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 Convertible 1964 Vw Bug ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Deluxe 1960 Volkswagen Beetle ClassicVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door 1963 Vw Beetle Rag Top One Owner 50 Miles Have DocumentsVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Automatic Stick Shift 1600 Cc 6960 Miles No Rust Barn Find No ReserveVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Nice 1966 Classic Vw Bug Cal-look Daily DriverVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Original Original Very CleanVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door 1963 Vw Beetle One Owner 52 K Miles Great Daily DriverVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Sun Bug Beautiful Very Rare 1974 Vw Special Edition "sun Bug" Super Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1966 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Bettle 1968 Volkswagen Turbo Diesel Baja BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1970 Volkswagen Beetle ClassicVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Sun Beetle 1974 Vw Beetle Sun BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1965 Volkswagen Bug Sunroof CoupeVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1968 Vw Volkswagen Double Cab No ReserveVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 2 Door Coupe 1977 Volswagon Beetle Hard TopVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1965 Vw BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1979 Vw Convertible SuperbettleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible Gorgeous 1970 Vw ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1968 Vw Beetle1960's Volkswagen Beetle 1500 Cabriolet 11" Japanese Tin Car NrVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Oval Window Restored. 600 Miles! Rare! 1954 Volkswagen Beete Oval Window Restored 600 Miles RareVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1967 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Deluxe 1954 Matching Numbers Vw Oval Window Bug Candy Apple Red Pearl White RestoredVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1966 Vw Beetle V 8Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle Volkswagen Super Beetle 1974 Complete Rolling RestorationVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Chrome One Of A Kind Restored Vw Beetle, Original Factory Paint Color, And FinishesVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1966 Vw BeetleHot Wheels Redline Us Custom Volkswagen Vw Bug -magenta Spectraflame, NiceVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1970 Volkswagen BeetleVw Volkswagen Beetle Split Oval Bug Bus Porsche 356 Nos Bosch 6 Volt CoilVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Fully Restored Must Be Seen Driven Fully Restored And Mint 72 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Sweet Classic Turn KeyVintage Dinky 181 Volkswagen Beetle Oval Pair C.1956-70Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1971 Vw BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1.8t Classic 1974 1.8 T Classic Used ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1973 Vw Type 1 SedanVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1965 Vw Beetle Sunroof Deluxe Sea BlueVintage 60's Tin Friction Vw Volkswagen Beetle Bug W/ Retractable Sunroof, JapanClassic Pink Kar Cv021 Vw Beetle (police Version ) Suit Scalextric 1/32 ScaleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1973 BeetleVw Beetle Kombi Split Ratty 50's & 60's Original Chrome Heavy Duty Hubcaps X 4 Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1970 Vw BeetleVintage 1960s Bandai Japan Volkswagon Vw Bug Battery Op Tin Toy Bump & Go CarVintage Working! Taiyo Japan Tin Battery Operated Bump And Go Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Gls 2 Door 1999 Volkswagen Beetle Coupe W Powermoonroof Coldairconditiong 2 Liter 4 CylinderVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Dr Sedan Beautiful Restored One Of A Kind Custom 1959 Vw Beetle $3500 Stereo SystemEmpi Dealer Catalog In Binder, Vintage 1966, Volkwagen Vw/beetleHot Wheels Redline Custom Vw BugScalextric Volkswagen Beetle Peking Paris With Headlights & Dpr Ready 1/32 C33611967 Hot Wheel Redline Us Custom Volkswagen Vw Beetle Bug Rose Magenta LavenderMatchbox Regular Wheel #15 - Volkswagen 1500 Saloon Beetle W/box - Free Ship!Vintage Bandai Japan Tin Litho Battery Operated Vw Volkswagen Beetle Toy Red Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Restored 1968 Classic Volkswagen Beetle1995 Vw Bug Treasure Hunt Hot Wheels Yone Tin Volkswagen Beetle Kit - Made In Japan - 1990Vw Beetle Karmann Ghia Rare Early 90mph Speedometer With Fuel GaugeAdvent Revell Vw Van Custom Bed Bug Factory Sealed Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base Convertible 2-door 1979 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base Convertible 2 Door 1.6 LVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic "baja Beetle 1966 V W Zombie Killer Baja Attack Beetle All Custom One Of A KindVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1967 Volkswagen Beetle4 - 17" Volkswagen Beetle Heritage Wheels