t-1Has there ever been a vehicle that has stayed the course with more endurance than the Volkswagen Beetle?

A few perhaps, Citroen no doubt would throw the 2CV into the ring – although the production run was shorter by some distance. The Ford Fiesta shows no signs of flagging, but with production starting not-so-long-ago in 1976, the small Ford has some way to go before it reaches the longevity of the Beetle.

Dreamed up by VW when the Fuhrer was still in power, the Beetle entered solid production after the war and was an instant success. It remained purely in its original form until 1953, when the first modifications took place. These also coinciding with the first imports of the iconic vehicle into the UK.

Visibility had always been an issue with the Beetle, the original split rear window was one noticeable flaw on an otherwise effortlessly effective small car. To address this, VW enlarged and reprofiled the window. More power was added, the engine enlarged to 1192cc, ramping up power to 30bhp. At the time, this allowed the Beetle to keep easily up to speed with its contemporaries.

The status of the Beetle as an iconic classic will never be in doubt. Even the newer editions are widely sought after, despite production finishing as recently as 2003.


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