Beetle: The Iconic Model Of Volkswagen

Beetle: The Iconic Model Of Volkswagen

The Beetle holds the record for the longest-running and most-produced car ever in history. This vehicle was born to meet the need for a people’s car, the cheap and simple one for normal people to own.

Despite having been manufactured in 1938, this iconic model wasn’t called the Beetle until 1968.

Stay tuned as we walk you through the history and development of the Beetle as well as the scandal related to it.

The Beetle History

Volkswagen is a German word that translates to “The People’s Car.” The origin of this car dates back to the time of the leader of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler. He wanted an affordable yet practical automobile to be produced in large quantities for the new road network in Germany.

In 1938, Ferdinand Porsche, a lead engineer, and his team finalized the design. The result was the Volkswagen Type 1, one of the first rear-engined vehicles.

Fast forward to 1968, the name “the Beetle” was given to this car. Before adopting the name, it was marketed in Europe as VW 1200/1300/1500. Similarly, in France, it was sold as the Coccinelle, which translates to ladybug in French.

Due to the popularity of the Beetle, it went down in history as the most produced car ever. “The People’s Car” was mainly favored by economically conscious customers, gaining more popularity for its durability, price, fuel economy, and quality.

For German citizens, “The People’s Car” was available and affordable to them for 990 Reichsmark, about the cost of a small motorcycle.

It would interest you to know that in the 1999 car of the century competition, the Volkswagen Type 1 came in fourth place after Ford model T, the Citroën DS, and the Mini. This competition aimed to determine the world’s most influential car of the 20th century.

The Beetle Development

The VW Type 1 or the Beetle was a two-door, rear-engine economy vehicle and could accommodate up to five people. It was in production from 1938 through 2003. After the success of the Beetle, the manufacturer saw more development, leading to the Volkswagen Type 2.

The Volkswagen Type 2 received nicknames such as minibus, macro bus, and hippie van. However, it was officially known as the transporter, microbus, or kombi. People could purchase this vehicle in four body styles; the 4/5-door panel van, 4/5-door minibus, 2-door pickup, and 4-door pickup. However, the production of this model was discontinued on December 31, 2013.

In 1961, Type 3, the successor to Type 2, was introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA). It was on the market from 1961 to 1973. Furthermore, it was sold as the Volkswagen 1500, later the Volkswagen 1600. Like the VW Type 2, you could buy the Type 3 in different body styles: Fastback, Variant, and two-door Notchback.

In 1968, Volkswagen introduced the first onboard computer system in their fuel-injected Type 3 models. Thus, the Volkswagen Type 3 is the first car to use the onboard diagnostic system.

Unlike Type 3, a compact car, Type 4 was a large family car sold from 1968-to 1974 by Volkswagen. It came in three body styles and evolved through two generations (411 and 412 series). The body styles included a 2-door coupé, a 4-door fastback sedan, and a 3-door station wagon.

The Scandal Related To The 1968 Beetle

The name Ted Bundy can’t be forgotten when discussing the history of the 1968 Beetle. He was a serial killer who preyed on women. His killing spree started in 1974 when he assaulted an 18-year-old University of Washington freshman named Joni Lenz. His kill count skyrocketed as he continued kidnapping and killing women at an alarming rate of one woman per month.

Subsequently, stories started spreading about a man in crutches or arms bound with a plaster cast named Ted. He would plead with unsuspecting young women to help him carry ski boots, books, or any other item into his 1968 Beetle. This car was missing its passenger seat. But it was removed intentionally to lay his victims flat after luring them in.

The police pulled over Bundy on August 15, 1975. In his Volkswagen Beetle, the police found rather suspicious items. He was arrested for fleeing the police. However, Ted was later released despite his behavior and the strange items found.

Fast forward to six days after his release. Ted was arrested again for possession of burglary tools. The police took photos of his Volkswagen Beetle. But he was still granted bail. A day later, Bundy sold the car to a teenager.

In October 1975, several witnesses pointed out Ted from a police lineup which led to charges of murder and kidnapping. While thoroughly inspecting his vehicle for further evidence, hairs that matched the victims were found inside, leading to his incarceration.

Sadly, it didn’t end here. After doing some time in jail, Ted Bundy escaped and kept on killing. Fortunately, he met his Waterloo in 1978 in Florida after he was caught in a stolen orange Volkswagen Beetle. He was sentenced to death by the electric chair and was executed on January 24, 1989. Before his death, he confessed to thirty murders but alluded to several others.

Despite the scandal related to the 1968 Volkswagen Beetle, it has remained a classic till today. There’s some good news; you have the opportunity to see the iconic VW Beetle by visiting a museum. Think of it as taking a dive into the past

You can visit one of the following museums if you’d like to see the Beetle in person.

Lemay – Americans Car Museum

Address: 2702 East D Street, Tacoma, WA 98421

Open Hour: 10 AM – 5 PM Thursday – Monday

Ticket:

  • Adults: $18
  • Seniors (Age 65+): $16
  • Active Duty Military: $16*
  • Young Adult (Ages 13-18): $14
  • Youth (Ages 6-12): $10
  • Child (5 and under): Free

Auto World Museum

Address: 200 Peacock Dr, Fulton, MO 65251

Open Hour: 9 AM – 4 PM Friday – Sunday

Ticket:

  • Adults $10
  • Children ages 4 – 12 $6
  • Senior (60+) / Military $9
  • AAA $9
  • ​Children with AAA / military $5
  • Group of 6 or more $8 each
  • Any group home $6 each
  • ​Bus drivers & chaperones FREE
  • ​One-year memberships available

Image via Trent Cherry

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AACA Museum, Inc.

AACA Museum, Inc.

AACA Museum, Inc. at Hershey is a professionally staffed, collecting institution presenting semi-permanent and temporary exhibitions. Exhibitions are supported by educational programs for school and community audiences. It sponsors workshops and other activities...

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Estrella Warbird Museum

Estrella Warbird Museum

The Estrella Warbirds Museum is dedicated to the restoration and preservation of military aircraft, military vehicles, and memorabilia of those who flew and worked on military aircraft. 

Their approach, however, is not to glorify conflict but rather to make a future generation aware of the fact our way of life does not come without sacrifice. They are also home to the incredible Woodland Auto Display.

4251 Dry Creek Rd
Paso Robles, CA 93446
P:
805-238-9317
Email: info@klairmontkollections.com

Estrella Warbird Museum Admission:

Adults -$12
Children 6-12 years $5
Toddlers under 6 FREE
Students with student photo ID Card $8.00
Seniors 60+ $10.00
Military Veterans $10.00
Active Military with current ID card FREE

Plan: 1hr

Estrella Warbird Museum Hours:

Thursday – Sunday 10am – 4pm

ewarbirds.org/

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Historic Rides offered by Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum

Historic Rides offered by Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum

Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum Will Begin Offering Car Rides in Historic 100-Year-Old Packard

Visitors will be transported back in time as they travel from the museum to a nearby lake in the refurbished car

SAPULPA, Oklahoma – The photo-friendly Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum located in Sapulpa will soon be offering visitors a chance to take a ride in a 100-year-old car along backroads from the museum to nearby Pretty Water Lake.

The rides, lasting about 30 minutes for up to four people at a time, will allow guests to travel back in time as they traverse the countryside in a 1922 Packard. Those interested in reserving a ride are asked to call the museum at 918-216-1171 to reserve their spot.  The rides will start on Saturday, June 4, 2022, and leave the museum at 30-minute intervals. They will be offered on Saturdays through November 2022.

“It’s kind of an homage to driving along these two-lane, tree-lined roads,” said Richard Holmes, founder of the Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum.

The rides will last approximately 30 minutes and cost $11 per person. Visitors have long enjoyed snapping photos in the car at the famed museum, and now they will get a chance to ride in the car as well.

Made in the United States, Packard cars were considered the finest cars in the country, Holmes said. They stopped being manufactured in 1958. Robert and Carol Parker of Tulsa loan their 1922 Packard to the Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum and are excited to have it restored and available for rides to Pretty Water Lake. A group of volunteers worked for about two months earlier this year to get the mechanics of the car up and running, Holmes said.

The Heart of Historic Route 66 Auto Museum opened to much fanfare in 2016. Museum officials secured a lease agreement for the decommissioned 45th National Guard Armory in Sapulpa on April 1, 2015. They began to completely renovate the space and turned it into a museum. By August 2016, the museum opened for visitors.

Known for the photo-friendly 66-foot replica gas pump in front of the building, approximately 20,000 people have visited the museum since it opened its doors. Visitors have come from every U.S. state and nearly 100 countries.

ABOUT THE HEART OF ROUTE 66 AUTO MUSEUM

Located just off historic Route 66 in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, the Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum showcases a variety of cars, motorcycles, and memorabilia. It is located at 13 Sahoma Lake Road in Sapulpa. For more information, visit heartofroute66.org.

Image via Lina Holmes

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Roy Peter Bach Auto Museum

Roy Peter Bach Auto Museum

Roy Peter Bach Auto Museum is a new auto museum with vintage and antique automobiles and other auto collectibles.

1411 105th Avenue
Larned, KS 67550

Email: sftac.76@gmail.com

Roy Peter Bach Auto Museum Admission:

Unknown
Plan: 1hr

Roy Peter Bach Auto Museum Hours:

Tuesday & Thursday 1pm – 4pm

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Malcolm Pray Achievement Center

Malcolm Pray Achievement Center

The Malcolm Pray Achievement Center is located in Bedford, NY, and houses a collection of antique and collectible automobiles spanning over 100 years of automotive history.

While the visits to the museum and educational activities are free, the Pray Family Foundation can offer a partial subsidy for transportation costs on a case, by case, basis.

16 Bedford-Banksville Rd
Bedford, NY 10506
P: 
914-234-2579
Email: malcolmprayachievementcenter@gmail.com

Malcolm Pray Achievement Center Admission:

Free
Plan: 1hr

Malcolm Pray Achievement Center Hours:

Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm or By Appointment

prayachievementcenter.org

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