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 1965 Volkswagen Beetle 1.2 L V 4 4 Speed Manual Transmission No ReserveVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard “vintage Bug That Is A Good Starter For RestorationVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door 1967 Volkswagen Beetle White 12 Volt Restorers Dream Car Under 1000 MilesVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle Volkswagen Super Beetle 1974 Ready For RestorationVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1958 Vw Bug Great Condition Original 36 Hp 6 VoltVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Drop Head 1963 Volkswagon Classic Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base Convertible 2-door 1979 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base Convertible 2 Door 1.6 LVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1957 Volkswagon Beetle Body Off Pan Nicest 57 In Country Ready To GoVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Deluxe 1957 Vw Oval Window Ragtop Volkswagen Beetle Classic Barn Find 2 Fold Rag TopVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Sun Bug 1974 Super Beetle Sun Bug ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle,bug, 1971 Volkswagen Beetle Base 1.6 LVw Bandai Tin Car Sedan Convertible Bug N YonezawaVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base 1.6 LVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Coupe Beautiful 1972 Beetle...must OwnVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Coupe 2-door 1969 Vw Beetle ConvertibleLego Volkswagen Beetle (10187) - Complete, With Box And ManualsVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle Restored Red 1967 Vw Beetle Convertible! Mint ConditionVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Classic Beetle 1970 Classic Beetle Purple PassionVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Classic Vw Beetle Cabriolet 1978 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet Convertible 7 Year Old Pan Up RestorationVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Bug 1965 Volkswagen Beetle BugHot Wheels Redline Us Custom Volkswagen Vw Bug -light Olive Spectraflame, NiceVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door 1967 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Karman Volkswagen White Convertible Super Beetle Karman Edition1960's Volkswagen Beetle Herbie By Tekno Of Denmark1960's Volkswagen Beetle Post Office Car By Tekno Of DenmarkVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1970 Vw Beetle ClassicHot Wheels Original Redline Orange Custom Vw Volkswagen Bug!! Us*Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard Fresh Restoration, Paint, Wheels Tires, Rear Bumper And No CarVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Rat Rod 1962 Chopped Rat Rod Street Rod1/16 Traxxas Erevo Summit Vxl Brushless Waterproof Vw Baja Bug Beetle 2s 3s LipoVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Stock 1971 Vw Bug In Great Condition White On BlackLego Denmark Vintage 1960's Vw Volkswagen 1200 Beetle Very Rare Item Mint Cond.Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1970 Volkswagen Beetle Bug Baja Vw 1600 Cc 1600 Dual Port Baja Bug SickWeber 40 Idf 70 H2 2 Bbl Carburetor & Single-carb Intake Dune Buggy Vw Baja BugNomura 1960s Volkswagen Beetle 2 Door Convertible - Battery Operated - JapanVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Runs Drives Brakes Steers Excellent Overall 1970 Red Runs Drives Brakes Steers Excellent OverallVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Chrome Volkswagen Convertible 1972 All Original 62k Miles Great Shape1960's Volkswagen Beetle By Tekno Of DenmarkVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle Karmen Convertible 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle Convertible Garage Kept Extra Clean Rust FreeVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard 1973 Vw Bug Beetle Ragtop Red Tan Redone To Look Like 1967Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 73 Vw Beetle Convertible Excellent Cond Drive It Home Motor Rebuild Nov 2014Vintage Old Vw Volkswagen Empi Bug Love Bug Tin Car Battery Operated 1/24 Scale!Hot Wheels 2014 Retro Entertainment Vw Beetle Herbie The Love Bug W/ Real Rider!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door Coupe Volkswagen Beetle 2 Door ClassicVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Oval Window Beetle 1956 Vw Oval Window Beetle Very Rare Turbo Frame Off Restored Show Or GoVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base Hatchback 2-door 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Base Hatchback 2 Door 2.5 L Rare Brown ColorHot Wheels Original Redline *teal Custom Vw Volkswagen Bug!! Hk*Hot Wheels Original Redline Blue Custom Vw Volkswagen Bug!! Us*Hot Wheels Original Redline *brown Custom Vw Volkswagen Bug!! Us*Vw Split Tail Lights Vintage Bug Beetle Cox KÄfer Bus HupenknopfLot Of 7 1951 & 1967 Vw Volkswagen Beetle & Cabriolet 1:18 Scale - All LooseVintage 1971 Cox Baja Bug Gas Powered .049 Vw Volkswagon Car For PartsHot Wheels Redline Us Custom Volkswagen Vw Bug -purple Spectraflame, NiceObsolete Minichamps 1949 Volkswagen Beetle Hebmuller 1:43 Nla Four 1960's Slot Car 1/32 Clear Bodies Cobra Gt, Ferrari, Vw Bug, Aston MartinVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1974 Volkswagen Classic Super Beetle Vw Bug 4 Spd Fully Restored Ship NationwideOriginal Vintage Vw Chrome Domed Hubcaps Set Of 4 Beetle Bug Bus MoonHot Wheels Original Redline Green Custom Vw Volkswagen Bug!! Hk*2011 Hot Wheels Garage Custom 56 Volkswagen Vw Drag Beetle Pair Rat Rod & OrangeVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1979 Volkswagen Super Beetle Karmann Convertible