On February 17, 1972, Beetle overtook the Model T as the world's best-selling car, breaking the more than 40-year record held by Ford. Here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about the Volkswagen Beetle...
Porsche Designed the Beetle Ferdinand Porsche, the developer of one of the world’s most popular sports cars, and his son, designed the Volkswagen Beetle. His main objectives were to design a vehicle that was inexpensive to purchase and repair, and had an air-cooled engine. The first vehicles rolled off the production line in 1939, although early production was limited due to World War II.
Americans Didn’t Like the Beetle at First The Volkswagen Beetle was introduced in 1949 to the United States. However, because of World War II, Americans were leery of buying anything that was produced in Germany, and only two cars were purchased that year. By the time the 1960s rolled around, the Beetle had become extremely popular, and 570,000 were purchased in the United States in 1970.
The Legendary Volkswagen Began in Nazi Germany It was German Chancellor Adolf Hitler who commissioned a “people’s car” in 1937, which could carry five people. The first factory to produce Volkswagens was in Wolfsburg, Germany, and the town itself was built for the employees who would be building the cars. Estimates for the first Volkswagens were in reichsmarks but would have ranged in American dollars from $140 up to $250 at the time.
It Isn’t Called the Beetle Worldwide The Volkswagen Beetle wasn’t called a Beetle at first, but the name became popular after it was referred to by that name in 1938 in an article published by The New York Times. In France, it is called the French word for ladybug; in Italian, it translates to Beetle, just as in the United States. The nickname in Bolivia is turtle; and in Indonesia, it is called the frog.
The Volkswagen Beetle Has Appeared in Many Movies Most people are familiar with Herbie, the Volkswagen Beetle that appeared in a number of Disney movies, including The Love Bug in 1969, Herbie Rides Again in 1974 and Herbie: Fully Loaded in 2005. However, the VW Beetle appears in a number of movies, from Vertigo and Steven King's The Shining to Footloose and The Big Lebowski, which highlights its popularity with the American public over the years.