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Volkswagen Type 1

Volkswagen Type 1
VW Käfer Baujahr 1966.jpg
1965 Volkswagen Beetle
Manufacturer Volkswagen
Also called "Beetle" / "Super Beetle"
"Bug" / "Superbug"
"Type 1"
Production 1938–2003: 21,529,464 built
(15,444,858 in Germany,
incl. 330,251 Cabriolets)
(≈ 3,350,000 in Brazil)
Assembly Germany: Wolfsburg
Germany: Hanover
Germany: Emden
Germany: Ingolstadt
Germany: Osnabrück
Australia: Melbourne
Belgium: Brussels
Brazil: São Bernardo do Campo
Finland: Heinola
Indonesia: Jakarta
Ireland: Dublin
Malaysia: Shah Alam
Mexico: Puebla
New Zealand: Auckland
Nigeria: Lagos
Philippines: Manila
South Africa: Uitenhage
Venezuela: Valencia
Yugoslavia: Sarajevo
Body and chassis
Class Subcompact, economy car
Body style
Layout RR layout
  • 1100 cc H4
  • 1200 cc H4
  • 1300 cc H4
  • 1500 cc H4
  • 1600 cc H4
  • 4-speed manual transaxle
  • 4-speed semi-automatic, Saxomat (from 1961)
  • 3-speed semi-automatic, Autostick (1967–76)
Wheelbase 2,400 mm (94.5 in)
Length 4,079 mm (160.6 in)
Width 1,539 mm (60.6 in)
Curb weight 800–840 kg (1,760–1,850 lb)

The Volkswagen Beetle - officially the Volkswagen Type 1, informally in Germany the Käfer (German, "beetle") and in the English-speaking world the Bug - is a two-door, four passenger, rear-engine economy car manufactured and marketed by German automaker Volkswagen (VW) from 1938 until 2003.

The need for this kind of car, and its functional objectives, was formulated by the leader of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap, simple car to be mass-produced for his country's new road network. Hitler contracted Ferdinand Porsche in 1934 to design and build it. Porsche and his team took until 1938 to finalise the design. The influence on Porsche's design of other contemporary cars, such as the Tatra V570 and the work of Josef Ganz remains a subject of dispute. The result was one of the first rear-engined cars since the Brass Era. With 21,529,464 produced, the Beetle is the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single platform ever made.

Although designed in the 1930s, the Beetle was only produced in significant numbers from 1945 on (mass production had been put on hold during the Second World War) when the model was internally designated the Volkswagen Type 1, and marketed simply as the Volkswagen (or "People's Car"). Later models were designated Volkswagen 1200, 1300, 1500, 1302 or 1303, the former three indicating engine displacement, the latter two derived from the type number. The model became widely known in its home country as the Käfer (German for "beetle") and was later marketed as such in Germany, and as the Volkswagen in other countries. For example, in France it was known as the Coccinelle (French for ladybug).

"The engine fires up immediately without a choke. It has tolerable road-handling and is economical to maintain. Although a small car, the engine has great elasticity and gave the feeling of better output than its small nominal size."
Standard Superior
  • 1100 cc H4
  • 1200 cc H4
  • 1300 cc H4
  • 1500 cc H4
  • 1600 cc H4
  • 4-speed manual transaxle
  • 4-speed semi-automatic, Saxomat (from 1961)
  • 3-speed semi-automatic, Autostick (1967–76)
  • Engine: Fuel-injected (Bosch Digifant) four-cylinder horizontally opposed, 1,584 cc, 50 hp (37 kW), 98.1 N·m (72.4 lb·ft) @ 2,200 rpm, three-way catalytic converter
  • Rated fuel mileage: 32.5 mpg‑US (7.2 L/100 km; 39.0 mpg‑imp)
  • Max cruising speed: 130 km/h (81 mph)
  • Brakes: front disc, rear drum
  • Passengers: Five
  • Tank: 40 L (11 US gal; 9 imp gal)
  • Colours: Aquarius blue, Harvest Moon beige.
  • Hiott, Andrea, Thinking Small: The Long Strange Trip. New York: Random House, 2012.
  • Nelson, Walter Henry, Small Wonder: The Amazing Story of the Volkswagen, Boston: Little, Brown, 1967.
  • Rieger, Bernhard, The People's Car: A Global History of the Volkswagen Beetle. Harvard University Press, 2013.
  • Ivan Margolius & John G Henry, Tatra - The Legacy of Hans Ledwinka, Dorchester: Veloce, 2015. .
  • Copping, Richard, VW Beetle: The Car of the 20th Century, , 2014.
  • Imseng, Dominik. Ugly Is Only Skin-Deep: The Story of the Ads That Changed the World. Matador, 2016.


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