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Have a good day, fellows! This article is about another legendary automobile. Hell, yes, this is our favorite topic!
Today we are going to talk about a tiny but very significant automobile, the ancestor of buggies, and “Porsche” sports cars. Besides, this unique automobile hit the Guinness Book of Records as the longest-running and the most-manufactured car of a single design platform worldwide. Who haven’t guessed yet? It’s Volkswagen “Beetle”!
We offer you to take a look at some of the most interesting and important moments in the car’s history.
The original Volkswagen Beetle was born from within the Third Reich. Ferdinand Porsche, the founder of Porsche, was commissioned by Adolf Hitler to create a car for the average German. The bloody dictator, who himself could not drive, was apparently influenced by the achievements of Henry Ford and his production lines and was keen to put all Germans on the brand new autobahn highways in their own cars. By the way, “Volkswagen” translates roughly to “people’s car.” According to the biographers this drawing of “Beetle” prototype was completed by Hitler himself in 1932 at a restaurant and was passed off to his automotive adviser.
Ferdinand Porshe and beetle prototype
The automobile was designed with the average family in mind, with enough room to carry five people. A unibody car with a very flat floor with few openings, air-cooled flat-four engine and small, cute and curvy body – here are the main characteristics of the “Beetle”. On the 26 May 1938, Hitler ceremoniously laid the cornerstone of the new factory and declared that the model would be known as the “KdF-Wagen” or “Strength-through-joy wagen”.
The grand opening of the Volkswagen car factory. Fallersleben, Germany, 1938
Production was to start in September 1939, but the onset of World War II and the collapse of the Third Reich temporarily halted the growing success of the Beetle. As the War gathered pace, the KdF-Wagen was put on hold and production changed to military vehicles.
Special military modification of the Beetle
After the war, when the Allies took control of the factory, mass production was resumed at the plant. Initial sales abroad were disastrous, but through clever advertising, the Beetle gained popularity with the young crowd and from 1945 to 1955 numbers reached the 1 million mark. In the 1950s, the popularity of the small car soared stateside. There were also improvements made on the newer models. The engine was 50 percent larger and produced 53 horsepower. With its cute and quirky design the model has become a symbol of the 1960s counterculture, associated forever with hippies.
The car also became an even larger part of popular culture when Disney premiered “The Love Bug,” franchise, starring the anthropomorphic Herbie, which started as a series of movies in 1968 and expanded into a TV series.
Lindsay Lohan starred in a remake called “Herbie: Fully Loaded” in 2005.
Through the 60s and 70s, the Beetle manages to stay on top of sales, despite the fact that it was becoming obsolete. Reliability, easy maintenance and reduced fuel consumption made the car remain a consumer favorite.
Volkswagen Beetle parts were both easy to remove and to replace. For example, only 4 bolts held the engine in place. That’s why Beetle enthusiasts have done everything imaginable with the model during its long history. Among various modifications there are helicopter and even a motor boat. Twice, in 1964 and 1984, a group of daredevils crossed the Strait of Messina on the amphibian-Beetle with sealed openings in the floor and propeller screw.
Despite the success it had with the Beetle, by the beginning of the 70s, Volkswagen was in dire need of new models to replace the aging Beetle. The last Beetle to be made in Germany left the production line in January 1978, bringing the end of an era.
However, it wasn’t the end of the model. The original classic Beetle didn’t leave production until 2003 as it continued in Puebla, Mexico. Mexican Beetles were essentially identical to the cars produced in Germany, but they didn’t comply with recent emissions and safety laws. The unbelievable 20,000,000th Beetle rolled off the Mexican production line in May 1981 and with demand in Europe for the Beetle still high, Volkswagen of Germany was importing Beetles from Mexico up to 1985.
Iran police car
Current figures show that around 21,529,464 Beetles was built – far more than the 15,007,003 Ford managed with the Model T. Beetle became the most popular car in the world, a title which it still holds to this day.
The Beetle had always been very affordable, and its small shape made it very appealing to consumers. Moreover, in the tough economic times with gas prices on the rise the Beetle was very cost efficient. Luckily, the model made a comeback in 1998 with the New Beetle and a whole new design – much rounder and cuter than its predecessor.
VW New Beetle
Unlike the original Beetle, the New Beetle has its engine in the front, driving the front wheels, with luggage storage in the rear. Many special editions have been released, such as the Malibu Barbie New Beetle.
Malibu Barbie New Beetle
The New Beetle has been the constant design from 1998 to 2010. The announcement of a new model then was very expected. And the car got a makeover with an all-new design and went back to a more vintage look, taking advice from the original Beetle.
VW Beetle A5
Volkswagen Beetle A5 got rid of many of the adorable curves in favor of a flatter, edgier look that is expected to attract a more male demographic. There is also several limited line for most sophisticated Beetle admirers like E-Bugster, Beetle Turbo Black and Beetle Dune.
Beetle Turbo Black
To sum up, the original air-cooled Beetle enjoyed over half of a century of virtually unchanged production – an incredible 58 years. It’s an amazing record that isn’t likely to ever be broken, or even approached. The beloved Beetle is an iconic and much loved car.
However, the truth is that Germans don’t remember this automobile as fondly as other countries do: the connection with the dictator who brought ruin to their country as well as the fact that it serves as a reminder of the lean times before the West German economic miracle took hold means that post-war Germans don’t have the same warm and fuzzy feelings about the Beetle that American ex-hippies do. Nevertheless, the Volkswagen Beetle remains one of the most recognizable car models in the world.
Well, that seems to be all for today. We traditionally present you our 3D model of Volkswagen…
Wait a minute… We forgot one important thing. Who knows the official name of the Beetle? Throughout the world the model is known under various nicknames: the Beetle, the Bug; in France, for example, it is called the Ladybird, in Poland – the Humpy, in Turkey – the Turtle and in Sweden and Finland – the Bubble. But the original model, except new front-wheel cars, was never called the Beetle officially. Okay, we are not going to drag out; it is Type 1 or Volkswagen 1200.
And this is it, for certain.
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