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 Ragtop 1960 Vw Beetle | Ragtop In Excellent Condition.Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertable 1968 Vw Volkswagen Volkswagon Beetle Bug Convertable No Reserve OriginalVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door Coupe 1976 Vw Beetle No Reserve!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 1961 - Restored On A 1970 PanVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard 1963 Volkswagon BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Vw Beetle Classic Rare 1954 Volkswagen Beetle Rag Top Sun Roof With Oval WindowVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2door 65 Vw Bug With SunroofVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Bug 1967 Light Blue Restored Volkswagon BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Limited 1978 Convertible Super Beetle Limited Champagne Edition Ii Karmann Fuel InjectedVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle Bug 1957 Volkswagen Beetle Deluxe 11 Aaca National Champion Vw Auto Museum CertifiedVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1966 Volkswagen Beetle * … A BeautyReplica/kit Makes : Volkswagen Beetle "custom Corvette - Rare Dick Dean Shala Vette - Must See"Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door Coupe 1967 Vw BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1979 Volkswagen Beetle Bug Karmann Fi Convertible - Last Year - California CarVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1970 Volkswagen TurboVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2d Sedan Under 55k, Stk#232895, No Reserve 1967 Volkswagen Beetle 2d Sedan Under 55k, Car Donation - CaliforniaVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1969 Volkswagen Beetle Vw Bug SurvivorVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Baja 1973 Vw Baja BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1971 Volkswagon Super Beetle, Very Solid Body, RunsVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Deluxe 1962 Volkswagen Beetle, BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Daisy Wheels 2000 Volkswagen Beetle Gls Hatchback 2-door 2.0l "cute As A Bug"Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Custom One-of-a-kind Baja BugLego Volkswagen Beetle (10187)Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Crome Vw Volkswagen 1963 BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Karmann 1971 Volkswagen Beetle Karmann Convertible Iberian RedVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1967 VolkswagenVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 63 Bug Featured In Hot VwVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1972 Volkswagon Super BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1975 Volkswagen Super Beetle !!!!Vintage Hotwheels Redlines 1967 Custom Volkswagen Beetle Hot Pink Car ToyVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Vw Beetle Classic Rare 1954 Volkswagen Beetle Rag Top Sun Roof With Oval WindowVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Vw Bug 71 Baja Vw Bug Roll Cage!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1971 Volkswagon Beetle Sunroof RedVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Coupe 2 Door 1966 Vw BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Custom Bug 1963 (custom Vw Bug)Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Custom Full Custom 1972 Vw Superbeetle/ Bug. "one Of A Kind!!"Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super 1971 Volkswagon Super BeetleLego Denmark Vintage 1950's Vw Volkswagen 1200 Beetle Ho Scale Very Rare NmintLego Volkswagen BeetleSuperfast No11 Vw Beetle Flying Bug With Very Rare Silver Painted Base ! VhtfVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Sedan 1964-volkswagen-beetle/bug-mint Condition-super Clean-1776cc-orginal Rust FreeVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1972 Volkswagen Beetle ConvertibleVw Beetle Kombi Rat Original Dome Original Chrome Hubcaps X 498-10 Vw Beetle Door Panel Pair Left Right 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 Herbie The Love Bug. Johnny Lightning.1/18.diecast.63 Vw.herbie Car.make OfferSuperfast No11 Vw Beetle Flying Bug With Rarer Orange With Black Rm Base ! RareVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1967 Volkswagen Beetle Baja Bug 1835 Super Clean Inside And Out Street LegalVw Vintage Volkswagen Beetle Bug Car Dealer Promo Wiking * Box *1960'sRare Vintage Volkswagen Vw Classic Bus Bug Beetle Ghia Type 1 No ReserveVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard 1965 Vw Beetle Bug ClassicLego Volkswagen Vw Beetle Collector Set 10187 Rare 2008 Retired Very CoolVintage Volkswagen Beetle Headlight Assy Sb19 Hella Lot Of 4 No ReserveSuperfast No11 Vw Beetle Flying Bug In Rare Early Blister With Stunning ArtworkVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1972 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible White, Runs Excellent, Mechanically 100%Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Gls Hatchback 2-door Yellow 2002 Volkswagen Beetle Gls Auto Trans, Moonroof, Power Locks & WindowsVintage Blue Parts Box Volkswagen Electrical Fuse Bulb Set VwHot Wheels Limited Edition Vw Bug Jc Whitney Red Real Riders MomcVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Vw Alpine White/black Interior/ German Cloth Top! 1979 German Vw Karmann Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Custom 1974 Vw Superbeetle