Old versus new. The VW Beetle has changed a lot in the past 65 years. The VW Beetle is old enough to start considering retirement, though the “Bug” doesn’t show any signs of skittering off into the sunset anytime soon. It’s hard to believe the Beetle has been with us for 65 years now.
VW has sold more than 5.5 million Beetles just in the U.S. market.
A by-product of Nazi Germany’s plan to mobilize its citizens with a cheap and reliable automobile, the Beetle somehow survived the war and transformed itself into a globally-recognized automotive icon.
The original Beetle had its engine mounted in the back – the basic design formed the basis for the Porsche 356 sports car.By the 1960s, VW’s lineup (most notably the Beetle and Microbus) were on a high of strong sales, thanks in large part to their association with the hippie movement and Flower Power.
The original Beetle’s cabin was notably short on frills, but the car had tons of charm.
It didn’t hurt that the Beetle was cheap to run, even cheaper to fix, and was an absolute gas-sipper. Here in the U.S., the original Beetle lasted until the late 1970s. It would take approximately 20 years for a suitable replacement to come along and, when it did, ‘Beetlemania’ hit America once again.
The cabin of the current Beetle proves what a difference 65 years can make in the car world. Over 5.5 million Beetles have been sold in the U.S. The third generation model, revamped in 2011, continues to carry the torch for a new generation of Beetle fans.
The current Beetle is available as a coupe (pictured here) and convertible. High performance turbocharged variants are available, along with fuel-sipping TDI diesel-powered models.
VW sold 43,000 Beetle units in the United States last year.