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 Base 1957 Oval Window Vw BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1962 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle Bug Classic Vintage Nice CarVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Tan Vinyl - Correct 1967 Vw Beetle Excellent Restored ExampleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1973 Vw Beetle Bug Fresh Car DonationRare Tn Nomura Japan Tin Friction Vw Volkswagen Beetle KVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1967 Vw Beetle Barn FindVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle Manual 4 Cylinder No ReserveVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard 1977 Volkswagen Vw Standard Beetle Bug No Reserve Carbureted Runs Has TitleHot Wheels 1995 Treasure Hunt Series Vw Volkswagon Vw Bug 1 Of 10,000 #5 Of 12Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic 11a Standard, No Sunroof March 1952 Type 11a Standard Split-window Sedan. Fresh Restoration Og Stunning!Vw Beetle Oval Window Hella Pair Of Matching Snow Flake Tail Lights Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertable 1977 Beetle Vw 15 K Original Miles Garage KeptUnique Distler Germany Tin 1940s Vw Volkswagen Beetle KVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Vert Convertilbe, 1974 Super Beetle - Restored & NiceVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1973 Super Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic No 1967 Volkswagen Beetle Zenith Blue Originalcondition May Trade For H D SportsterVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic None 1974 Vw Super Beetle The Love BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Gls Convertible 2-door 2003 Volkswagen Beetle Gls Convertible 2 Door 2.0 LLego Set 10187 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1967 Vw Volkswagen BeetleUsed Tamiya 1/10 Rc Kit Dt-02 Chassis 2wd Vw Baja Bug Wargen Off Roader + EscVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base Coupe 2 Door Super Beetle Beautiful Black 1974 Vw Super Beetle - Classic CarVolkswagen : Other . 1969 Volkswagon Beetle Bug Volksrod Rat Rod Hot Rod No Reserve LookVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Superbeetle - Restored - 3k Miles Cute Restored California Car - 1971 Vw Superbeetle - 3k MilesVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1971 Volkswagen Beetle Classic Convertible Karmann Super BeetleVintage Body Kit For Tamiya Racing Buggy Sand Scorcher Bug Vw 1/10 Rare OriginalMattel Vintage Hot Wheels Redline Blister Bp *custom Volkswagen Vw Bug *gold*Nos Travel Tier Wood Roof Rack Accessory Vw Bus Station Wagon Wolkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Bug 1975 Survivor Vw Bug Volkswagen Beetle Classic With Original Paint No ReserveVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1978 Vw Super Beetle Karmann Convertible 1 Owner Incredible Condition ScottdaleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic No Trim 1974 Standard Vw Volkswagen Beetle Bug No Reserve Vintage Hot Wheels Redline Blister Bp *custom Volkswagen Beetle* Vw Bug* Blue! Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1966 Vw Beetle German Made Fresh Top End Rebuild 1600 Cc 4 Spd SunroofVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door 1966 Volkswagen Bug Runs And Drives GreatVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1964 Beetle GreenVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Sun Bug 1974 Volkswagen Beetle Sunbug Special Edition Sun Roof No ReserveVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Volkswagen Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base Reelable, Good Running, Daily DriverVw Bendix Am Radio Saphire I 1960's Volkswagen Beetle Bug Oem 6 Volt CleanVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle Convertible With 11k Original Miles! 1978 Completely All Stock Original California Owner Car With 11 K Orig MilesVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Herbie 1971 Vw Super Beetle Herbie Amazing Restoration 1600 Cc Dual Port Dealer AcVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base Sedan 2-door 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base Sedan 2 Door 1.6 LVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door 1969 Vw Beetle BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Tdi 2005 Volkswagen Beetle Gls Tdi Hatchback 2 Door 1.9 LVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Restore The Class To This Collectable Vision !!!Weber 44 Idf Carburetors Volkswagon 1 2 4 Porsche 914 Vw Bug Bus Aurora Ho Slot Car, Tjet €Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Classic 2004 Volkswagen Beetle Gls Convertible 2 Door 2.0 LVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Karmann Edition 1979 Vw Beetle Karmann EditionVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2-door 1967 Volkswagen Beetle European ModelVolkswagen Vanagon 6 Rib 091 Transaxle Transmission Bus Bug Sand Rail Corgi Toys No400 Volkswagen 1300 Beetle Motor School (with Cones) - Nrmint/boxedVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Stock 1970 Vw Bug80 - 82 Vw Volkswagen Vanagon 6 Rib 091 Transaxle Transmission Bus Bug Sand RailVolkswagen 1953 Vw Bug 1:64 2014 Sema Show M2 Exclusive With BonusVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beatle 1966 Volkswagon Beatle Black With Red InteriorHuge Lot Of Hot Wheels & Matchbox Vw Volkswagen Bug, Bus, Baja, Concept, Manx EtVintage 1967 Hot Wheels Redline Custom Volkswagen Toy Car + Badge Vw Beetle BugHazet Adjustable Spanner Wrench Bmw Vw Beetle Type 2 Camper Vintage Tool Kit