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Volkswagen Beetle

Model Year: 1958

Location of Manufacture: Wolfsburg, Germany

The VW Beetle (Type 1) was originally intended as a family car for use on the new super highways (autobahn) in Nazi Germany. The early model was called the KDF Wagen (Kraft Deutsch Freude Wagen), which stood for “Car of the force by means of joy.”  Production halted during the Second World War but boomed in the post-war period. By 1955, 1 million cars had been built. Annual sales reached a peak of 1.3 million cars in 1971 but soon began to decline as other car makers introduced new, more modern compact models to the market.

The first Beetle appeared on the Canadian car market in 1952. By 1960, the Beetle was Canada’s third best-selling car. Canadians loved the Beetle for its reliability, unique design and low gas consumption. They also liked its low price – in 1958, a new Beetle sold for just under $1,600.

By the 1960s, the Beetle had become a cultural phenomenon, associated with the hippie movement and surf culture. The car was a symbol of freedom and youth.

The last Type 1 Beetle rolled off the production line in Puebla, Mexico in July 2003. It was car no. 21,529,464, and was the last of a model that had been produced, with only relatively small, basic changes to its design, for 58 years.