Friday, December 9, 2011
Beetles and Busses. The story behind Volkswagen's air-cooled icons
Such is the life of a vintage VW owner. And you know what? They love every bit of it.
The first prototypes were little dome-shaped things designed by Ferdinand Porsche in 1932, known as the Porsche Type 12. It wasn't exactly the Beetle that we know and love today, but a lot of the basic layout and concept was similar.
At that point, the simple, tough, air-cooled cars didn't have a cute name like "Beetle." Hitler named it the KdF-Wagen, which referred to "Kraft durch Freude", sort of a Socialism fan club for Third Reich.
But as times change, so do vehicle preferences, safety requirements, and competitive offerings, The last Beetle Type 1 was sold as a new U.S. model in 1980. But the story does not even come close to stopping there.
Ultimitely, Volkswagen produced well over 22-million Type 1 Beetles, making it the fourth biggest selling vehicle of all time. That's pretty impressive, especially when you consider the car's inauspicious origins.
Despite the safety and comfort issues the Bus presented, it still has a strong and loyal following today. There has always been a market for the Bus with campers, as they enjoy the size and versatility the vehicle offers. It was also a favorite among the Woodstock/hippie generation, because in the late ‘60s, a Bus could be purchased for very little money, and it placed more of an emphasis on sacrifice and the environment than on power and excess. Plus, you could live in one for several days or even permanently.