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 2 Door 1964 Convertilbe Volkswagen Beetle Bug Black Vintage Classic Rare Vw No ReserveVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle Convertible Classic Bug ***no Reserve***Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible Vw 67 Convertible Good Condition..Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Black 1957 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Oval Window 1956 Volkswagen Bug Classic Oval Window Restored Vintage Clean No Reserve!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Type 1 Vintage 1965 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Type 1 Vw Bug Running Project CarVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic None 67 Chopped Bettle ProjectVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Coupe 1962 Vw BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle Mexican Volkswagon BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard Vw Super Beetle Bug Convertible Car 1974 Model - Nice Condition!!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1973 Vw Beetle Convertible1960s Nomura Vw Beetle Space Patrol Car R-10 Scarce Vintagetin ToysVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door 1957 Vw OvalVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1969 Volkswagen Beetle Base 1.5lVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Coupe 1969 Volkswagen BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard 1976 California Beetle Fuel Injected Convertible, Low Miles Yellow, Drives Nice!Volkswagen : Bus/vanagon Oval Window 1955 Volkswagon Vw Oval Window BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1979 Volkswagen Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Blue 1972 Classic Super BeetleGenuine Vw Split Window Kdf Beetle Brezel Parts Manual List May 1949 RareRare Original Vintage 1967 Empi Tachometer Porsche Vw Volkswagen Bug Ghia GaugeVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle 1971 Volkswagon BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1967 BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Karmann 1970 Volkswagen Convertible Karmann Base 1.6l -barn Find, Project CarVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic None 68 Vw Tub BuggyVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1973 Vw Beetle Convertible PinkVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door 1967 Vw BugBulk Lot 20 Hazet Tools - Vw Beetle, Kombi, Mercedes, BmwVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Conversion 1967 Volkswagen Beetle Coca-cola Classic Bug Truck W/ Mini Chopper Delivery BikeVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Chrome Classic 1969 Vw BeetleVdo Tachometer Tacho 80 Mm Suit Vw Beach Buggy Kombi Beetle Etc 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2007 Vw Volkswagen Beetle Door Panels Lh&rh A1Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic 1972 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base 1.6lVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic High 1957 Vw Bug Volkswagon 2 Owners #s Matching Great DocumentationVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Karmann 1979 Vw Beetle Convertible CabrioletVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle, Solid Build, Raked Out, Turbo Kit, Roof RackVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible 1976 Volkswagen Beetle ConvertibleLego Volkswagen Beetle (10187)Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Chrome 1976 Vw Yellow Superbeetle ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Classic Very Nice 1969 Volkswagen Beetle ClassicVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Trim 1970 Volkswagen Beetle 2d Convertible - Runs Great - Rust FreeVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base 1.6lÆ Zg21 * Rare Arnold 4000 Vw Volkswagen Beetle Tin Car Friction Toy Model 1950sVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Deluxe 1966 Original Rhd Beetle With Big MotorVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Convertible Volkswagon Beetle ConvertibleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Standard 1968 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan 1965,66,67,69,70 Vw Bug, Fun, EconomicalVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door Deluxe Coupe 1965 Vw Beetle "deluxwe" Totally Restored 63,000 Mile OriginalVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Beetle Bug 1973 Vw Super Beetle BugVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Super Rare Convertible 1972 Vw Super Beetle! Own This Iconic Classic!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Blakc 1968 Vw W/ Sunroof, 1600cc, Grey And Black Color, Tags CurrentÆ Zg11 Schuco Gama Marklin Vw Volkswagen Beetle Wind-up Car Tin Toy Model 1940sÆ Zg2 Distler Schuco D-3070 Vw Volkswagen Beetle Car Tin Toy Model Wind-up 1950sVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Base 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle Base 1.6lVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1956 Beetle,restored, Classic Relisted Due To Lack Of Payment..Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beetle 1960 Vw Beetle- Runs And Drives And Stops!!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Customized 1977 Vw Beetle One Of A Kind!Volkswagen : Beetle - Classic Beige 1967 Volkswagon Beetle YellowVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic 2 Door 1972 Vw BeetleVolkswagen : Beetle - Classic Stock 1969 Vw Beetle Black Plate 1 Owner Origional - Superb Origional Car