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 Sedan 1962 Vw Beetle RagtopVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle Bug 1957 Volkswagen Beetle Deluxe 11 Aaca National Champion Vw Auto Museum CertifiedVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle - Sedan 1965 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan Daily DriverVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door Coupe 1957 Beetle TurboVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 4 Door Standard Bug 1966 Vw Bug In Excellent ShapeVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1972 Volkswagon BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1962 Volkswagen Beetle Financing ShippingVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible Volkswagen Vw Beetle Bug Type 1 ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1,300cc Engine! 1966 Volkswagen Beetle Coupe 1300 Cc 12 V Exceptionally Clean Drives 100Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Dr 1956 Vw Beetle Oval Window With SemaphoresVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Bug 1966 Cal Look BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1967 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1957 Volkswagon Beetle Body Off Pan Nicest 57 In Country Ready To GoVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1977 Vw Super Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door 1976 Volkswagon Beetle With Carburated EngineVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door Coupe 1974 Vw Super Beetle Classic 37915 Miles 4 SpeedVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Chrome Besutiful 1958 BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Stock 1978 Volkswagen Karmann EditionVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle Original 1979 Vw Convertible Barn Find 649 Original Miles!!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Karmann 1973 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Karmann Collectors CarVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic X 1966 Vw Bettle BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base Sedan 2-door 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle 1600 CcVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1200 1964 Volkswagen Beetle Vw All OriginalVw Beetle Swamp CoolerVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Clean 1969 Vw Beetle ClassicVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard 74 Super Beetle Baja ProjectVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Gls Convertible 2-door 2005 Volkswagen Beetle Gls Convertible 2 Door 1.8 L No Reserve No ReserveVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Two Door 1956 Oval RagtopVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard 1976 Volkswagen Beetle ClassicVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 79 Super BeeteVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1966 Vw Beetle Baja BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1974 Tan Beetle4 Promo Models 1955 Vw Bug + 1966 Cadillac, 1963 Buick Wagon, Ford Wagon UhdatedVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convert 1966 Vw ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Deluxe 1966 Volkswagen Beetle Deluxe With Freeway Engine And SunroofVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Chrome Classic Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Coupe 2 Door 1974 Vw Classic Beetle Standard Shows 128000 MilesVintage Amt Pyro 1:25 Junkyard Built Kit Lot Volkswagen Beetle Rabbit SciroccoVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Efi 1979 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible1/18 Vw Beetle Herbie Fully Loaded #53 Film Car Rare Classic Model Cod2020Rare Vw Porsche Wester Motors License Plate Frame Bug Bus Kombi Empi Monterey CaVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1979 Vw Bug Amazing Condition Beautiful Runs And Looks AwesomePorsche 356 A B C Hazet Wrench 7 Wrench Toolkit Tool Bag Toolbag Vw Beetle Old Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Custom 1973 Vw Beetle Convertible 454 Chevelle Running GearVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1969 Volkswagen Convertible BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Bee Restore The Class To This Collectable Vision !!!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic ... 1964 Volkswagen Beetle Baja BugVintage Vw Ts-110 Bug Beetle Volkswagen Metal Pedal CarVw Volkswagen Split Oval Bug Beetle Porsche 356 Transporter Turn Signal Switch2014 7th Mexico Convention Black With Flames Volkswagen Vw Beetle Bug #19/20!1956 To 61 Vw Bug Snowflake Tail Lights Hassia Not Hella Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Superbeetle 1978 Dark Cherry Vw Superbeetle Karmann ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super 1972 BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1600 Dual Port 1964 Volkswagen Beetle Older Restoration Great Daily Driver Vw BugLego Vw Beetle (rare)Vintage 50s Vw Volkswagen Split Oval Bug Beetle Bus Hood Script Badge Emblem Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Crome 73 Super Beetle ConvertibleVintage Vw Bug Deck Lid RackSuperfast No43 Vw Beetle Dragon Wheels In Lighter Matt Green & 5 Spoke F WheelsVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Volkswagen Beetle Karman Convertible Beautiful, Fully Serviced, 58k Miles, Survivor, Drives Great! Beetle Convertible