Many people grew up with one of the most iconic cars in history, the VW Beetle. If you didn’t own one, you know someone who did. Chances are you rode in one too. The Beetle, however, has now been consigned to the pages of history as the last one rolled off the production line in Puebla, Mexico on July 10, 2019. Here’s a tribute to some of the most famous VW Beetle models of all time.
1950 Type I with Split Rear Window
Originally called the Type I, the VW Beetle was developed by auto engineer Ferdinand Porsche to become the “people’s car” of Germany in the 1930s with the ability to transport two adults and three children. This model with a split rear oval window, was the first one sold in the United States and had a maximum speed of 62 mph.
1953 Model with Single Rear Oval Window
This is the first VW Beetle to get a sight makeover with a redesigned instrument panel on the interior. Exterior changes included the single oval rear window, heart-shaped brake lamps at the top of the taillights and a flat-bottomed light illuminating the rear license plate.
Not much changed for the Beetle this year except for its rear window, which received the larger, more rectangular rear window generally associated with the car that gives the Beetle is classic, iconic look. However, that same year Porsche and the VW staff received the Elmer A. Sperry prize, an American transportation award that recognizes distinguished engineering contributions, particularly in the auto industry.
Herbie the Love Bug 1968
When it comes to classic looks, the 1968 Herbie “The Love Bug” is it. This is Volkswagen’s quintessential age of peace and love as the latter part of the 1960s made this brand famous. The car used in the movie was actually a model built in 1963, but as this film was released in 1968, the Love Bug was and always be associated with this year.
1971 Super Beetle
Sold for the first time in 1971, the Super Beetle offered additional interior room that was not available in previous years. What is remarkable about this edition is that it had nearly 43% more luggage capacity, along with a new MacPherson strut front suspension, which allowed the spare tire to lie flat under the trunk floor for the first time. this car was two inches longer and 1.4 inches wider than previous versions.
1970s Baja Bug
One of the most important modifications to the VW Beetle took place in this model year and involved the suspension., turning it into an off-road vehicle. Longer shock absorbers replaced standard ones to make the body higher, allowing for more extensive travel situations.
1997 New Beetle
Drawing on inspiration from the design of the original Beetle, but unlike the original Beetle, the New Beetle’s engine is in the hood with a storage trunk in the back, like contemporary autos.
1998 Convertible Beetle
The 1998 convertible model was part of the New Beetle design that was offered beginning in the previous year. Buyers could get cars based on the Golf IV’s larger PQ34 platform, which also incorporated a TDI compression-ignition and turbocharged. engine.
2002 New Beetle
This is the year that Volkswagen kicked the retro car fad into high gear, equipping this classic model with a number of improvements to bring it into the 21st century. The new Turbo S version brought an advanced engine that saw improved 0-60 acceleration times and included exterior features like a rear spoiler that gave the car a more sporty look.
2003 New Beetle Convertible
The following year witnessed the introduction of the new 2003 Beetle GLS Convertible. This version completed the new Beetle family with a drop-top version that hearkens back to the original Beetle’s semi-circular profile.
2006 Another New Beetle
The generation of new Beetle cars introduced in 1997 got a boost this year with the introduction of a diesel engine. Design specifications continued to reflect models of the past with vestigial running boards, sloping headlamps and large round taillights.
2012 Beetle Redesign
One of only two major redesigns, the 2012 VW Beetle incorporated a more retro look with a flatter roof and flatter hood. The car’s distinctive look, better sight lines and larger dimensions were meant to broaden its appeal.
2013 Beetle Convertible
Absent for two years from the VW lineup, the Beetle convertible reappeared this year to help appeal to a wider audience. This version had a larger engine in an attempt to jump start the brand.
During its lifetime, more than 22 million VW Beetles were sold throughout the world, making it one f the most popular cars ever produced. Few vehicles can attest to its place in modern culture. The VW Beetle became synonymous with the Peace and Love Generation of the 1960s. At the same time, it was also associated with a number of Disney movies that anthropomorphized the car and further increased its popularity. Only time will tell if the Beetle will appear, yet one thing is for certain. the VW Beetle has earned its place in history.
Executive Director, Hillside Imports
Krista Rodriguez is a Portland native working in the automotive industry for the past 18 years. An active member of the community, Krista volunteers within Tigard Tualatin School District and serves as the Treasurer for the Foundation for Tigard Tualatin Schools.