77 years old today – 28th May 2014

Source: www.history.com Author: Unknown

On this day in 1937, the government of Germany–then under the control of Adolf Hitler of the National Socialist (Nazi) Party–forms a new state-owned automobile company, then known as Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH. Later that year, it was renamed simply Volkswagenwerk, or “The People’s Car Company.”

Originally operated by the German Labor Front, a Nazi organization, Volkswagen was headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. In addition to his ambitious campaign to build a network of autobahns and limited access highways across Germany, Hitler’s pet project was the development and mass production of an affordable yet still speedy vehicle that could sell for less than 1,000 Reich marks (about $140 at the time). To provide the design for this “people’s car,” Hitler called in the Austrian automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche. In 1938, at a Nazi rally, the Fuhrer declared: “It is for the broad masses that this car has been built. Its purpose is to answer their transportation needs, and it is intended to give them joy.” However, soon after the KdF (Kraft-durch-Freude)-Wagen (“Strength-Through-Joy” car) was displayed for the first time at the Berlin Motor Show in 1939, World War II began, and Volkswagen halted production. After the war ended, with the factory in ruins, the Allies would make Volkswagen the focus of their attempts to resuscitate the German auto industry.

Volkswagen sales in the United States were initially slower than in other parts of the world, due to the car’s historic Nazi connections as well as its small size and unusual rounded shape. In 1959, the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach launched a landmark campaign, dubbing the car the “Beetle” and spinning its diminutive size as a distinct advantage to consumers. Over the next several years, VW became the top-selling auto import in the United States. In 1960, the German government sold 60 percent of Volkswagen’s stock to the public, effectively denationalizing it. Twelve years later, the Beetle surpassed the longstanding worldwide production record of 15 million vehicles, set by Ford Motor Company’s legendary Model T between 1908 and 1927.

With the Beetle’s design relatively unchanged since 1935, sales grew sluggish in the early 1970s. VW bounced back with the introduction of sportier models such as the Rabbit and later, the Golf. In 1998, the company began selling the highly touted “New Beetle” while still continuing production of its predecessor. After nearly 70 years and more than 21 million units produced, the last original Beetle rolled off the line in Puebla,Mexico, on July 30, 2003.

New Kid on the Block

Christian Tracey, Guest Writer

 Christian Tracey, age 19,West Sussex, GSOH, Aircooled Fanatic.

4 Welcome all, my name is Christian and I am the new kid on the block. Please don’t forget to say hello on your way out. I am very thankful for the opportunity to write on behalf of ClassicVolks.com and I take the great pleasure of sharing my story to all of you interested folk. I am writing to you all because I want to share my passion for all things aircooled, reporting on the shows I attend and hopefully inspire a few of you, especially the youngsters to get involved in classic cars after reading my stories.

DSCF9158 My love for VW Beetle’s personally has been a recent affair, spawning in April 2013. However, the love of Beetle’s has been very strong with my family ever since the late 1970’s! Since my family bought their first aircooled VW, as a collective we have owned in excess of 25 Beetle’s ranging from US Cabriolets to a custom dragster.

 After a 10 year hiatus, a young 18 year old at the time (me if you didn’t deduce) was looking for his first car. I wanted something that was a little bit different, something that perfectly complimented my quirky character and was guaranteed to show up any modern supermini, if it started in the morning of course.

 Anyway, I set my eyes on a bright purple 1972 1600 Bug and instantly fell in love with it, I named it Lola after its L registration and it was completely SLAMMED. My best friend instantly thought it was typical of me to buy something as left-field as a purple classic Beetle, to his quip I laughed and quietly agreed. However, we quickly realised that we bought a deathtrap which needed more welding than most projects. Despite that, I tried my best and progressed a long way into its restoration before selling her on 2 months later over safety fears. Although, it brought back many memories of old for my parents and before long we bought another, and another and so on until in a space of a year there was five on our property (and two in our garden) and finally admitted we didn’t partake in just a hobby of restoring Beetle’s but owned a full blown restoration empire!

 I am now personally the proud owner of a 1968 US-Spec VW 1500 with a cracking Alpine speaker system and numerous rare additions such as US Spec chrome rear light and rear numberplate light housings which are popular with Baja Bug owners, highly sought after and custom Cream + Red, one year only ‘Highback’ seats topping off with our mascot, the Tango Man which has been with us in various Beetle’s for as long as I can remember! He is named McCartney after the legend Sir Paul McCartney coupled with an apt use of wordplay on the word Beetle.

67 Currently, I am documenting my progress of the Fab Five at my own blog, Caught The VW Bug, which produces a not too technical, yet surprisingly humorous insight into Beetle restoration as well as the shows we plan to visit and what the little characters get up to in their spare time!

 My plan for this summer will be certainly a busy and very dirty one. At the time of writing, 3 Beetle’s are chomping at the bit to get on the road in the form of a ’75 1200, a ’77 Last Edition and a rare ’67 which I will have the pleasure of transforming these bugs from rustbuckets to show stoppers. On top of that, I will be attending various shows around my neck of the woods and reporting on them both on the blog and with ClassicVolks.com.

 It’s all very exciting and I invite you to follow this rollercoaster journey.

 Blog2See you on the other side fellow Vee-Dubbers!

 Christian Tracey

 You can follow my antics here at Caught The VW Bug:

http://caughtthevwbug.blogspot.co.uk/

 Or view my images over on Pinterest:

http://www.pinterest.com/christiantracey/