The Legend of the VW Beetle
Ferdinand Porsche and the Beetle
On the 22nd of June 1934 the Reichvserband der Automobilindustrie (National Association of the Automobile Industry) commissioned the design office of Ferdinand Porsche to develop a Volkswagen prototype. The first cars were assembled in the garage of his Feuerbach villa.
In the autumn of the following year 1935, the first prototype was ready to hit the road. A short time later, Porsche’s team drove the car 200 kilometers from Stuttgart to Berchtesgaden and then to Obersalzberg to present it to Hitler. During the war however, the Volkswagen plant at Fallersleben built amphibious vehicles and jeeps for the Wehrmacht (German Armed Forces). After the war, the beginning of the incredible success of Ferdinand Porsche’s “Beetle” was finally established with a large order from the British military government; they had produced more than 21 million units.
How it all started…..
There are some automobiles that are destined to be classics. It might be because of their design, maybe their racing success, or because their engineering was before its time. There are even times when a famous driver is found behind the wheel, or it appears in a movie and becomes sought after across the world. Now the majority of those vintage cars rank among the archetypes that we call ‘classics’. Very rarely will history play a trick, or swim against the current, and let an automobile, already mature in its construction, become more attractive, and win over people until it is no longer possible to imagine life without it. Sometimes this happens simply because it is a part of automotive history, or better yet, sometimes that car co-wrote history itself. These special classics are often the foundation for the success of a company that unites many strong brands and determines future mobility.
The Volkswagen Type 1, better known as the VW Beetle, is one of these rare examples.
So much has been written about this car, this classic, this very-best seller, that it would be pointless to explain it all here. Type 1’s path through history started out differently to the one it finally took. Unlike many others of its time, the Volkswagen Type 1, VW Beetle, was not the icon for high earners but a reward for those who had made it big. It was a symbol for a country looking into the future but falling back on earlier virtues such as German workmanship and engineering. Although many countries also manufactured automobiles, the most produced car in the world came from Germany. An irony of fate however is that it was pushed from this pedestal by its very own successor.
The basic concept of the VW Beetle outlasted four decade: a central tube frame, independent suspension, and a Boxer engine in the back. It benefited from many improvements during its long construction period, and it was truly representative of “Made in Germany”. Thanks to the economic recovery in post-war Germany, the successful car was driven and loved by grandparents to their grandchildren’s children.
What better way to live the VW Beetle myth than from behind the wheel of a VW 1303 Beetle Convertible on a quiet country road, passing a sleepy village, visiting a Castle of King Ludwig or the Obersalzberg in Berchtesgaden. Check out our fantastic Beetle trips: Berchtesgaden Tour, Zugspitz Tour or King Ludwig Tour.
Our VW Beetles
In our classic car fleet you will find the following VW Beetles:
VW Beetle 1303
- Those who remember the history of the VW Beetle, understand why connoisseurs gush over the 1303 model; it is the only classic car that could have been bought as a new car. The 1303 was, according to the contemporary car aficionado Claus Peter Becker in “Motor Klassik”, “the natural denizen of elegant neighbourhoods and the cool second car in exclusive residential areas.” The colour palette is in line with the current trend of the late seventies with a focus on metallic colours: in addition to the popular brazil brown, these include diamond white, hummingbird green, river blue, Indiana red, platinum and pearl metallic. If the graceful wife or daughter preferred pastels, she could select lemon yellow, Mars red, Florida blue or alpine white. Despite a basic price of DM 13,000 the Beetle cabriolet sold the most in the latter years of its production. According to ” auto motor und sport” 16/1977, “in fine society it is not a faux pas to be seen driving to the theater in this car.” The open-top VW Beetle of the late seventies was the one of the very few cabriolets with four full-size seats. Whether the trunk of almost 400 liters volume, divided into the space behind the rear seats and the forward trunk, is, as Clauspeter Becker writes, sufficient for a multi-week vacation in Tuscany with the family depends on how spartan your holiday luggage is packed. The chassis is so good after all, that Porsche used the same suspension later for the 924 and 944 models, the steering rack bar corresponds to that of the VW Golf I and it is state-of- the-art in 1974. All in all 30 years of development time and 300,000 built cabriolets made the 1303 the most sophisticated cabriolet in the world at that time: striking differences to its predecessors were the domed windscreen, the 1.6-liter engine, the new dashboard, standard front disc brakes, high-quality synthetic roof , large three-chamber taillights and many small details . On the 10th of January 1980 the last copy of the VW 1303 with the chassis number 152 044 140 was built by Karmann in Osnabrück and placed in a museum. What better way to live the VW Beetle myth than behind the wheel of a VW 1303 Beetle Convertible on a quiet country road passing a sleepy village, visiting a Castle of King Ludwig or the Obersalzberg in Berchtesgaden. Check out our fantastic Beetle tours: Berchtesgaden Tour, Zugspitz Tour or King Ludwig Tour.
Technical data Model variants / production period: 1970 – 1972 Engine: Four-cylinder boxer, air-cooled Engine position: rear, longitudinal Drive: Rear-wheel Wheelbase (mm): 2,420 Length / width / height (mm) 4,080 / 1,585 / 1,500 Motorversionen Type: 1303 LS Displacement (cm3): 1,584 Output (kW / HP – at RPM): 37 / 50 / 4,000 Max. torque (Nm – at RPM): 106 / 2,800