Volkswagen Beetle: The story of the world‘s most popular vintage car.

The story of the iconic bug

On the 19th January 1978, an era was coming to an end. At the factory in Emden, the last Beetle manufactured in Germany by Volkswagen rolled off the conveyor belt. From then on, the small car was produced only in Mexico and only until 2003.

21.529.46  VW-Beetles were produced globally, 16.255.500 of which in Germany. This makes the Beetle the most popular car of all times. In Germany alone, roughly 26.800 vehicles are registered with the historic H-plate. Even if the Beetle was built in very large quantities, it has become difficult today to purchase a vehicle in good conditions. This includes spare parts.

The cars built in Germany, in particular, have their costs, as they are less susceptible to rust than their brothers from Mexico.

For a Beetle in good structural conditions one pays nowadays on avarage at least € 5,000.00. More rare model series, like the 1302, special editions like the Pink Beetle or the Jeans Bug or restored vehicles cost almost € 10,000.00.

A short chronology of the Beetle‘s story

1934: On the 22nd of June, the „Reich Association of the German Automobile Industry“ Ferdinand Porsche commissions the construction of a „folk‘s wagon“.

1935: The first prototypes are formed, with air-cooled boxer engine, 22,5 HP and 700 cc. Two further vehicles are built under type designation VW3.

1937: For long-term loading tests, the German Association of the Automotive Industry have 30 vehicles built, which collectively cover 2.4 million test kilometers.

1938: After a second review, the production model 38 is formed, which for the first time boasts the characteristic pretzel window, footboards and bumpers. The car, with an air-cooled four-cylinder boxer engine, a displacement of 986 cc and 24 HP, weighs 750 kilograms. Together with Limousine, Cabriolet and Limousine with rolling roof, three model variants are presented.

1945: In August, the British Military Government commissions the Volkswagen plant with the delivery of 20,000 limousines. The serial production of the Volkswagen Beetle starts in December, 55 vehicles are assembled.

1946: On the 14th October, the 10,000th Volkswagen is manufactured.

1949: On the 8th of January, the first two limousines from the Netherlands are shipped to the USA. On the 13th of May, the 50,000th Volkswagen since the end of the war is manufactured. On the 1st of June, the four-seater Cabriolet Type 15, based on the Volkswagen Export Model, built by Karmann, makes its debut.

1951: The Volkswagen is exported already into 29 countries. In October, the production exceeds 250,000.

1953: On the 3rd of July, the 500,000th Volkswagen comes off the production line. The export takes now place into 86 countries.

1954: In January, the 30-hp-engine is demonstrated, which allows a top speed of 110 kph (68 mph).

1955: On the 8th of August, one million Volkswagen are completed.

1962: The 5,000,000th Beetle rolls off the assembly line.

1964: With the foundation of „Volkswagen de Mexico, S.A de C.V“ in Mexico City, Volkswagen is now able to produce with self-energy. On the 1st of December, the serial production begins at the Volkswagen plant of Emden.

1967: The 10,000,000th Beetle is manufactured. The „Basic“  Volkswagen Beetle (Sparkäfer) 1200 with 34-hp-engine is available from January. The vehicle‘s safety is increased through the implementation of the safety steering column and the 3-point harness.

1968: The Volkswagen officially becomes in advertising „the Beetle“.

1972: On the 17th of February, with the 15,007,034th Beetle, the manufacturing record of the Ford Model T is set.

1974: On the 1st of July, at 11:29, the last Beetle comes off the production line at the main factory in Wolfsburg. In August, the manufacturing of the Volkswagen 1303 A is stopped.
The GSR 1303 S was assembled only 3,500 times. Therefore, it is nowadays particularly saught-after by the lovers of vintage cars.

1978: On the 19th of January, the last Beetle manufactured in Germany rolls off the construction belt in Emden‘s plant. A total of 16,255,500 Beetles were manufactured in Germany. Overseas, more than 1,000 Beetles are produced daily. The Mexico Beetle is a Volkswagen 1200 L with a 34-hp engine.

1980: On the 10th of January, the last convertible Beetle rolls off the production belt at Karmann, Osnabrück. A total of 330,281 convertibles were manufactured.

1981: On the 15th of May, the 20,000,000th Beetle was produced at the „Volkswagen de México“ in Puebla.

1985: On the 12th of August, the last ship arrives in Emden with a load of Beetles.

2002: On the 25th of June, the production figure of Golf, with 21,517,415 copies, passes the one of the Beetle. Golf assumes the title of most manufactured Volkswagen model.

2003: The last Beetle manufactured by Volkswagen rolls off the production line in July, at the „Volkswagen de México“, Mexico.

„Última Edición“: In July 2003, the very last Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the production belt in Puebla. A total of around 21.5 million copies were manufactured.