The Volkswagen Type 1, which became known to millions as the Beetle, was based on a 1930s design by Hans Ledwinka, who worked for the Czechoslovakian carmaker Tatra. Ledwinka’s teardrop Tatra had a pancake, air-cooled, four-cylinder engine, just like the first KdF Wagen designed by Ferdinand Porsche for Adolf Hitler in 1938. It even had split rear windows like the Tatra. In fact, there were so many similarities that after World War II, Germany settled a patent-infringement lawsuit Tatra had filed in the 1930s before Czechoslovakia was invaded and occupied.

Few Beetles were produced during the war, but in 1945, the bombed-out Volkswagen manufacturing plant in Wolfsburg was put back into production by a British Major named Ivan Hirst. The idea was to get the German economy going again, and while the Beetle was not seen as a commercial threat by the likes of Henry Ford II, it would eventually sell more than 21 units worldwide, beating the Ford Model T by some 6 million vehicles.

One way to track the evolution of the Beetle is to follow the design of its rear windows. Split windows were produced from 1938 until 1952. In 1953, these were replaced by a single oval window, which itself was redesigned in 1958 as a round-cornered rectangle (although the shape is usually described by VW collectors as “square”). The other early Beetle landmark is the Cabriolet, a convertible designed by the German firm Karmann. While Beetles were produced until 2003, Carbiolets were discontinued in 1980.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Hemmings Auto Blogs

Hemmings Auto Blogs

This great (and frequently updated) blog from the folks at Hemmings Motor News is a visual feast of old and new pho… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

Volkswagen: Beetle - Classic Rag Top Coupe 1963 Vw Beetle Rag Top CoupeVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic 2-door Sedan 1966 Volkswagen Beetle SedanVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Oval Window Bug 1957 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic 1971 Vw Volkswagen Dune BuggyVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Classic 1961 Volkswagen Beetle Coupe 1200 Cc Horizontally Opposed Air Cooled FourVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic 1200 1955 Vw Beetle Ragtop No ReserveVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Convertible 1969 Volkswagen Convertible Resto Mod VwVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Convertible 1970 Classic Convertible Beetle Custom Bug Air Ride Free Shipping VwVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Beetle 1963 Good Running Classic Vw Volkswagen Bug Beetle Great Herbie Car Runs GoodVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Bug 1968 Vw Beetle Bug Custom Chop Top Built In The 80 S Cool Bug ProjectVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Bug 1967 Volkswagen Beetle With 72 K Original Miles Two Owners Pale Blue ExteriorVolkswagen: Other Bug 1967 Vw Fiberglass Body Dune BuggyVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Super Beetle Vw Bug Super Beetle Convertible 85k Miles W/ Svc Records To Prove It! Too Cute!Volkswagen: Beetle - Classic Beetle Oval Window 1956 Volkswagen Beetle Oval Window Nut And Bolt Restoration Correct EngineVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Base 1957 Volkswagen Beetle Oval Window Woodstock Paint Vw Bug No ReserveVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic 1969 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic 1963 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Std 1974 Voltswagen Beetle Convertible Classic KarmannVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Bug 1961 Vw Beetle Totally Restored 52 000 Mile CarVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic 1965 Vw Beetle Convertible Woodie Show Car Hot Vws Magazine Cover CarVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Convertible 1971 Vw Super Beetle Convertible Classic Frame Off RestorationVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Bug 1976 Vw Bug Psychobug Icp Psychopathic Twiztid Tech N 9 Ne Insane Clown Posse AbkVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Deluxe Convertible Vw Volkswagen Convertible 1979Volkswagen: Beetle - Classic 1966 Vw BeetleVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Beetle 1969 Volkswagen Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic 2 Dr Sedan Beautiful Restored One Of A Kind Custom 1959 Vw Beetle $3500 Stereo SystemVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic 1974 Vw BeetleVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic 1966 Volkswagen BeetleMatchbox Lesney Vintage Superfast Vw Volkswagen Camper Van Beetle 1600 TlVolkswagen: Other 1967 Vw Bug Roadster Convertible Dune Buggy Gt Bradley CustomVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic 1969 Vw Standard Beetle 1600 Dual Port Rust FreeVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Base Convertible 2-door 1979 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base Convertible 2 Door 1.6 L ProjectVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Convertible 1979 Vw Super Beetle Triple White Convertible 6041 Mile Survivor Low ReserveVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Gulf Bug Restored And Runs Excellents Super Cool And Fun Car To Drive With Surf BoardVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Karmann Volkswagon BeetleVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Modified 1970 Vw BeetleVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Beetle Bug 1970 Volkswagen Beetle 44 K Miles 1 Family Owned California Car Lo ReserveVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Blue Volkswagen Bug 69 Baja BodyVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic 1974 Convertible Super Beetle Mild Custom No ReserveVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic 1969 Volkswagen BugVintage 1984 Kenner Ghostbusters Vehicle Lot Ecto-1 Ghost Copter Vw Bug Scooter Vintage 1960's Toys Neat 1968 Vw Custom Volkswagon Bug Redline Hot WheelsAurora Model Motoring Volkswagen Beetle Ho Slot Car MibVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Convertible 1979 Volkswagen Super Beetle Convertible 1 Family Owned W 4 156 Document MilesVintage 70's Vw Dung Beetle Deals Wheels Rat Fink Custom Model Car Toy Lot Wiking Germany Vintage 1950's Vw Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Ho Scale Nmint 2000 Mattel Barbie Baby Blue Volkswagen Beetle Car - VgcVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic 1966 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic 2 Door Special Edition Triple White Volkswagen Beetle Classic Super Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Super Beetle Super BeetleVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic 1965 Vw Bug Very Original Low Miles Made In Italy Original Formuling Volkswagen Vw Steering Wheel 14 Inch NiceM2 Chase 1954 Vw Beetle Deluxe Usa ModelMatchbox Superfast 15 Volkswagen 1500 Saloon Bug Beetle J-6 Japan IssueVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Recently Serviced! 1970 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Ready To Be Driven And EnjoyedVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic 1969 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Convertible 1970 Classic Bug Convertible Yukon YellowLego 10187 1960 Volkswagen Charlotte Vw Beetle Bug Retired Rare Volkswagen: Beetle - Classic 1977 Super Beetle Convertible Triple White California CarVolkswagen: Beetle - Classic Good 1972 Volkswagon Beetle Convertible