Volkswagen Beetle

The Volkswagen Beetle was born from an idea by Adolf Hitler’s to provide affordable motoring for the masses. During the deepening recession in mid-30’s Germany, Hitler decided that a huge road building scheme would cure Germany’s immediate unemployment problems and then a car would be produced that Germany’s ordinary citizens could afford. Ferdinand Porsche was asked to design such a car but under the strict guidelines Hitler proposed. Porsche designed the first rear-engined, air-cooled car, Hitler gave the go-ahead for production to begin and a factory was built in Wolfsburg. However, very few cars were produced, W.W.II was about to begin, the company’s attention turned to aero engine production. Production began again in 1945 with a very basic 1100cc model with a none-synchromesh gearbox, and cable brakes. In the USA, the model started a small-car revolution as millions of drivers; looking for a cheap second car, fell in love with the Beetle’s good build quality, practicality and thrifty running costs. The size of the flat-four pushrod engine increased from 1131 to 1200cc in the 50’s. Demands for a speedier, more modern Beetle were replied to in the 60’s with the 1300 and 1500cc models, which now had gained an all-synchromesh gearbox and was available with disc brakes and even a semi-auto transmission.


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