It’s been over 70 years ago since Volkswagen started building the Beetle


We saw a lot or car types pass by in more than 100 years of automobile history. From special coach build cars, to the true people’s car that many car brands tried to make. It first started out with Henry Ford that wanted to make a mass production car, with the Ford model T it all happened in Detroit October 1, 1908, till May 26, 1927. With the special quote: “you can have any color, as long it’s black”, a lot of black Ford T were produced for many years. You saw them as salons, convertible, fire department cars, pick-ups, etc. No roll or task was to little for this brave little car. The Ford T production ceased and it became the legendary Ford model A.

At that moment many other car brand were trying to make a true people’s car, look at Fiat with the Topolino and in Germany Ferdinand Porsche came with the same idea. A car as simple as possible, engine in the back, very economical and easy to make in mass production. After several prototypes the true form of the legendary Beetle of back then the KDF-Wagen was known and in 1938 the production of a limited run of 630 KDF-wagens started at the Wolfsburg/KDF-Stadt factory. The production came to an halt with the Second World War, to make the Schwimmwagen and Kübelwagen for the German forces.

Just after the Second World War, more than 70 years ago, just after Christmas 1945 rolled the first Volkswagen Beetle off the assembly line at Wolfsburg. Major Ivan Hirst of the British Army believed in this small car and put the Beetle in production as a means of transport of the occupying forces. With 6000 people back at work at Wolfsburg, the assembly plant was rebuild and put back in to full production force. With an initial order of 20.000 type one Beetles, the threat of decommissioning and dismantling was avoided. Soon around 1.000 vehicles a month rolled of the production line.

Later on it was the start of the German automotive industry, after that Germany was reformed in 1948. The VW assembly plant was given back to the German people in 1949 and a long history of production and various types of air-cooled Volkswagen started under the name of Volkswagenwerk GmbH.

Soon the Beetle was exported all over the world and assembly plant were built in South America, Belgium, South Africa, Australia, etc.

The Beetle production was halted back in 2003, after a Volkswagen Beetle Last Edition limited series. More than 21 million Beetle were sold. This is still a production record, for the car in his original design. Also the T2C production came to an end in Brazil, after a long production run since the 70’s.

We still see the Beetle in his new form on the road, with the first New Beetle back in 1998 and the current Beetle which are built in Mexico. Still today the Beetle or other air-cooled VW’s have a large group of fans and clubs behind it. Prices of original Beetles are rising up quickly, so be quick if you still want one.

Images and text are under copyright © Jonny Bens