Probably the most famous modern car of the post-war era, save perhaps for Britain's Mini, the original Beetle was created by Ferdinand Porsche under orders from Adolf Hitler to create a 'People's Car'. It debuted in 1938, but did not go into mass-production until 1945. Over decades, it changed little.
With 22.6 million sold, it is the longest-running, and most-manufactured of a single car platform in the world.
It was ostensibly replaced in 1974, with the Golf; but in 1994 Volkswagen showed the Concept One, which became the 'New Beetle'.
|Original Concept One sketch|
The New Beetle was built on the Golf platform and shared many parts, and in 2011 it was replaced by a new shape, with the same basic Golf underpinnings.
The last holdout of the 'original' Beetle was Mexico, where VW continued to build the two-door car at its manufacturing facility in Puebla, as a rather impractical taxi. It ended production there in July 2003.
Actually sales have slowed dramatically as the world turns to SUVs; and although the 1994 Concept One was a cute, nostalgic look back at another era, and a huge sales success, the car's major market always remained the USA - and the truth is, Americans are 'over it'.
The VW taxis were practical. With the front passenger seat removed it was easy to get into and out of the back seat. Some drivers kept coins to make change under the passenger floor mat. But they were as noisy as hell, and trying to sleep in a hotel was impossible with the constant annoying noise from hundreds of those clattering air-cooled engines. And, jeez, John Crawford, when are you going to invite me to drive the Pacific Coast Highway in a Tesla, preferably one that is faster than my 2015 Model S with a 60 kWh hour battery????ReplyDelete
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