In 1945 a style icon was born when Erwin Komenda and Ferdinand Porsche came together to combine their impressive skills in auto design and innovative engineering - the resulting love child was the famous Volkswagen Beetle.
The VW Beetle - Bestselling Car
The VW Beetle became the world's bestselling automobile in 2003 when the latest in the series were released, bringing the total number of VWs built to over 21.5 million. Even with all the design innovations added the Volkswagen since its birth in 1945, all the Beetles in the series clearly follow the same style ethos, with few major changes in the first few decades of its existence.
Hollywood's Love Affair
Once labelled by British Auto experts as "Too ugly and noisy. Quite unattractive to the average motorcar buyer", the VW Beetle came to be the must-have car of generations of Californian hippies, college kids and surfers who came to see the car as the premier icon of the Southern California beach and coast culture.
Beetle-mania came to Hollywood in 1968 with the release of Disney's hit film The Love Bug, a film featuring Herbie - an emotional, human-like car which happened to be a VW Beetle. Herbie went on to star in six more Disney films and spawned an early line of movie tie-in toys, which fetch big prices on eBay today with "Dirty Herbie", a junkyard model, and a giant stuffed plush version leading the way.
The Beetle Family
The VW Beetle was officially launched in the US in the early 1960s with a fantastical advertising campaign "Think Small", playing on what some perceived as a disadvantage. It was partially due to the success of the ad campaign and the Beetle's inherent quality, affordability and reliability that helped to ensure that it as the biggest selling car in America during the 1960s. Billboard campaigns proclaimed the low purchase price openly, leading many to start packing away their pennies to afford the somewhat piggy-bank shaped car.
Over the years the world has been introduced to the Beetle in different costuming, including the soft-top, the sports car, and my personal favorite, the VW Beetle Van. In 1998 a new, sleeker model of the VW Beetle was sold, yet it lacked the quirky charm, design-wise, of the original Beetle. This led Volkswagen to release a new Beetle in 2003 based on the original body of the VW Beetle with all the modern comforts added.
www.beetle.com - The Volkswagen Beetle is back, and it's better than ever. Here's where you can find the information you need about the various models, their features
Follow Justin Howard, Culture & Lifestyle Writer @jthnomad