Q. Why is a Beetle called a “Type
the beginning, Volkswagen assigned each model as a “Type” to indicate it’s
characteristics. The Type 1 is actually a family consisting of the Type 1
Beetle, Type 14 Karmann Ghia, Type 15 Convertible/Cabriolet and the Type 18
“Thing” (also known as the “Safari” in some markets. This even extended into the water cooled
production as the Type 16 Jetta, Type 17 Golf/Rabbit and the Type 19 Golf
II. As a matter of information, the
Type 2 is more commonly known as the Kombi, Microbus and Vanagon, the Type 3 is
known as the Notchback Sedan, Fastback Sedan, Squareback Wagon (also known in
Europe as the Variant) and the limited
production Type 34 Karmann Ghia.
The Type 4 is known as the 411 (1969 thru 1972) and the 412 (1973 thru
1974) in both Fastback Sedan and Station Wagon (Variant)
How many Beetles were produced?
February 17, 1972,
Volkswagen overtook the Ford Model T as the most produced single model car with
over 15 million made. On May 15, 1981, the 20
millionth Beetle rolled off the assembly line in South
production ceased in July 2003 in Mexico, over 22 million Beetles had
Q. What is a Standard or Deluxe
Standard Beetle was a “stripped down” model of the Beetle without almost any
body or window chrome trim. In
fact, the door handles, hood handles and front turn signal housings were
painted, usually in grey. These
were sold primarily in Europe, but available in other markets such as Canada. The Deluxe Beetle is what was primarily
sold in the United
States with the familiar body and window chrome
moldings, door and hood handles and chromed front turn signal housings. With the introduction of the Super
Beetle in the 1971 model year, the Deluxe Beetle which continued in production
was informally called a “Standard Beetle” to differentiate between the two
models and continued to have all of the “Deluxe” trim appointments. When ordering parts, this can be
important to know what model type of Beetle you have or you might receive the
Q. When was the Beetle first sold in the
1949, Max Hoffman was granted an exclusive right to distribute and sell the
Volkswagen Beetle in the eastern half of the United
A whopping total of 2 Beetles were sold. In 1950, that figure increased to 157
Beetles. By 1953 Hoffman had sold
1,139 Beetles in the United
States at which point Volkswagen decided to
distribute them through their own established distributorship and dealer
designed and built the Beetle?
history began as a dream of Ferdinand Porsche. He had a vision about building a
car that everybody could afford. In
the early 1920s, while working with Daimler-Benz, he tried to convince them of
the idea of a small, affordable car, but Benz cancelled the prototype
considering it too risky. After
leaving Benz, in 1932 he approached Zündapp, in which a 3 cylinder water cooled
prototype was designed and tested very briefly – so briefly that the because of
severe cooling problems, the engine melted after only 10 minutes of
testing! Zündapp promptly dropped
the project and NSU subsequently partnered with Porsche to expand from their
currently line of motorcycle production into automobiles. During this period, a crude, but more
recognizable shape of the Beetle was coming into view along with the now common
but then revolutionary design of torsion bar suspension, engine being mounted in
the rear, mated directly to a transaxle design. Three prototypes called the “Type 32”
were built and tested, but due to the economical climate of Germany
at the time, NSU withdrew from the project. With the German government becoming
interested in a “Peoples Car”, Porsche worked with them to deliver three more
prototypes in 1936 called the “W1”.
The next series of prototypes were built in 1937 and called the “VW
30”. By this time final form of the
Beetle we know today came into being.
A number of engines were also tested before the decision was taken to go
ahead with the flat four air cooled engine designed by Franz Reimspeiss. That
engine was more or less to be unchanged until this day. Although a small number of Beetles and
Cabriolets were built for German government officials and because of wartime
conditions during World War II, actually production of the Beetle for mass
consumption did not commence until after the war in 1945. Despite the fact that 2/3 of the factory
was destroyed by the allied bombing the workers managed to assemble 58 cars
during the remaining of 1945, mainly from spare parts found in the remains. Starting in 1946, the factory was
ordered to produce 1000 cars a month.
By 1955, Volkswagen was producing 1000 cars a day. From humble beginnings, the rest is
Q. What was the first year the Beetle
upgraded to a 12 Volt Electrical System?
12 Volt Electrical System was available as an option in Europe for the 1965 and 1966 model year. In the 1967 model year, it became
standard and was introduced in the United States at that
Q. What were those funny looking turn
signals called semaphores?
did not introduce flashing turn signals on the Beetles until the 1955 model year
and it was primarily because of an American requirement. Prior to this time, the Beetle used a
type of non flashing turn signal called the Semaphore, which was essentially a
finger shaped object that was lighted thru an amber/yellow colored lens. The Semaphore popped out the “B” pillar
on either the left or right side of the car. Semaphore Turn Signals were what was
prevalently used throughout Europe. Volkswagen continued to offer the
Semaphore Turn Signal on Beetles and Type 2s (primarily in European markets)
through the early 1960s.
Q. What is a
Zwitter is a Beetle manufactured between October 1952 thru March 10, 1953. The Beetle retained the rear window in
two split halves, but had the newly redesigned dashboard more commonly seen in
the Oval Rear Window Beetles thru the 1957 model year.
Q. When was the last year the Beetle was
sold in the United
was the last model year the Standard Beetle Sedan was offered and sold in the
States (1975 was the last model year the Super
Beetle Sedan). Production continued
on the Super Beetle-based Convertible/Cabriolet which was offered and sold
through the 1979 model year in the United
doesn’t my 1968 Beetle have a Steering Lock? Wasn’t this required in the United
the US Federal requirement for Steering Locks did not take effect until January
1969. So for most of 1968 model
year, Beetles were equipped with an “Intermediate Housing” between the Ignition
Lock Cylinder and the electrical part of the Ignition Switch, even though the
Steering Shaft was equipped with “Locking Clam Shells”. When the 1969 models were introduced in
August 1968, a true Steering Lock was equipped, thus beating the Federal
deadline by 5 months. As a trivia
note, optional Steering Locked Ignitions were available on the Beetle as far
back as the mid 1950s.
Q. What are “Push and Pray” Brakes on a
Standard Beetles not sold in the United States thru the early 1962
model year, all 4 wheel brakes were activated by cables rather than the more
commonly used hydraulic fluid.
Deluxe Beetles from the 1949 model year came with hydraulic brake
Q. Were Beetles ever equipped with
“Factory” Disc Front Brakes?
Front Brakes were primarily available for the Beetle starting in the 1967 model
year as an option outside of the United States and were never standard
equipment. Disc Front Brakes were
standard on Type 14 Karmann Ghias from the 1967 model onwards, as was the Type 3
from the 1966 model year onwards.
It can be noted that from 1967 onwards, that Beetles could be special
ordered from Germany through the US Dealership by
the customer to be equipped Disc Front Brakes. This was essentially a Type 14 Karmann
Ghia front axle system, using 4 lug wheels instead of the 5 lug wheels common to
1967 Drum Brake models.