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 Base 1971 Beetle Bug Volkswagon Volks Wagon Runs Solid Car Easy Project Hot Wheels Original Redline Yellow Custom Vw Volkswagen Bug! Blitser Pack FreshVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Champagne Edition Convertible 1977 Champagne Edition Volkswagon Beetle Convertible True Barn FindVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Gl 2004 Vw Beetle Gl Convertible 2.0 L Leather Seats 3 Month Warranty No ReserveVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle, Classic 1973 Volkswagon Beetle Classic Runs GreatVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base 1.6 LOkrasa Vw Oval Early Dual Carb Rare Accessory 36hp Split Bug Judson Fram10187 Incomplete Lego Beetle Vw Bug Blue Parts Missing No ManualVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Oval Window 1957 Vokswagen Beetle Oval WindowVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Stock 1966 Volkswagen BeetleVintage Tamiya Sand Scorcher Ra1016 58016 1/10 Scale Vw Baja Bug Box Art PaintVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Sedan 1966 Vw Beetle Sedan Solid Upgraded Engine Sound System Chrome Wheels NiceVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle, Type 1 1970 Volkswagen Classic BeetleHot Wheels Original Redline Gorgeous Purple Custom Vw Volkswagen Bug! Stunning*Volkswagen Beetle Barn Find Diorama Model Great Gift Idea Classic Car 1/43 ScaleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 79 Vw Beetle Classic ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super 1974 Vw Super Beetle Blue Needs A HomeHot Wheels Original Redline Toffee Brown Custom Vw Volkswagen Bug! Very Nice!Hot Wheels Original Redline Orange Custom Vw Volkswagen Bug! Beauty Fresh!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle Coupe 1957 Vintage Volkswagen Oval Window Beetle Coupe Restored Ready To ShowVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Black 1979 Vw Bug Convertible All Orginal Last Year MadeNib Vintage Cox Beetle 9090 1/10 Scale Electric Rc Vw Bug BuggyVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base 1.6 LHot Wheels Original Redline Dark Aqual Custom Vw Volkswagen Bug! Super Clean!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertable 1969 Vw Convertable BeetleHot Wheels Original Redline *rare Creamy Pink Custom Vw Volkswagen Bug!! Killer!Hot Wheels Original Redline *radioactive Antifreeze* Custom Vw Bug! Super Clean Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1971 Volkswagen Bug ConvertibleVintage Volkswagen, Vw, Beetle, Bug, Type 1, Snowflake Tail Light SetVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Nice Boss Of Baja Bug!! (!!check This Out!!)Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Extra Clean Vw Volkswagen Super Beetle 1600 Classic Retro Bug 4-speedHot Wheels Original Redline Light Aqua Custom Vw Volkswagen Bug! Very Nice!Vtg Volkswagen Bug Snowflake Tail Light Pair & Front Turn Signal Lights Vw HellaVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1970 Volkswagen Beetle Base 1.6 LVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1960 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1967 Vw Beetle RestoredNos Set Of 4 Vw Bug Bus Standard Painted Hubcaps1960's Volkswagen Beetle By Tekno Of DenmarkVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base Sedan 2-door 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base Sedan 2 Door 1.6 LVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Two Door Coupe 1960 Vw Beetle Classic EuroHot Wheels Original Redline Rose Pink Custom Vw Volkswagen Bug! Nice!Hot Wheels Original Redline Green Custom Vw Volkswagen Bug!Vtg Tin Vw Beetle Convertible Made In Japan Volkswagen Bug Friction BatteryVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1955 Volkswagen Beetle Karmann Kabriolett Rare Early Vw ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Off Road 1970 Vw Race BuggyVw Bug Nos Steering Wheel Lock 1961-1967Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 71 Super Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle Convertible With 11k Original Miles! 1978 Completely All Stock Original California Owner Car With 11 K Orig MilesVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2.0l Tdi With Warranty 2013 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0 L Tdi Turbo 2 L I 4 16 V Automatic Fwd Hatchback GpsHot Wheels Redline Us Custom Volkswagen Vw Bug -aqua Spectraflame, Nice1960's Volkswagen Beetle Police Car By Tekno Of DenmarkCorgi Toys Vintage 1960's East African Safari Vw Volkswagen BeetleHot Wheels Redline Nsr Bug No Sunroof Custom Volkswagen Rare Blue Franklin Mint 1967 Volkswagen Beetle "bug" In 1:24 Scale W/coa Rare Minichamps 1951 Volkswagen Beetle 1200 'export' 1:43 Nla Hot Wheels Original Redline Luscious Blue Custom Vw Volkswagen Bug! Nice!Scalextric C3204 Vw Volkswagen BeetleVw Beetle Door Panels 98 99 01 02 03 04 07 Rh&lh 1999 2000 2001 2002 2007 BlueHot Wheels 2015 Hot Wheels Treasure Hunt Vw Beetle Lot Of 6 Global Shipping1967 Hot Wheels Redline Metallic Red Pink Custom Volkswagen Vw Bug Car