that, in most cases, imitates the early hot rods of the 40s, 50s, and 60s. It is not to be confused with the somewhat closely related "traditional" hot rod, which is an accurate re-creation or period-correct restoration of a hot rod from the same...

 and Cal Look
Cal Look
A Cal looker is any aircooled Volkswagen that has been modified in a style that originated in California in the late 1960s.- Common modifications:...

 which evolved during its lifespan. Customisation includes lowering the car's suspension, altering the wheels, removing or replacing the bumpers, as with pushbar. The stock bumpers are usually chromed or polished, sometimes painted or powder coated. Clubs dedicated to 'Cal Look' occur worldwide.
Customizing may also include smoothing or shaving the body (removing trim and other parts, including door handles, badges and driprails), frenching or tunnelling the headlights, lowering, custom hood and trunk hinging, chopping the top, and replacing taillights and front indicators with smaller, simpler units.

Interior

Many owners try to keep their Beetle interiors stock. Others will fit a sound system
Sound reinforcement system
A sound reinforcement system is the combination of microphones, signal processors, amplifiers, and loudspeakers that makes live or pre-recorded sounds louder and may also distribute those sounds to a larger or more distant audience...

, which usually consists of a head unit
Head unit
A head unit, sometimes referred to as a "deck", is a component of a stereo system either in a vehicle or home cinema system which provides a unified hardware interface for the various components of an electronic media system. An antiquated name for a head unit is a receiver; this article focuses...

 and possibly some speakers and a subwoofer
Subwoofer
A subwoofer is a woofer, or a complete loudspeaker, which is dedicated to the reproduction of low-pitched audio frequencies known as the "bass". The typical frequency range for a subwoofer is about 20–200 Hz for consumer products, below 100 Hz for professional live sound, and below...

 (usually mounted in the front of the car). Aftermarket steering wheels can be added along with auxiliary gauges. For a true race look, the interior can be stripped and a full roll cage
Roll cage
A roll cage is a specially constructed frame built in the cab of a vehicle to protect its occupants from being injured in an accident, particularly in the event of a roll-over. Roll cages are used in nearly all purpose-built racecars, and in most cars modified for racing...

 installed, along with bucket seats and race harnesses although bucket seating is already the default seating for a Beetle.

The VW Type 1 pan, being easily separated from its original body without removal of engine, transmission, or suspension, has provided the basis for countless custom re-bodyings, usually of fiberglass and usually replicating other, less humble vehicles. Mercedes, MG, and Porsche replicas are among the popular choices. The more successful being the Sterling sports car in the 1970s Fiberglass body kits with its all original body styling. These "kit cars", although derided by many for their lack of authenticity, provide to their owners a much cheaper, often more-reliable means of enjoying a dream vehicle.

Power

Because most parts of the flat-four engine other than the crankcase are bolted on, they are easily exchanged with larger or more high-performance items. The standard VW engine has been modified from 1600 cc (the largest factory-produced Type 1 engine) to configurations well over 2,400 cc using larger piston/cylinder kits and/or long-stroke crankshafts. Various performance-enhancing parts, from cylinder head
Cylinder head
In an internal combustion engine, the cylinder head sits above the cylinders on top of the cylinder block. It closes in the top of the cylinder, forming the combustion chamber. This joint is sealed by a head gasket...

s to supercharger
Supercharger
A supercharger is an air compressor used for forced induction of an internal combustion engine.The greater mass flow-rate provides more oxygen to support combustion than would be available in a naturally aspirated engine, which allows more fuel to be burned and more work to be done per cycle,...

s (such as that offered by Judson for the Type 1 as early as 1952) to turbocharger
Turbocharger
A turbocharger, or turbo , from the Greek "τύρβη" is a centrifugal compressor powered by a turbine that is driven by an engine's exhaust gases. Its benefit lies with the compressor increasing the mass of air entering the engine , thereby resulting in greater performance...

s, are available. A variety of other powerplants, including the VW Type 4 (also used in the Porsche 914
Porsche 914
The Porsche 914 or VW-Porsche 914 is a mid-engined, targa-topped two-seat roadster designed, manufactured and marketed collaboratively by Volkswagen and Porsche from 1969 to 1976.- Development :...

) 2 L flat four, Chevy Corvair and Porsche 911
Porsche 911
The Porsche 911 is a luxury 2-door sports coupe made by Porsche AG of Stuttgart, Germany. It has a distinctive design, rear-engined and with independent rear suspension, an evolution of the swing axle on the Porsche 356. The engine was also air-cooled until the introduction of the Type 996 in 1998...

 flat sixes have been used; some hot rod
Hot rod
Hot rods are typically American cars with large engines modified for linear speed. The origin of the term "hot rod" is unclear. One explanation is that the term is a contraction of "hot roadster," meaning a roadster that was modified for speed. Another possible origin includes modifications to or...

ders even occasionally fitted Chevy V8s. Turbocharged flat-four engines from Subaru
Subaru
; is the automobile manufacturing division of Japanese transportation conglomerate Fuji Heavy Industries .Subaru is internationally known for their use of the boxer engine layout popularized in cars by the Volkswagen Beetle and Porsche 911, in most of their vehicles above 1500 cc as well as...

 or Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A. is an Italian manufacturer of cars. Founded as A.L.F.A. on June 24, 1910, in Milan, the company has been involved in car racing since 1911, and has a reputation for building expensive sports cars...

 have been used as well. Kits for installing Rover V8 engine
Rover V8 engine
The Rover V8 engine is a compact V8 internal combustion engine with aluminium cylinder heads and cylinder block, originally designed by General Motors and later re-designed and produced by Rover in the United Kingdom...

s have also been available. These variants tend to be mated to the stronger Type 2 (Bus, Combi) transmission. Dual carb setups are very common on Beetles (especially the 1600 cc dual port engine) as well as EFI
Fuel injection
Fuel injection is a system for admitting fuel into an internal combustion engine. It has become the primary fuel delivery system used in automotive petrol engines, having almost completely replaced carburetors in the late 1980s....

. Also a wide range of exhaust systems are available. Four-into-one headers
Exhaust manifold
In automotive engineering, an exhaust manifold collects the exhaust gases from multiple cylinders into one pipe. The word manifold comes from the Old English word manigfeald and refers to the folding together of multiple inputs and outputs.In contrast, an inlet manifold is the part of an engine...

 are very popular, and are often used with a stinger, glasspack
Glasspack
A glasspack, sometimes called Cherrybomb is a type of automobile muffler in which the exhaust gas passes straight through the center of the muffler. Packed fibreglass surrounds the exhaust channel and absorbs some of the high-frequency sound.All mufflers impede the flow of exhaust gas and create...

, or more modern "quiet pack" mufflers.

Drag racing

The Beetle is widely used in drag racing
Drag racing
Drag racing is a competition in which specially prepared automobiles or motorcycles compete two at a time to be the first to cross a set finish line, from a standing start, in a straight line, over a measured distance, most commonly a ¼-mile straight track....

; its rearward (RR layout
RR layout
In automotive design, a RR, or Rear-engine, Rear-wheel drive layout places both the engine and drive wheels at the rear of the vehicle. In contrast to the RMR layout, the center of mass of the engine is between the rear axle and the rear bumper....

) weight distribution keeps the weight over the rear wheels, maximizing grip off the starting line. The car's weight is reduced for a full competition drag Beetle, further improving the grip and also the power-to-weight ratio. Combined with the Beetle's RR layout, wheelie
Wheelie
In vehicle acrobatics, a wheelie is a vehicle maneuver in which the front wheel or wheels come off the ground due to extreme torque being applied to the rear wheel or wheels. Wheelies are usually associated with bicycles and motorcycles, but can be done with other vehicles such as cars, especially...

s can be achieved easily, but time "in the air" worsens 1/4 mile time. To prevent this, "wheelie bars" are added.

Formula Vee

The Beetle is also used as the basis for the Formula Vee
Formula Vee
Formula Vee is a popular open wheel, single seater junior motor racing formula, with relatively low costs in comparison to Formula Ford or Formula BMW....

 open-wheel racing category – specifically, the front suspension crossmember assembly (the shock absorber
Shock absorber
A shock absorber is a mechanical device designed to smooth out or damp shock impulse, and dissipate kinetic energy. It is a type of dashpot.-Nomenclature:...

 mounts are sometimes removed, depending on regulations in the class), and the engine and transaxle
Transaxle
In the automotive field, a transaxle is a major mechanical component that combines the functionality of the transmission, the differential, and associated components of the driven axle into one integrated assembly....

 assembly (usually the earlier swing-axle type, not the later double-jointed axle).
In original 1,200 cc Formula Vee spec, upgrades to the cars would only be allowed sparsely, so that the wheels, tyres and engines didn't differ very much from the original Beetle. At the end of the 1960s, Vee Beetle engine output on a single carburetor would reach up to 70 BHP; top speeds would gradually rise to nearly 200 kilometre per hour. In this configuration, FV would become one of the most popular entry-level motorsports classes of its time.

Later on, double carbs and more extensive modification would be allowed, leading to the more powerful Super Vee class featuring wings for downforce and 123 bhp engines, which in the end had fairly little in common with the original VW Bug. Around 2000, worldwide Vee racing had re-established itself as a 1,200/1,300 cc beginner class with wingless cars and VW engines outputting about 60 bhp, but incorporating more modern chassis and tyres.

Uniroyal Fun Cup

Volkswagen Beetle-style bodies are fitted to space frame racing chassis, and are used in the Uniroyal Fun Cup, which includes the longest continuous motor-race in the world, the 25 Hours of Spa. It is an affordable entry-level series that gentleman drivers race.

Rally and Rallycross

Especially the Austrian sole distributor Porsche Salzburg (now Porsche Austria) seriously entered the Volkswagen in local and European contests in the 1960s and early 1970s. Starting with the VW 1500, in the mid 1960s the peak of their racing performance was achieved with the VW 1302S and VW 1303S (known as the Salzburg Rally Beetle) from 1971 to 1973. The vehicles were entered in such famous races as TAP (Portugal), Austrian Alpine, Elba, Acropolis etc. Drivers were top performers such as Tony Fall
Tony Fall
Richard Anthony Fall was a British rally driver. He was born in Bradford. He began his rallying career as a club rally driver in a Mini. He was considerably better than his peers, however, and was soon spotted by the BMC team; this led to a drive in their works team alongside Paddy Hopkirk, Timo...

 (GB), Guenter Janger (AUT), Harry Källström
Harry Källström
Harry "Sputnik" Källström was a Swedish professional rally driver who debuted in 1957 and competed in the World Rally Championship in the 1970s. Prior to the forming of the WRC, Källström won the RAC Rally in a Lancia Fulvia 1.6 Coupé HF in 1969 and 1970...

 (S), Achim Warmbold
Achim Warmbold
Achim Warmbold is a German former rally driver. He won the West German Rally Championship in 1971 and 1980, and scored two outright victories during the inaugural World Rally Championship season in 1973 at the Rally of Poland and Austrian Alpine Rally events.Aside from his first WRC race, his...

 (D), Franz Wurz (A), etc. The engines were highly modified 1600's delivering 125 hp, later on mated to a Porsche 914 five-speed manual gearbox. Victories were achieved in 1973 on Elba for overall and class, Acropolis for class (5th overall), Austrian championship 1972, 1973 January Rallye for overall and class. Rally of 1000 minutes for overall 2nd (1st in class).

The fuel crisis, along with the arrival of the Volkswagen Golf
Volkswagen Golf
The Volkswagen Golf is a small family car manufactured by Volkswagen since 1974 and marketed worldwide across six generations, in various body configurations and under various nameplates – as the Volkswagen Rabbit in the United States and Canada , and as the Volkswagen Caribe in Mexico .The...

 (Rabbit), put an end to the unofficially by Volkswagen supported rally days in 1974. All vehicles either used for training or actual racing were sold off to privateers, and keep racing with noticeable results until the early 1980s.

Trans Am Series

Beetles were used in The Trans-Am Series
Trans-Am Series
The Trans-Am Series is an automobile racing series which was created in 1966 by Sports Car Club of America President John Bishop. Originally known as the Trans-American Sedan Championship it has evolved over time from its original format as a manufacturers championship for modified racing sedans...

 for the two liter class from 1966 to 1967 and again in 1972.

Baja 1000

The Baja 1000
Baja 1000
SCORE Baja 1000 is an off-road race that takes place on Mexico's Baja California Peninsula in November. The Baja 1000 is part of the SCORE Championship Desert Racing Series that include the Baja 500, San Felipe 250 and the new San Felipe Challenge of Champions in place of the Primm 300 which had...

 off-road race
Off-road racing
Off-road racing is a format of racing where various classes of specially modified vehicles compete in races through off-road environments.-North America:...

 in the Baja California Peninsula
Baja California Peninsula
The Baja California peninsula , is a peninsula in northwestern Mexico. Its land mass separates the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California. The Peninsula extends from Mexicali, Baja California in the north to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur in the south.The total area of the Baja California...

, Mexico includes specific vehicle classes for both standard Beetles and Baja Bug
Baja Bug
The term Baja Bug generally refers to an original Volkswagen Beetle modified to operate off-road , although other versions of air-cooled Volkswagens are sometimes modified as well.-History:...

s. These can be seen in the documentary movie Dust to Glory
Dust to Glory
Dust to Glory is a documentary about the famous Baja 1000 off-road race. Filming occurred throughout the 2003 event. The film is directed by Dana Brown of Step Into Liquid fame. The film was edited in Adobe Premiere Pro. The film score was by Nathan Furst.-Cast:Mario Andretti, Sal Fish, Jimmy...

.

The classes are as follows :
  • Class 5: Unlimited Baja Bugs
  • Class 5-1600: 1,600 cc Baja Bugs
  • Class 11: Stock VW Sedans

Beetle Challenge

The Beetle Challenge is a UK-based circuit racing championship for classic aircooled Volkswagen Beetles. The general concept is to take any Beetle, of any age or model from the 40s through to 1303s, and with minimal restrictions, allowing parts from various years to be interchanged, and of course the cars being prepared to the MSA safety requirements (cage, restraints, fire system etc.) Essentially the cars must be aircooled Beetles (any age and parts can be swapped between years and models), with a 15-inch x 6-inch max wheel size with a control tyre. Engines must be based on a Type 1 engine case, with no electronic fuel injection or ignition and no forced induction, with an unlimited capacity. Other regulations apply.

In popular culture

Like its contemporaries, the Mini
Mini
The Mini is a small car that was made by the British Motor Corporation and its successors from 1959 until 2000. The original is considered a British icon of the 1960s, and its space-saving front-wheel-drive layout influenced a generation of car-makers...

, the Citroën 2CV
Citroën 2CV
The Citroën 2CV |tax horsepower]]”) was an economy car produced by the French automaker Citroën between 1948 and 1990. It was technologically advanced and innovative, but with uncompromisingly utilitarian unconventional looks, and deceptively simple Bauhaus inspired bodywork, that belied the sheer...

, and the Fiat 500
Fiat 500
The Fiat 500 is a car produced by the Fiat company of Italy between 1957 and 1975, with limited production of the Fiat 500 K estate continuing until 1977. The car was designed by Dante Giacosa....

, the Beetle has long outlasted predictions of its lifespan. It has been regarded as something of a "cult" car since its 1960s association with the hippie
Hippie
The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's...

 movement and surf culture
Surf culture
Surf culture includes the people, language, fashion and life surrounding the art of surfing.The culture began early in the 20th century, spread quickly during the 1950s and 1960s, and continues to evolve. It affected fashion, music, literature, films, jargon, and more...

; and the obvious attributes of its unique and quirky design. (For example, the Beetle could float on water thanks to its sealed floor pans and overall tight construction, as shown in the 1972 Volkswagen commercial).

In the United States, Volkswagen enthusiasts frequent large Volkswagen-themed car shows, especially in the summer months. Many of these shows feature camping, a car show called a "show 'n' shine", drag racing
Drag racing
Drag racing is a competition in which specially prepared automobiles or motorcycles compete two at a time to be the first to cross a set finish line, from a standing start, in a straight line, over a measured distance, most commonly a ¼-mile straight track....

, parts swap meet, raffles, burnout contests, and other events. Die-hard and loyal "VW-heads" or "Dubbers" attend these shows regularly, often traveling 500 miles (804.7 km) or more (even abroad) to attend their favorite event.

Much like their Type 2
Volkswagen Type 2
The Volkswagen Type 2, officially known as the Transporter or Kombi informally as Bus or Camper , was a panel van introduced in 1950 by German automaker Volkswagen as its second car model – following and initially deriving from Volkswagen's first model, the Type 1 , it was given the factory...

 counterparts, Beetles were psychedelically painted and considered an ancestor
Ancestor
An ancestor is a parent or the parent of an ancestor ....

 of art cars. One of the logos used by the Houston Art Car Klub incorporated a Beetle with a cowboy hat. Texas artist Bob "Daddy-O" Wade
Bob "Daddy-O" Wade
Bob "Daddy-O" Wade is an artist in Austin, Texas who helped shape the 1970s Texas Cosmic Cowboy counterculture. A retrospective of his work was exhibited at the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture in the fall of 2009...

 transformed a Beetle into a New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints are a professional American football team based in New Orleans, Louisiana. They are members of the South Division of the National Football Conference of the National Football League ....

 helmet. Currently, there are a wide array of clubs that are concerned with the Beetle. The fans are quite diverse. Looks include the resto-look, Cal Look
Cal Look
A Cal looker is any aircooled Volkswagen that has been modified in a style that originated in California in the late 1960s.- Common modifications:...

, German-look, resto-Cal Look, buggies, Baja Bug
Baja Bug
The term Baja Bug generally refers to an original Volkswagen Beetle modified to operate off-road , although other versions of air-cooled Volkswagens are sometimes modified as well.-History:...

s, old school, Disney
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. Founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into...

's Herbie the Love Bug replicas
Herbie
Herbie is an anthropomorphic Volkswagen Beetle, a character that is featured in several Disney motion pictures starting with the 1968 feature film The Love Bug. He has a mind of his own and is capable of driving himself, and is a serious contender in auto racing competitions...

, ratlook, etc. Part of their cult status is attributed to being one of a few cars with an air-cooled, horizontally opposed engine
Flat engine
A flat engine is an internal combustion engine with multiple pistons that move in a horizontal plane. Typically, the layout has cylinders arranged in two banks on either side of a single crankshaft and is sometimes known as the boxer, or horizontally opposed engine. The concept was patented in 1896...

 design, and the consequent ease of repair and modification, as opposed to the more conventional and technically complex watercooled engine design. The original flat-four boxer design had fewer than 200 moving parts.

The Beetle has made numerous appearances in Hollywood films, most notably (Disney's
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures is an American film studio owned by The Walt Disney Company. Walt Disney Pictures and Television, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Studios and the main production company for live-action feature films within the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, based at the Walt Disney...

) The Love Bug
The Love Bug
The Love Bug is the first in a series of comedy films made by Walt Disney Productions that starred an anthropomorphic pearl-white, fabric-sunroofed 1963 Volkswagen racing Beetle named Herbie...

comedy series from 1968 to 2005, starring as "Herbie
Herbie
Herbie is an anthropomorphic Volkswagen Beetle, a character that is featured in several Disney motion pictures starting with the 1968 feature film The Love Bug. He has a mind of his own and is capable of driving himself, and is a serious contender in auto racing competitions...

", a pearl-white, fabric-sunroofed 1963 Beetle—racing number 53. In the plot of the 1973 Woody Allen
Woody Allen
Woody Allen is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author, and playwright. Allen's films draw heavily on literature, sexuality, philosophy, psychology, Jewish identity, and the history of cinema...

 film Sleeper
Sleeper (film)
Sleeper is a 1973 futuristic science fiction comedy film, written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman, and directed by Allen. The plot involves the adventures of the owner of a Greenwich Village, NY health food store played by Woody Allen who is cryogenically frozen in 1973 and defrosted 200...

, Allen's character was able to instantly start a Beetle which lay hidden and unused in a cave for 200 years, leading to the punchline "Wow, they really built these things, didn't they?". In the 1984 series The Transformers
The Transformers (TV series)
The Transformers is an animated television series depicting a war among giant robots who could transform into vehicles, other objects and animal-like forms. Written and recorded in America, the series was animated in Japan and South Korea...

, key Autobot character Bumblebee transformed into a Beetle, as well fellow Autobot Glyph and the Decepticon Bugbite. In Cars (2006)
Cars (film)
Cars is a 2006 American animated family film produced by Pixar and directed by John Lasseter and co-directed by Joe Ranft. It is the seventh Disney·Pixar feature film, and Pixar's final, independently-produced motion picture before its purchase by Disney...

, every bug or insect is represented by a VW Beetle. In Footloose (1984) Ren McCormick (Kevin Bacon
Kevin Bacon
Kevin Norwood Bacon is an American film and theater actor whose notable roles include Animal House, Diner, Footloose, Flatliners, Wild Things, A Few Good Men, JFK, Apollo 13, Mystic River, The Woodsman, Trapped, Friday the 13th, Hollow Man, Tremors, Death Sentence, Frost/Nixon, Crazy, Stupid, Love....

) drives a Beetle. In Dazed and Confused
Dazed and Confused
"Dazed and Confused" is a song by Jake Holmes, which was covered by The Yardbirds, and later reworked by Led Zeppelin who hold a separate copyright on the song.-Jake Holmes:...

(1993), a Beetle Cabrio and Beetle 1303s are featured. A yellow VW Beetle appears in the film Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird
Sesame Street presents Follow That Bird
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird is a 1985 American road film directed by Ken Kwapis, starring many Sesame Street characters . This was the first of two Sesame Street feature films, followed in 1999 by The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland...

.

See also

  • Baja bug
    Baja Bug
    The term Baja Bug generally refers to an original Volkswagen Beetle modified to operate off-road , although other versions of air-cooled Volkswagens are sometimes modified as well.-History:...

  • Cal Look
    Cal Look
    A Cal looker is any aircooled Volkswagen that has been modified in a style that originated in California in the late 1960s.- Common modifications:...

  • Beetle Restoration
    Beetle restoration
    The older models of the Volkswagen Beetle have in time become one of the more popular cars in some parts of the world to restore. The simplicity of design by today's standards will make working on restoring this car much easier for some than a modern car...

  • List of names for the Volkswagen Type 1
  • Punch buggy
    Punch buggy
    Punch buggy is a car game generally played by children in which participants punch each other in the arm upon first sight of a Volkswagen Beetle while calling out "Slug bug!" or "Punch buggy!" in reference to the Beetle's nickname, the Bug.- History :Most references about the game originate from...

  • Steyr 50
    Steyr 50
    The Steyr 50 is a small car released in 1936 by the Austrian automobile manufacturer Steyr. The streamlined body was approved by Director Karl Jenschke to be constructed in 1935, but in that same year Jenschke relocated to the German Adlerwerke in Frankfurt/Main.The car had a water-cooled...

     (The Austrian pre-WW2 'people's car')
  • Volksrod
  • Volkswagen 181
    Volkswagen 181
    The Volkswagen Type 181 "Kurierwagen", popularly known in the United Kingdom as the Trekker , in the United States as the Thing, and in Mexico as the Safari, was a small military vehicle produced by Volkswagen from 1969 to 1983, although civilian sales stopped in 1980...

  • Volkswagen Kübelwagen
    Volkswagen Kübelwagen
    The Volkswagen Kübelwagen was a military vehicle designed by Ferdinand Porsche and built by Volkswagen during World War II for use by the German military...

  • Volkswagen New Beetle
    Volkswagen New Beetle
    -Specifications:*Dimension:**Length: **Width: **Height: **Wheelbase: **Curb weight: *Max speed: 177–210 km/h *Acceleration : 6.5-13.2 sec-Body styles:-Engine choices:-Safety:...


Further reading

Nelson, Walter Henry, Small Wonder: The Amazing Story of the Volkswagen, Boston: Little, Brown, 1967.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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