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 2 Door 1964 Convertilbe Volkswagen Beetle Bug Black Vintage Classic Rare Vw No ReserveVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Like Herby The Love Bug 1967 Vw Bug From Santa Barbara California.........super Reserve..Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2dr Sedan 1970 Volkswagen Bug Sedan, 4-sp, 31,802 Original MilesVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Kabriolett Convertible 1958 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible - Fully Restored All Original Classic VwVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Oval Window 1956 Volkswagen Bug Classic Oval Window Restored Vintage Clean No Reserve!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door Hard Top 1969 Vw Bug Project Car Or PartsVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super 1971 Volkswagon Super BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Type 1 Oval Window 1954 Volkswagen Oval Window Body Off Concours Restoration Finest In CountryVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1972 Vw Beetle Convertible 4cyl 4 Speed Great Driver Must See Bug ConvVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Some Chrome 1968 68 Volkswagen Beetle Vw Rat Rod Hot Radical Chopped Top Custom One Of KindVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Cloth 1971 Vw Beetle Chopped TopVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2door 65 Vw Bug With SunroofVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Deluxe Sunroof 1958 Vw Ragtop Sunroof Beetle Matching Numbers Beautiful PatinaVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Some 1969 Bug Vw Beetle Volksrod Disc Brakes, Drop Spindles, Beam Extension, RedRetired Lego Vw Volkswagen Beetle Bug For Parts Gotta See #10187 Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1956 Vw Beetle California Rust / Accident Free OriginalVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Love Bug 1966 Vw Beetle Herbie Love Bug Tribute Classic Volkswagen Custom - VideoVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1967 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Yukon Gold Original PaintVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1973 Volkswagen Super BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1967 Volkswagen Beetle Baja Bug 1835 Super Clean Inside And Out Street LegalVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door Convertible 1979 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base Convertible 2-door 1.6lVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Original 1970 Vw Bug-completely Restored-you Will Not Find A Nicer '70 Bug!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard Restored 1968 Vw BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base 1.6lVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Karmann Ghia 1972 Volkswagen Super BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door Rag Top 1962 Vw Beetle Ragtop Pan Off Restoration Mint Condition. Everything RebuiltVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Champagne Ii Edition 1978 Classic Karmann Convertible Super BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Efi 1979 Volkswagen Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Deluxe Herbie The Love Bug 1963 Volkswagen Beetle Deluxe With Factory Sunroof SliderVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Stock Cool BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1978 Volkswagen Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1961 Beetle Convertible "show Bug"Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Deluxe 1966 Bahama Blue Volkswagen Bug SedanVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Pro Street 1963 Vw Bug Beetle 275 Drag Radial Street OutlawVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1974 Vw SuperbeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Stock 1978 Volkswagen Karmann EditionVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic None 1974 Volkswagen Super BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 63 Bug Featured In Hot VwAurora Afx Ho Slot Car Lot Vw Baja Bug State Police Dodge Charger Chevelle +++Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle Volkswagen Classic Beetle 1972 SuperVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Sun Bug 1974 Super Beetle ConvertibleNos Vintage Sinko Royal Coronet Bi Flector Wind Bug Deflector Hood Mount In BoxLego Volkswagen Beetle (10187)Nice Vw Beetle Graphic 1970s Vintage Champion Spark Plug Old Gas Station SignVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Ragtop Rare Vw 1962 Rag TopVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1958 Volkswagon BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle Turbo 2000 Volkswagen Beetle Glx Hatchback 2-door 1.8lVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door Clean Driver - No ProblemsAurora Slot Car #1404 Nos Vw Beetle Red!!!!!!!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Love Bug Edition 1974 Vw BeetleScalextric Vw Beetle #34 Monte Carlo Challenge C3412 Mb DprVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door "rare" 1972 Vw Super Beetle, European "grey" Model, Automatic-stick, Garage FindVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door, Convertible 1977 Triple White Vw Bug Convertible "herbies Topless Sister"Vtg. Vw Volkswagen Circular Front Chrome Emblem~9 3/4in Diameter~ Bus BugCustom High Quality Vw Volkswagen Beetle Wolfsburg Crest Gear Shift Shifter KnobVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Tan Leather Classic Yellow Volkswagen Beetle Convertible ! Low Miles , Everything Works :)Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base Sedan 2-door 1.6lVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Original 1969 Volkswagen BeetleScalextric Conversion Old Type Herbie 53 Vw Beetle MintDave Matthews Band Poster 2014 Berkeley, Ca Greek Methane N3 Vw Bug 8/24/14