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Throwback Thursday: Why they can’t kill the Beetle

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beetle

The Beetle combined design, simplicity and economy to become the world’s highest selling car.

Let me tell you something about the phenomenal curve shaped, aerodynamic, four wheel suspension that went on to become the most famous car in the world.

In 1931, Adolf Hitler wanted an affordable, easy to drive vehicle that could be mass produced for his country men, something that could cruise on the German expressway system. So he formulated the functional objectives of a four wheel which afterwards was designed by Bela Barenyi. But it was only after the World War that Ferdinand Porsche and his team finalized and produced the first Volkswagen car in Germany. Volkswagen is a German phrase that means “the people’s car”. Production however, was largely slowed down in the 30’s due to the war.

By the end of 1940, significant numbers of the 25hp Volkswagen type 1 car was being produced in Germany with a top speed of 100 km/h (62mph) for civilians.

The car later became marketed as the Beetle in its home country, due to its unusual curvy shape and features, but as Volkswagen in other countries. However, its unique shape very easily sold it as the beetle or bug in practically every country it found itself, according to their various languages.

The Beetle was a die hard, rugged two door saloon which also presented in convertibles. Its iconic, easily recognizable features with simple maintenance and readily available parts made it a priceless asset. It wore a buggy eyed smile due to its rounded headlamps and curved fenders and its double exhaust gave it a unique rusty sound that became its signature.

The Volkswagen beetle is one of the very few cars that had it’s engine at its rear and the boot in front where the spare tyre also stays.
The fuel tank was located inside the boot as well so you had to open the boot for a refill.

Over twenty one million units were produced in the sixty five years of its production, making it the most manufactured car of a single platform ever.

By the 1960s, demand for the car had risen so high that it became the highest selling car in the world at that time, serving different purposes across the globe. Some countries even used it as police cars.

In the 1999 Car of the Century competition, the Volkswagen type 1 came fourth on the list of most influential cars of the century.

In 1997, Volkswagen unveiled a new Beetle model. This one bore the iconic buggy shape of the original beetle but it was an entirely different car. It looked prettier than the rugged 1930 version, had its engine in front and most of its engineering system was similar to the Volkswagen Golf not the beetle.

Production of the old model Beetle continued nonetheless as demands for it kept up. However, the last rear engined Beetle was produced Mexico in 2003.

Now, if you didn’t have the distinguished privilege of riding in a Volkswagen beetle which by the way is fast becoming extinct today, I hope I have helped you familiarize with this rare, low center of gravity, cultural phenomenon that came close to being the most advanced car of its time.

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Uche Onunkwo
I am Uche Onunkwo, an optimistic journalist with a flair for adventures. I am a presenter, a writer, storyteller, an editor, and a voice over artist.

3 Comments

  1. Wow! Volkswagen ijapa, the famous tortoise car. My dad had one o, and he used to drive us to school with it.

    1. Azz in enh….. As we are approaching school, my classmates can already tell that we are the ones coming. The sound of that beetle though.

  2. Can’t imagine car engine at the back of the car.

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