The Volkswagen Beetle dates back to the 2nd World War. In 1933 Adolf Hitler commissioned Ferdinand Porsche to develop a “Peoples Car” – a Volks Wagen. He requested the car to seat 2 adults, 2 children, and their luggage while having the ability to drive a whopping 62mph. However, they tagged it the Porsche Type 60 prototype and by 1935 it hit the market as the “V1”. Both V3 and V30 prototypes were pre-produced but with the beginning of WWII, efforts and funding toward military vehicles were prioritized.
At the end of the war the VW plant was taken control of by the US. Throughout the war, a handful of military variant Beetles were produced as well as a couple civilian models for elite Nazis. In 1945 the Americans gave the factory over to the British who were supposed to tear it down but found interest in the company. By 1946 the Brits 10,200 Beetles and by 1949 an “export” model was created. Just two years later Beetles were being exported to 29 countries.
The Beetle saw a plethora of changes throughout the next decade as it improved failures and adapted to what the public wanted. In 1970 the 1302 was released and in 1970 the 15,007,034th car of this model was sold, passing up the production numbers of the Model T Ford.
1972 was the year of the 1303 model, also deemed the “Big Beetle”. It had a more curved windshield with a shorter bonnet than the 1302. We’ve finally made it to the year of the Beetle we have for rental here at Morrie’s Heritage, the 1973 model was tagged the 1200. The basic 1200 model had the same rear lights as the 1303 that were placed on the new-design rear wings. It also had black bumpers with silver trim as you see on our favorite blue Bug.
For more details and a visual timeline of both the aircooled and watercooled VWs, click here.