The Type 1, Bug, or “The People’s Car”: multiple names for a certain model may be confusing, but there’s no other like the Volkswagen Beetle. Everybody loves this car. It utilized a very simple, yet reliable, design that made it very consistent and unchanged for many decades. The unmistakable bug may be the most recognized car in the world. Even if it was modernized for the newer models near the turn of the century, it still kept the same essentials that made the car very appealing. If there’s a vehicle that easily relates to the people, it’s a safe bet that it has to be “The People’s Car”, the Volkswagen Beetle.
1938: Original Porsche-innovations on the classic Type 1
Thanks to the genius of Ferdinand Porsche who penned the look and make of the Volkswagen Beetle, he used ingenious and groundbreaking technologies on the car’s design to virtually make it the only car one will ever need. These reinforced the car’s reliable reputation. For the longest time, some of the components that stayed on the car are the following:
First among these are torsion bars and stabilizers that were uncommon for cars at that time. This addition to the suspension system gave it a steady base to support the car under any road condition. With few adjustments, the same car was able to travel on snow, sand, dust, and even manageable water levels.
The oil cooler on the Beetle was a technology that can be found mostly only on today’s sports cars. No matter the operating conditions, oil is kept cold enough to take away heat from the engine. Overheating was not a problem.
An air cleaner, with functions similar to the modern-day cold-air intake, was available on the classic Bug. A metallic net caught dirt to ensure that the air used is always clean. Its strong construction and clever placement required only simple maintenance.
1960s-1970s: Minor mid-century additions
After 30 years, the Beetle’s original design was still compatible to accommodate changes that were introduced around the 60s. Two of these are the inclusion of an automatic transmission and a catalytic muffler. The automatic transmission was available for the Beetle during the late 60s. Come the 70s, environmental concerns were rising. One of the solutions at that time was to improve and limit car exhausts, especially on old cars. A catalytic muffler—a new technology at that time—was compatible for the Beetle.
1998-present: Volkswagen New Beetle
As timeless as the Type 1 was, Volkswagen still found it necessary to change with current demands. The 1998 model year saw the release of an all-new Volkswagen Beetle. This new car is mostly based on the Volkswagen Golf. It has a sleeker body, computerized features, and refined components. Buyers have a coupe and convertible option. Engine choices also vary between gasoline and diesel. Modern safety features, such as airbags, are also included. All these were introduced while still staying as close as possible to the look and appeal of Porsche’s original design.