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    

1967 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic 1967 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic1966 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic 1966 Volkswagen Beetle1957 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Beetle Oval Window 1957 Volkswagen Beetle Oval Window, Beautifully Restored, 1600cc, Roof Rack,lookNo Reserve Hot Rod Dune Buggy Manx Style Sandrail Vw Bug Street Legal Rzr Utv 1956 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic 1956 Volkswagen Beetle1963 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic 1963 Volkswagen Bettle (german Built)1967 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic 1967 Volkswagen Bug Vw Beetle1976 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Sedan 1976 Vw Beetle1952 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Split Window 1952 Volkswagen Beetle Split Window1957 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Custom 1957 Vw Beetle Type 1 Custom1966 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Classic 1966 Classic Volkswagen Beetle Fully RestoredHot Wheels Redline Lot Of 12 Rare Cars *vw Bug*nomad*red Us Mustang*corvette 1963 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic 1963 Volkswagen Bug Ragtop In Central California1966 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Deluxe 1966 Vw Volkswagen Beetle Bug Type 1*1300*very Solid Car*look At All 24 Photos1964 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Beetle 1964 Volkswagen Beetle , Bug,baja,patina1972 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic 1972 Super Beetle1978 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Convertible-fuel Injected 1978 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Vw1979 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic 1979 Vw Beetle Convertible Karmann 3rd Owner1973 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic 1973 Volkswagen Beetle1969 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Beetle 1969 Volkswagen Beetle, Original Engine, Very Complete, Clear Title1979 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic 1979 Vw Classic Karmaan Convertible1973 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Base 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base 1.6l1956 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Oval Window Beetle 1956 Volkswagen Oval Window Beetle Custom 1600 Body Off Restored1971 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic 1967 (1971) Vw Bug1965 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Classic 1965 Vw Beetle, Rust Free Az Car, Classic, Retro, Patina, Hot Rat Rod, Antique1978 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Convertible 1978 Volkswagen Super Beetle Convertible "2 Owner Champagne Edition"Lego Volkswagen Beetle 10187, 1626 Pieces, Dark Blue, 100% CompleteVintage Japanese Bandai Tin Plate Battery Operated Volkswagen Beetle Sedan 1985 Revell Lightning Rods Vw Bug 1/25 Scale Model Kit Box Open 1956 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Type 1 Oval Window, Beautifully Restored! 1956 Volkswagen Type 1 Oval Window Beetle, California Black Plate Car!1979 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic 1979 Beetle ConvertibleBandai Tin Battery Operated 1964 Vw Type I Sunroof Bug 15" Excellent Condition1:64 Greenlight *street Outlaws* Green Machine Asian's Dung Beetle Vw Bug *nip*1974 Volkswagen Pro Touring 1974 Pro Touring Vw Bug1968 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Coupe 1968 Vw Beetle ClassicHot Wheels Park N Plates Yellow Vw Bug Vhtf International Only2013 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic 2.5l W/sound/nav Navigation System Heated Front Se 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Gray Convertible Fwd1978 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic 1978 Volkswagen Super BeelteVw Bug Oval Beetle Vintage VwHot Wheels Red Line Custom Volkswagen 1967 Beetle Vw Lady Bug Hot Rod Unopened1:64 Johnny Lightning '65 Vw Rallye Beetle Preproduction White Lightning1968 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic German Chrome/stainless Trim 1968 Vw Beetle 1600 Dual Port Empi Mechanically Restored, Zero Rust, Very Clean1972 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic 1972 Marathon Vw Beetle1962 Volkswagen Beetle 1962 Volkswagen Beetle Blue!Hot Wheels Randys Stuff Vw Bug 2-car Set From 19931957 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic 2 Door Beautiful 57' Oval- Window Classic Bug1967 Hot Wheels Redline Red Custom Volkswagen Beetle Nice!!Pilot Denmark Wiking Lego Vintage 1950's Vw Volkswagen Beetle Ultra Rare Item Vg2003 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Volkswagen Summer Edition Volkswagen Edition Summer Very Rare 2003Empi Weber Carb For Toyota Pickup , Vw Bug ? UsedHot Wheels Vw Bug Oval Window Rag Top, Special Limited Edition Randys Stuff1972 Volkswagen Beetle - Classic Convertible 1972 Vw Beetle Convertible-rare Options-great Condition!Husky Corgi Juniors Diecast Toys Vw Beetle Jaguar Wrecker Zephyr Land Rover Etc1:64 M2 Machines *auto-thentics Vw04* Gold Chase Car 1967 Vw Beetle Deluxe *nib*M2 Machines Gold Chase Auto-thentics 1967 Volkswagen Beetle Limited Only 750Vw Bug Bus Ghia Thing Type 1 Engine, Complete Fuel Injecton Kit, Cb Performance1/24 Scale Vw Bug Drag Slot Car.Belzer Valve Seat Cutter Kit Volkswagen German Pilot Cutters Vintage Bug PorscheDinky 181 - Oval Window Volkswagen Vw Bug - Vintage 1:43 DiecastVtg Lesney Matchbox Lot 34 Volkswagen Camper 15 Volkswagen Beetle