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 Baja Bug 1971 Baja Bug Really Cool No Reserve Lots Of Money SpentVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard 1957 Vw Beetle Standard Zwitter ImposterVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Very Good 1968 2 Door Classic Bug Very Good Condition Purchased From Second OwnerVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Dr. 1962 Volkswagen Classic Beetle 2 Owner Low Mileage Car1969 Vw Volkswagen Manx Dune Buggy W/ Hard Roof, Doors And Side Pods 1600 BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2-door 1971 Vw BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Sedan 1967 Vw Beetle Body Off Restoration PristineVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Baja Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Baja BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Bug 1965 Volkswagen Beetle BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Deluxe 1957 Volkswagen Beetle Oval Window Restored Mint ConditionVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Bug 1960 Vw Bug ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1957 Vw Beetle Extensive Restoration Low Miles Oval Window Best ColorsVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Cabriolet 1969 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible CabrioletVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard 1952 Standard BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 1970 Vw Baja BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard 1964 Volkswagen Beetle VintageVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Cabriolet 1962 Volkwagen Bettle CabrioletVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard 1974 Project No TitleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1300 1966 Volkswagon Beetle 1300 Nice Refinished ConditionVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1965 Vw Bug Beetle Classic VolkswagenBandai Japan Vw Volkswagen Beetle Bug Openable Door & Box Vintage Tin Car 1961 Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard Bug 1974 Volkswagen Standard Beetle Classic BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1969 Volkswagen Beetle Daily Driver 1600 Cc ProjectVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard 1964 Volkswagen Beetle Vw BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Bug 1962 Volkswagon Beetle Bug Sliding Rag Great StanceVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic None 1965 Classic Beetle Vw Barn Find Project Needs WorkVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 43000 Miles Florida Out Of Collection Not A Scratch Convertible 80 PicturesVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Buggie 1970 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Two Door 66 Vw Beetle Antique Classic 2 Door Sedan 12 Volt Converted 1600 CcVintage Vw Volkswagen Bug Beetle Complete Engine Motor 1600cc 1600 Case Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Coupe Deep Green Metal Flake Paint. Can Be Driven DailyVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door 1969 Vw BeetleScalextric Vw Beetle #34 Monte Carlo Challenge C3412 Mb DprVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base 1.6 LGenuine Vw Split Oval Window Beetle Karmann Parts Manual August 1954 RareVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Maserati Blue Oceano, 1641cc Motor, Immaculate 1967 Vw Bug Maserati Blue Oceano 1641 Cc Motor 2 K Miles Completely RestoredVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1965 Volkswagen Vw BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle Volkswagon ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle No Reserve California Cutie Perfect Patina!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Sedan 1963 Volkswagon Beetle Bug In Black With Title1:18 Scale Vw Volkswagen Beetle / KÄfer 1984 Oettinger With Bbs Rs Wheels!Genuine Vw Beetle Parts List Manual 1961 - 1967 Genuine Vw Super Rare Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1967 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard 1973 Volkswagen Standard BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle Sun Roof 1966 1300 Cc 50 Hp One Year Only Sun Roof Restored 12 Volts Well Sorted NiceLego Denmark Vw Beetle 50´s Very RareVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1969 Volkswagen Beetle AutostickTamiya Model Vw Monster Beetle Volkswagen R/c 1/10 Scale #5860 Aristo-craft 360Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1976 Vw Super Beetle ConvertableVintage Vw Cox Baja Bug 73 Gas Tether Car For Untested Thimble DromeLego Volkswagen Beetle (10187)Other Makes : Skoda 120l Florida Clean Title In Hand Skoda 120l Czechoslovakian Eastern European Vw Beetle Mini Small Vintage ClassicVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Custom One Of A Kind Custom 1969 Vw Bug.Vw Classic Bug Beetle Roof Rack, Vintage Style Type 1 Sedan Fits All YearsHella 128 Fog Light Porsche 356 912 911 T E S Rs Vw Split Oval Bug BeetleOther Makes : Polski Fiat 126p 650 126p 650 1980 Polski Fiat 126 P Vw Beetle Mini Polski Small Vintage Classic Micro CarExtremely Rare 1996 Zippo Lighter "1 Millionth Gold Vw Beetle" Chrome Finish NibVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Light Blue 1968 Vw Bug Beetle ClassicVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic See Original Window Sticker Picture 1965 Barn Find Bug One Owner In Last 50 Years Needs Work