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 1956 Oval Window Ragtop Beetle!!!just Redone....gorgeous!!!!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Bug Rat Rod 1971 V8 Volkswagen Bug Rat Rod Crossram ChoppedVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1960 Volkswagen Beetle RestoredVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Basic Classic VwVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 61' Ragtop Beetle! Rare Find! All Original! Have Records Neat Bug!Volkswagen : Type Iii Bus 1969 Vw Van Bus Type 3 Restored Super Beetle Motor Volkswagen Camper PatinaVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1972 Volkswagen Classic Super Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle Sunroof Original Solid Body Southern CarVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Tan 1997 Vw Beetle Fuel Effcnt Runs & Drives Great, 5 Spd, 4cyl Low Miles No ReserveReplica/kit Makes Cal Hobo Hobo Te Vw BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door Coupe 1967 Volkswagon Beetle ClassicVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1973 Vw Beetle Type ! Karmann Convertible Must See! In Time For Summer!!!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1962 Vw Beetle Convertible - Runs Great! Rare!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Sedan 1960 Vw Beetle. Very Solid Original BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Red 1970 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Champagne Edition Deluxe Model 1977 Vw Super Beetle Convertible Champagne EditionVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Deluxe 1965 Vw Beetle - Root Bier - Pan Off Full RestorationVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base Sedan 2-door 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base Sedan 2-door 1.6lVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Chrome 1955 Vw Oval Euro Beetle Bug In Good ConditionVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle Vintage 1973 Vw Beetle Super Clean & SolidVw Engine 1600 Aircooled Dune Buggy Sand Rail Beetle Trike Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible Volkswagon Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Bettle 1970 Vw BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Gls 2001 Volkswagen Beetle Gls Hatchback 2-door 2.0l No Reserve!!! Re-listed!!!Volkswagen Dune Buggy, Vw, Dune Buggy, Myers Manx Type , Super Beetle, Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door 1970 Volkswagen Beetle VwHot Wheels 1995 Treasure Hunt # 5 Of 12 Vw BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standad 1971 VolkswagonVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Vinyl 1974 Volkswagen Beetle In Good Condition!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1969 Volkswagen Beetle Base 1.5lVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertable 1978 Volkswagen Bug Convertable *** Runs, Drives, And Looks Great ***Dune Buggy / Sand Rail 1963 Vw Beetle Manx Style Classic Convertible Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Baja Monster Bug Beetle *** L@@k 1957 Vw Monster Bug Baja Bettle Ragtop Oval Window***ϻVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2-door 1960 Volkswagon Beetle - Classic 2 Door - Beetle BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Std 1973 Super Beetle, Good DriverVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1973 Volkswagon Beetle - ClassicVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle Bug 1974 Vw Volkswagwen Super Beetle Bug - No RustVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base Sedan 2-door 1.6lVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard 1968 Vw Bug 1500 4spd, 2nd Owners Since 1975, Clean Nice Driver, Great ConditionVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base Convertible 2-door 1978 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base Convertible 2-door 1.6lVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1973 Volkswagen Super BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 72 Vw Beetle Convertible - Same Owner For 35 Yrs - California Car - Nice DriverHazet Round Spare Tourist Tool Kit Box Case Vw Porsche Bug No ReserveM2 Machines Chase 1957 Vw Volkswagen Beetle Deluxe European Limited To 888 PcsVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2820 1973 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Gls Hatchback 2-door 2003 Volkswagen Beetle Gls Hatchback 2-door 2.0lVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Vw 1302 Superbeetle 1971 Volkswagen Superbeetle 1302Vw Beetle Kombi Dome Chrome Hubcaps Ratty Originals X 4Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Karman 1969 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible RestoredVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beettle 1975 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base Convertible 2-door 1.6lVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2-door Beetle 1974 Vw BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle Up For Sale 1973 Vw With No ReserveVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1977 Vw Volkswagen Merino Yellow Convertible Vinyl Black Top/ Interior 29879 Mi.98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 Vw Volkswagen Beetle Door Panels Left & Right A1Mattel Hot Wheels Redline 1967 Custom Volkswagen Bug, Nib NrfbVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle ConvertibleLego Toys Denmark Vw Volkswagen Beetle And Esso TankerVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic "bug" 1965 Vw Beetle, One Owner Az. "survivor", 1200cc, 4-speed, Runs Great, No Rust!Gene Berg Vw Bug, Buggy Race Shifter