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Volkswagen Beetle

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Beetle
Vehicle Model

Topic Navigation
Wikipedia: Volkswagen Beetle
Wikipedia: Volkswagen Beetle (A5)

Subtopics
Volkswagen New Beetle, Volkswagen Type 1

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Reference Desk
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Merchandise
Article Index
An economy car produced by Volkswagen.  Originally marketed under various other model names since its introduction in 1938, including Type 1 in the United States after World War II, the famous Beetle name began appearing in North American marketing in August of 1967.  Because of the huge popularity of the Beetle when it was in production and relatively few other Volkswagen models sometimes the cars were simply referred to as Volkswagens. Production continued until 2003.

After the "old" Beetle was largely discontinued (it was still at the time being manufactured under license in Mexico), the styling of the Beetle became the basis for the Volkswagen New Beetle, a more conventionally modern front-wheel drive car produced from 1997-2010.  After production of the original Beetle finally ended and the New Beetle was redesigned for the 2011 model year, the name reverted back to being simply "Beetle."

Magazine covers include:
February 2008 Ultra VW (1967 dark orange "Cal-Look" custom)

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Volkswagen Beetle page on 16 April 2016, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Volkswagen Beetle (officially the Volkswagen Type 1, informally in Germany the Volkswagen Käfer and in the U.S. as Volkswagen 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, were formulated by Joseph Ganz, a Jewish engineer whose ideas influenced Adolf Hitler after he saw the car at an auto show. The leader of Nazi Germany wished for a cheap, simple car to be mass-produced for the new road network of his country. He contracted Ferdinand Porsche in 1934 to design and build it, after telling him in 1933 "This is the car for my roads" of the extremely similar Tatra V570. Porsche and his team took until 1938 to finalise the design, and said of the Tatra influence "sometimes I looked over his shoulder and sometimes he looked over mine". In 1965, a payment of one million Marks was made to Tatra-Ringhoffer for numerous patent infringements by the Beetle design. The result is 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 ladybird/ladybug).

The Beetle was designed for sustained high speed on the Reichsautobahn system. It ultimately gave rise to variants, including the Karmann Ghia and Type 2. The Beetle marked a significant trend, led by Volkswagen, Fiat, and Renault, whereby the rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout increased from 2.6 percent of continental Western Europe's car production in 1946 to 26.6 percent in 1956. The 1948 Citroën 2CV and other European models marked a later trend to front-wheel drive in the European small car market, a trend that would come to dominate that market. In 1974, Volkswagen's own front-wheel drive Golf model succeeded the Beetle. In 1994, Volkswagen unveiled the Concept One, a "retro"-themed concept car with a resemblance to the original Beetle, and in 1998 introduced the "New Beetle", built on the contemporary Golf platform with styling recalling the original Type 1.

In the 1999 Car of the Century competition, to determine the world's most influential car in the 20th century, the Type 1 came fourth, after the Ford Model T, the Mini, and the Citroën DS.


Reference Desk

The Crittenden Automotive Library's "Reference Desk" is a collection of materials that cannot be shared due to copyright restrictions. Information from these resources, however, can be shared. Go to the Reference Desk page for more information.

TypeTitle
1970 BookSmall Wonder: The Amazing Story of the Volkswagen by Walter Henry Nelson; Little, Brown
1998 BookBeetle: Volkswagen's Little Giant: From Old Reliable to New Sensation by The Auto Editors of Consumer Guide; Publications International, Ltd.
2002 BookBug: The Strange Mutations of the World's Most Famous Automobile by Phil Patton, Simon & Schuster


Images

1967 Volkswagen Beetle 1967
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
2006 Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
View photo of 1967 Volkswagen Beetle - 647KB
1967 Volkswagen Beetle 1967
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
2006 Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
View photo of 1967 Volkswagen Beetle - 545KB
1967 Volkswagen Beetle 1967
Photo ©2006 Bill Crittenden
2006 Morris Lions Fall Classic Car Show
View photo of 1967 Volkswagen Beetle - 640KB
Volkswagen Beetle Photo courtesy of Image*After
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle - 607KB
Volkswagen Beetle Photo courtesy of Image*After
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle - 893KB
Volkswagen Beetle Dragster Dragster
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 Cedarville Model Car Contest and Swap Meet
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle Dragster - 2.3MB
Volkswagen Beetle Dragster Dragster
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 Cedarville Model Car Contest and Swap Meet
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle Dragster - 2.4MB
Volkswagen Beetle Dragster Dragster
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 Cedarville Model Car Contest and Swap Meet
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle Dragster - 2.2MB
Volkswagen Beetle Glass Jar Glass Jar
Photo ©2014 Bill Crittenden
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle Glass Jar - 1.8MB
Volkswagen Beetle Herbie Funny Car Model Resin body on stock funny car, Herbie paint scheme
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden

2008 Summer NNL

August 3, 2008
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle Herbie Funny Car Model - 3,320KB
Volkswagen Beetle Herbie Funny Car Model Resin body on stock funny car, Herbie paint scheme
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden

2008 Summer NNL

August 3, 2008
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle Herbie Funny Car Model - 3,413KB
Volkswagen Beetle Herbie Funny Car Model Resin body on stock funny car, Herbie paint scheme
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden

2008 Summer NNL

August 3, 2008
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle Herbie Funny Car Model - 3,335KB
Volkswagen Beetle Herbie Fully Loaded Model Stock Car Herbie from Herbie Fully LoadedDodge stock car chassis
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden

2008 Summer NNL

August 3, 2008
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle Herbie Fully Loaded Model Car - 3,469KB
Volkswagen Beetle Herbie Fully Loaded Model Stock Car Herbie from Herbie Fully LoadedDodge stock car chassis
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden

2008 Summer NNL

August 3, 2008
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle Herbie Fully Loaded Model Car - 3,457KB
Volkswagen Beetle Herbie Fully Loaded Model Stock Car Herbie from Herbie Fully LoadedDodge stock car chassis
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden

2008 Summer NNL

August 3, 2008
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle Herbie Fully Loaded Model Car - 3,196KB
Volkswagen Beetle Herbie Fully Loaded Model Stock Car Herbie from Herbie Fully LoadedDodge stock car chassis
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden

2008 Summer NNL

August 3, 2008
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle Herbie Fully Loaded Model Car - 3,274KB
Volkswagen Beetle Herbie Dragster MPC Model Car MPC Beetle dragster kit, dual Buick Nailhead engines, Herbie paint scheme
Photo ©2008 Bill Crittenden

2008 Summer NNL

August 3, 2008
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle Herbie Dragster MPC Model Car - 3,274KB
Volkswagen Beetle V8 Drag Model Car Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
February 2010 Meeting of C.A.R.S. in Miniature
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle V8 Drag Model Car - 3,228KB
Volkswagen Beetle V8 Drag Model Car Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
February 2010 Meeting of C.A.R.S. in Miniature
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle V8 Drag Model Car - 3,292KB
Volkswagen Beetle Clipart Public domain clip art image from WP Clipart
6KB
1970 Custom Volkswagen Beetle Pickup Truck Custom 1970
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
2009 Johnsburg Car and Bike Show
View photo of 1970 Custom Volkswagen Beetle Pickup Truck - 4,954KB
1970 Custom Volkswagen Beetle Pickup Truck Custom 1970
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
2009 Johnsburg Car and Bike Show
View photo of 1970 Custom Volkswagen Beetle Pickup Truck - 2,967KB
1970 Custom Volkswagen Beetle Pickup Truck Custom 1970
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
2009 Johnsburg Car and Bike Show
View photo of 1970 Custom Volkswagen Beetle Pickup Truck - 5,448KB
1970 Custom Volkswagen Beetle Pickup Truck Custom 1970
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
2009 Johnsburg Car and Bike Show
View photo of 1970 Custom Volkswagen Beetle Pickup Truck - 3,536KB
1970 Custom Volkswagen Beetle Pickup Truck Custom 1970
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
2009 Johnsburg Car and Bike Show
View photo of 1970 Custom Volkswagen Beetle Pickup Truck - 3,684KB
Volkswagen Beetle Baja Bug Model Car "Baja Bug"
Testors Sub-Lime Green paint, roll cage & side bars from a NASCAR model kit
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 Summer NNL hosted by GTR Auto Modelers
View photo of Volkswagen Beetle Baja Bug Model Car - 3.6MB
Flooded Volkswagen Beetle Flood damage along the Choluteca River caused by Hurricane Mitch. Over 9,000 deaths and 9,000 missing were attributed to Mitch making it the second most deadly hurricane in history ranking only below a 1780 hurricane in the Lesser Antilles.
Image ID: wea02424, NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) Collection
Photo Date: 1998 November
Location: Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Credit: Debbie Larson, NWS, International Activities
View photo of Flooded Volkswagen Beetle - 1.3MB


Documents

DateDocument Name & DetailsDocuments
6 October 1966NHTSA Recall 66V006000
1967 Volkswagen Type I
Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Pedals And Linkages
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Recall Page - 1 page
15 November 2012NHTSA Recall 12V540000
2012-2013 Volkswagen Beetle
Air Bags:Frontal:Sensor/Control Module
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Recall Page - 1 page
15 November 2012Notification of Voluntary Recall
2012-2013 Model Year Volkswagen Beetle
Passenger Occupant Detection System Control Module
To: Christopher T. Sandvig, Volkswagen of America, Inc.
From: Nancy Lummen Lewis National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 298KB - 2 pages
19 November 2012Occupant Detection System may Fail when Wet
2012-2013 Volkswagen Beetle
From: Jennifer Timian, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
To: Chris Sandvig, Volkswagen of America, Inc.

PDF
- 49KB - 2 pages
19 November 2012VOLKSWAGEN DEALERSHIP COMMUNICATION
Mandatory Stop-Sale and Upcoming Safety Recall 69i9
2012-2013 Model Year Volkswagen Beetle with Leather Sport Seats
Passenger Occupant Detection System Control Module (J706)
Volkswagen

PDF
- 40KB - 3 pages
19 November 2012VOLKSWAGEN RENTAL CAR AGENCY COMMUNICATION
Upcoming Voluntary Safety Recall 69i9
2012-2013 Model Year Volkswagen Beetle with Leather Sport Seats
Passenger Occupant Detection System Control Module (J706)
Volkswagen

PDF
- 41KB - 1 page
December 2012Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Upcoming Voluntary Safety Recall 69i9
2012-2013 MY Volkswagen Beetle equipped with leather sport seats
Volkswagen

PDF
- 33KB - 2 pages
3 December 2012VOLKSWAGEN DEALERSHIP COMMUNICATION
Inventory Vehicle Parts Allocation & Campaign Circular Publication
Voluntary Safety Recall 69i9
2012-2013 Model Year Volkswagen Beetle with Leather Sport Se
Volkswagen

PDF
- 35KB - 3 pages
4 December 2012Safety Recall
2012 – 2013 MY Beetle with Leather Sport Seats
Passenger Occupant Detection System Control Module (J706)
Volkswagen

PDF
- 794KB - 15 pages
January 2013Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Upcoming Voluntary Safety Recall 69i9
2012-2013 MY Volkswagen Beetle equipped with leather sport seats
Volkswagen

PDF
- 33KB - 2 pages
January 2013Sample Customer Letter
Safety Recall 69i9/W6
Passenger Occupant Detection System Control Module (J706)
2012-2013 Model Year Volkswagen Beetle with Leather Sport Seats
Volkswagen

PDF
- 27KB - 2 pages
7 January 2013VOLKSWAGEN DEALERSHIP COMMUNICATION
Customer Notification Dates for Voluntary Safety Recall 69i9
2012-2013 Model Year Volkswagen Beetle with Leather Sport Seats
Passenger Occupant Detection System Control Module (J706)
Volkswagen

PDF
- 35KB - 3 pages
9 January 2013Safety Recall
2012 – 2013 MY Beetle with Leather Sport Seats
Passenger Occupant Detection System Control Module (J706)
Volkswagen

PDF
- 837KB - 14 pages
April 2013QUARTERLY RECALL COMPLETION REPORT
2012-2013 Volkswagen Beetle
Volkswagen

PDF
- 106KB - 3 pages
24 July 2013QUARTERLY RECALL COMPLETION REPORT
2012-2013 Volkswagen Beetle
Volkswagen

PDF
- 48KB - 3 pages
18 October 2013QUARTERLY RECALL COMPLETION REPORT
2012-2013 Volkswagen Beetle
Volkswagen

PDF
- 417KB - 3 pages
24 January 2014QUARTERLY RECALL COMPLETION REPORT
2012-2013 Volkswagen Beetle
Volkswagen

PDF
- 71KB - 3 pages
22 April 2014QUARTERLY RECALL COMPLETION REPORT
2012-2013 Volkswagen Beetle
Volkswagen

PDF
- 415KB - 3 pages
25 July 2014QUARTERLY RECALL COMPLETION REPORT
2012-2013 Volkswagen Beetle
Volkswagen

PDF
- 414KB - 3 pages


Merchandise

Type & Item #NameDetails
Die Cast - Hot Wheels M6903-0919AVolkswagen BeetleTeam: Volkswagen, customized flat black w/grey


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
27 February 1998Decision That Nonconforming 1972-1979 Volkswagen Beetle Convertibles and 1972-1977 Volkswagen Beetle Sedans Are Eligible for ImportationFederal Register: NHTSA (Marilynne Jacobs)
27 March 2008Beetle Cop Car Gus Philpott, The Woodstock Advocate
27 May 2009Classic Cars - Volkswagen BeetleMatt Coughlan
2 May 2011How The Volkswagen Beetle Became The Most Popular Car In The WorldWilliam Jason
3 March 2012Mexiko City: Die letzten VW-Käfer nehmen ihren Abschied als TaxiWikinews
30 November 20122013 VW Beetle looks pretty cool Matt Hubbard, Speedmonkey
8 April 2013Yellow Beetle stolen from Jalopnik journalist, who uses his website to find it again! Matt Hubbard, Speedmonkey
11 February 2014VW Enter The Rallycross Arena - With A Beetle! Geoff Maxted, DriveWrite Automotive
10 March 2014Tips In Upgrading The VW Beetle StereoMiklas Kristoffersen
14 June 2016Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential NoncomplianceFederal Register: NHTSA (Jeffrey M. Giuseppe)




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