The Beetle History

Beetle history

1934 On June 22, the Automobile Manufacturers' Association of the German Reich commissioned Ferdinand Porsche to design a "People's Car".
1935 The first prototype was powered by an air-cooled 700 cc flat-four engine developing 22 hp. Two further cars of this type were built.
1936 The three prototypes were designated Series VW 3. On February 24 sedan/saloon and convertible versions were demonstrated to the Automobile Manufacturers' Association of the German Reich in Berlin. Between October 22 and December 22, each Series VW 3 car covered approximately 50,000 kilometres in a practicability test.
1937 The prototypes underwent further testing, in particular for their ability to withstand "autobahn" speeds. After this the Association of Automobile Manufacturers issued an order for 30 cars to be built (the "Series 30" cars). These were tested over a total distance of 2,400,000 kilometres.
1938 After further design revision the Series 38 cars were built, the first to have running boards, bumpers and the characteristic "pretzel" rear window. The air-cooled flat-four engine had a displacement of 986 cc and developed 24 horsepower. The car's weight was 750 kilograms. Three versions were developed: saloon/sedan with fixed and roll-back roof and a convertible.
1939 On February 16 the cars developed by Ferdinand Porsche, for which Adolf Hitler created the name "KdF-Wagen" ("Strength-through-Joy Car") were exhibited at the Motor Show in Berlin. The outbreak of the Second World War and the gradual involvement of the Volkswagenwerk plant in production for military purposes prevented the car from going into volume production. By the end of the war 630 saloon/sedan cars had been built.
1945 Under the supervision of the Allied forces, the factory restarted production. In the summer the British military government commissioned 20,000 saloon/sedan cars from the Volkswagenwerk, which was being managed at the time by the British soldier Major Ivan Hirst. Series production of the VW Beetle began in December 1945, and 55 cars were assembled by the end of the year.
1946 The 10,000th Volkswagen was produced on October 14.
1947 Of the 8,987 sedan/saloon cars produced in this year, a quantity was exported to the Netherlands.
1948 In May the 25,000th Volkswagen left the assembly line. Monthly vehicle output rose from 1,185 cars in May to 2,306 in December.
1949 On January 8, the first two sedan models were shipped from the Netherlands to the USA. Production reached 50,000 since the end of the war on May 13, and on June 1 the "Export" model was announced, with more luxurious interior trim and greater use of chrome on the body than the Standard model. This was also the day on which the Karmann company announced its special four-seat Type 15 convertible body, based on the Export model of the Volkswagen.
1950 From April onwards the Volkswagen is available with a folding sunroof at extra charge. Hydraulic brakes are also introduced.
1951 The Volkswagen is already being exported to 29 countries. In October, total output reaches 250,000. The basic model is given ventilation flaps in the front side panels. The Export model now bears the Wolfsburg coat of arms as a badge on its nose. Telescopic shock absorbers take the place of the lever type.
1952 In October, various significant changes were made to the Export model including triangular vent windows in the doors, a gearbox with synchromesh 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears, and 15-inch wheels.
1953 On March 10 the typical "pretzel" rear window was replaced by a single oval window of larger area. On July 3 the 500,000th Volkswagen left the assembly line. Cars were now being exported to 86 countries.
1954 In January a 30 hp 1192 cc engine was announced, giving the car a top speed of 68 mph.
1955 On August 8 the one-millionth Volkswagen was produced. The car acquired a number of new features: a PVC sunroof. twin exhaust pipes and new rear lights.
1956 In addition to tubeless tyres, the car was given improved engine-compartment insulation, and more powerful windscreen wiper and starter motors.
1957 The Volkswagen's front and rear windows were again increased in size and its dashboard redesigned.
1958 A large outside mirror was mounted on the driver's side.
1959 The doors were given fixed handles with an inner release catch. In August the new VW 1200 Export model was introduced with a 34 hp engine and an all-synchromesh four-speed gearbox, plus a new steering wheel design which remained until 1971. In addition, both the Standard and Export models received flashing turn indicators instead of trafficator arms, a 65 percent larger luggage compartment, a windscreen washer and asymmetric-dip headlights.
1960 The five millionth Volkswagen left the factory on December 5.
1961 The Export model was equipped with pneumatically activated windscreen wipers. The Standard model received hydraulic brakes.
A 34 hp engine was also introduced
1963 The folding sunroof was replaced by a crank-operated sliding steel panel.
1964 In November the Standard model received the all-synchromesh gearbox and was designated VW 1200 A. Series production started at Volkswagen's Emden plant on December 1.
1965 The Standard 1200 A model's power output was increased to 34 hp. The new VW 1300 Export model with 40 hp engine was launched, and redesigned front suspension introduced. On September 15, the ten-millionth Volkswagen was built.
1966 The VW 1300 A Standard model replaced the 1200 A and was available with either a 34 hp or a 40 hp engine. One-key operation of the ignition and driver's door lock was introduced. Production of the VW 1200 A ceased in July, and in August the VW 1500 was introduced with a 44-hp engine and disc brakes at the front. Safety locks were introduced, along with locking front seat backrests. 12V introduced as an optional extra.
1967 The VW 1200 "Economy Beetle" with 34-hp engine became available in January. Safety was enhanced by adopting a safety steering column and lap-and-shoulder seat belts. The VW 1500 model is also available with automatic transmission and semi-trailing arm rear suspension. Dual circuit brakes and 12V become standard.
1969 Introduction of the VW 1300 L with a special equipment specification.
1970 Introduction of the 1302 ( 34 and 40 hp) and 1302 S (50 hp) models with strut-type front suspension and double-pivot rear axle. A convertible version of the VW 1302 is also built. Production of the VW 1500 ceased in July.
1971 The rear window is enlarged again.
1972 On February 17 the 15,007,034th Beetle is produced, thus breaking the production record previously held by the Ford Model T. Production of the "Panorama" Beetle (the VW 1303) with 44- or 50-hp engine begins in August, taking the place of the previous VW 1302. The VW 1300 S is introduced with a 1.6-litre engine. The GT Beetle is launched – the first and only Beetle sold in the UK to be called Beetle.
1973 Volkswagen launches several special-edition models: the Jeans Beetle, the Big Beetle, the "Black and Yellow Racer" and the City Beetle. Production of the VW 1300 ceases in July. The VW 1303 A model is announced in August, and also the 1303 Convertible.
1974 At 11.19 a.m. on June 1, the last Beetle to be built at Volkswagen's main plant in Wolfsburg left the assembly line. Production of the VW 1303 A ceased in August.
1975 The last VW 1303 was produced in July.
1978 On January 19 the last Beetle to be built in Germany left the line at the Emden plant. Altogether, 16,255,500 Beetles had been produced in Germany. At overseas locations, however, Beetle production was still running at more than a thousand cars a day. The "Mexican Beetle", for instance, is a VW 1200 L with 34-hp engine.
1980 Karmann produced the last Beetle Convertible at its Osnabrück factory on January 10. Total production volume was 330,281 convertibles.
1981 On May 15, Volkswagen de Mexico produced the twenty-millionth Beetle in Puebla. To celebrate this anniversary, a "Silver Bug" edition is introduced.
1984 Mexico produces its 100,000th Beetle for export.
1985 On August 12, the last ship carrying Beetles tied up in Emden docks. The Beetle celebrated its 50th anniversary on October 17.
1992 The Beetle from Mexico acquires exhaust emission control by closed-loop, three-way catalytic converter and an oxygen sensor. The 21-millionth Beetle is built on May 23 in Mexico.
2002 On June 25, Golf production figures pass the Beetle, with 21,517,415 units. The Golf takes over the title of most-built Volkswagen model from the Beetle.
2003 The last Beetle manufactured by Volkswagen rolls off the line at "Volkswagen de México" in Puebla/Mexico in July.

Beetle history

1934 On June 22, the Automobile Manufacturers' Association of the German Reich commissioned Ferdinand Porsche to design a "People's Car".
1935 The first prototype was powered by an air-cooled 700 cc flat-four engine developing 22 hp. Two further cars of this type were built.
1936 The three prototypes were designated Series VW 3. On February 24 sedan/saloon and convertible versions were demonstrated to the Automobile Manufacturers' Association of the German Reich in Berlin. Between October 22 and December 22, each Series VW 3 car covered approximately 50,000 kilometres in a practicability test.
1937 The prototypes underwent further testing, in particular for their ability to withstand "autobahn" speeds. After this the Association of Automobile Manufacturers issued an order for 30 cars to be built (the "Series 30" cars). These were tested over a total distance of 2,400,000 kilometres.
1938 After further design revision the Series 38 cars were built, the first to have running boards, bumpers and the characteristic "pretzel" rear window. The air-cooled flat-four engine had a displacement of 986 cc and developed 24 horsepower. The car's weight was 750 kilograms. Three versions were developed: saloon/sedan with fixed and roll-back roof and a convertible.
1939 On February 16 the cars developed by Ferdinand Porsche, for which Adolf Hitler created the name "KdF-Wagen" ("Strength-through-Joy Car") were exhibited at the Motor Show in Berlin. The outbreak of the Second World War and the gradual involvement of the Volkswagenwerk plant in production for military purposes prevented the car from going into volume production. By the end of the war 630 saloon/sedan cars had been built.
1945 Under the supervision of the Allied forces, the factory restarted production. In the summer the British military government commissioned 20,000 saloon/sedan cars from the Volkswagenwerk, which was being managed at the time by the British soldier Major Ivan Hirst. Series production of the VW Beetle began in December 1945, and 55 cars were assembled by the end of the year.
1946 The 10,000th Volkswagen was produced on October 14.
1947 Of the 8,987 sedan/saloon cars produced in this year, a quantity was exported to the Netherlands.
1948 In May the 25,000th Volkswagen left the assembly line. Monthly vehicle output rose from 1,185 cars in May to 2,306 in December.
1949 On January 8, the first two sedan models were shipped from the Netherlands to the USA. Production reached 50,000 since the end of the war on May 13, and on June 1 the "Export" model was announced, with more luxurious interior trim and greater use of chrome on the body than the Standard model. This was also the day on which the Karmann company announced its special four-seat Type 15 convertible body, based on the Export model of the Volkswagen.
1950 From April onwards the Volkswagen is available with a folding sunroof at extra charge. Hydraulic brakes are also introduced.
1951 The Volkswagen is already being exported to 29 countries. In October, total output reaches 250,000. The basic model is given ventilation flaps in the front side panels. The Export model now bears the Wolfsburg coat of arms as a badge on its nose. Telescopic shock absorbers take the place of the lever type.
1952 In October, various significant changes were made to the Export model including triangular vent windows in the doors, a gearbox with synchromesh 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears, and 15-inch wheels.
1953 On March 10 the typical "pretzel" rear window was replaced by a single oval window of larger area. On July 3 the 500,000th Volkswagen left the assembly line. Cars were now being exported to 86 countries.
1954 In January a 30 hp 1192 cc engine was announced, giving the car a top speed of 68 mph.
1955 On August 8 the one-millionth Volkswagen was produced. The car acquired a number of new features: a PVC sunroof. twin exhaust pipes and new rear lights.
1956 In addition to tubeless tyres, the car was given improved engine-compartment insulation, and more powerful windscreen wiper and starter motors.
1957 The Volkswagen's front and rear windows were again increased in size and its dashboard redesigned.
1958 A large outside mirror was mounted on the driver's side.
1959 The doors were given fixed handles with an inner release catch. In August the new VW 1200 Export model was introduced with a 34 hp engine and an all-synchromesh four-speed gearbox, plus a new steering wheel design which remained until 1971. In addition, both the Standard and Export models received flashing turn indicators instead of trafficator arms, a 65 percent larger luggage compartment, a windscreen washer and asymmetric-dip headlights.
1960 The five millionth Volkswagen left the factory on December 5.
1961 The Export model was equipped with pneumatically activated windscreen wipers. The Standard model received hydraulic brakes.
A 34 hp engine was also introduced
1963 The folding sunroof was replaced by a crank-operated sliding steel panel.
1964 In November the Standard model received the all-synchromesh gearbox and was designated VW 1200 A. Series production started at Volkswagen's Emden plant on December 1.
1965 The Standard 1200 A model's power output was increased to 34 hp. The new VW 1300 Export model with 40 hp engine was launched, and redesigned front suspension introduced. On September 15, the ten-millionth Volkswagen was built.
1966 The VW 1300 A Standard model replaced the 1200 A and was available with either a 34 hp or a 40 hp engine. One-key operation of the ignition and driver's door lock was introduced. Production of the VW 1200 A ceased in July, and in August the VW 1500 was introduced with a 44-hp engine and disc brakes at the front. Safety locks were introduced, along with locking front seat backrests. 12V introduced as an optional extra.
1967 The VW 1200 "Economy Beetle" with 34-hp engine became available in January. Safety was enhanced by adopting a safety steering column and lap-and-shoulder seat belts. The VW 1500 model is also available with automatic transmission and semi-trailing arm rear suspension. Dual circuit brakes and 12V become standard.
1969 Introduction of the VW 1300 L with a special equipment specification.
1970 Introduction of the 1302 ( 34 and 40 hp) and 1302 S (50 hp) models with strut-type front suspension and double-pivot rear axle. A convertible version of the VW 1302 is also built. Production of the VW 1500 ceased in July.
1971 The rear window is enlarged again.
1972 On February 17 the 15,007,034th Beetle is produced, thus breaking the production record previously held by the Ford Model T. Production of the "Panorama" Beetle (the VW 1303) with 44- or 50-hp engine begins in August, taking the place of the previous VW 1302. The VW 1300 S is introduced with a 1.6-litre engine. The GT Beetle is launched – the first and only Beetle sold in the UK to be called Beetle.
1973 Volkswagen launches several special-edition models: the Jeans Beetle, the Big Beetle, the "Black and Yellow Racer" and the City Beetle. Production of the VW 1300 ceases in July. The VW 1303 A model is announced in August, and also the 1303 Convertible.
1974 At 11.19 a.m. on June 1, the last Beetle to be built at Volkswagen's main plant in Wolfsburg left the assembly line. Production of the VW 1303 A ceased in August.
1975 The last VW 1303 was produced in July.
1978 On January 19 the last Beetle to be built in Germany left the line at the Emden plant. Altogether, 16,255,500 Beetles had been produced in Germany. At overseas locations, however, Beetle production was still running at more than a thousand cars a day. The "Mexican Beetle", for instance, is a VW 1200 L with 34-hp engine.
1980 Karmann produced the last Beetle Convertible at its Osnabrück factory on January 10. Total production volume was 330,281 convertibles.
1981 On May 15, Volkswagen de Mexico produced the twenty-millionth Beetle in Puebla. To celebrate this anniversary, a "Silver Bug" edition is introduced.
1984 Mexico produces its 100,000th Beetle for export.
1985 On August 12, the last ship carrying Beetles tied up in Emden docks. The Beetle celebrated its 50th anniversary on October 17.
1992 The Beetle from Mexico acquires exhaust emission control by closed-loop, three-way catalytic converter and an oxygen sensor. The 21-millionth Beetle is built on May 23 in Mexico.
2002 On June 25, Golf production figures pass the Beetle, with 21,517,415 units. The Golf takes over the title of most-built Volkswagen model from the Beetle.
2003 The last Beetle manufactured by Volkswagen rolls off the line at "Volkswagen de México" in Puebla/Mexico in July.

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