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What Is the Volkswagen Beetle?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

The Volkswagen Beetle is a type of car; it is officially known as the Volkswagen Type 1, though it is called the Beetle because of its shape, which somewhat resembles the shape of a beetle. The car was in production for around 70 years, and it has become a collector's item throughout the world. It is often purchased and refurbished by the owners, and some even renovate the Beetle to serve other purposes; dune buggies are often made by modifying a Beetle, which is sometimes called a Bug. The car has also been a steady presence in pop culture, making appearances in film, television, and literature.

The origins of the Volkswagen Beetle can be traced back to Europe in the mid 1930s. The car was a compact, affordable, and functional vehicle produced for regular consumption by consumers. It was considered a more comfortable alternative to other compact cars being designed during that era, and the Volkswagen Beetle featured a unique engine and cooling configuration uncommon during that era. The engine was mounted at the rear of the vehicle instead of at the front, and the trunk of the car was located where the engine compartment would normally be, at the front of the vehicle. The aerodynamic shape of the car allowed air to pass through the grate at the rear of the car to cool the engine efficiently.

The Volkswagen Beetle has been in production for about 70 years.
The Volkswagen Beetle has been in production for about 70 years.

The design of the Volkswagen Beetle was exceptionally simple, and the components were often made of lightweight materials to reduce the overall weight of the car. The interior of the Beetle was compact and simple; designers avoided excesses such as painted trim and excessive upholstery, and much of the interior was metal. The Beetle did feature a back seat, which was quite small yet functional.

While several redesigns took place over the course of the nearly 70 years the Beetle was in production, the overall plans for the car remained fairly consistent. A major redesign occurred in the early 1990s, and the "new Beetle" resembled the old version in many ways but featured updated technology and styling. The body shape of the new Beetle was more streamlined and was made with more modern materials. The interior of the car was upholstered and made with comfort and aesthetics in mind. The interior was also larger to allow for more comfort room among all passengers. In 2011, another revamped design for the Volkswagen Beetle was announced, which was said to be marketed to men and women alike.

Discussion Comments


The classic Volkswagon bus of the 1970s is an iconic representation of the hippie lifestyle of the day. Still a very cool way to travel!


A very interesting point about the Volkswagon is the meaning of its name - Car of the People or The Peoples' Car. Either way, it was made in Germany to help give the general population access to travel for a whole new, predictable, affordable and dependable lifestyle.

The Volkswagon's new beetle is still predictable and affordable.

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    • The Volkswagen Beetle has been in production for about 70 years.
      By: gumbao
      The Volkswagen Beetle has been in production for about 70 years.