The car featured in this article is a beautiful 1967 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible. I think most people would agree that the VW Beetle is a true legendary automobile and is a increasingly popular collector car.
Germany had built new highways (autobahns) during the 1930's and the VW Beetle was inspired by it's then leader Adolph Hitler.
Hitler wanted an affordable car for the masses who could then take advantage of the country's new autobahn systems. The first VW's are referred to as a VW Bug and a Volkswagen Type 1. They are also called the "People's Car"
The VW Type 1's
The Volkswagen Beetle's design is an interesting story. In the 1920s Joseph Ganz, a motor sport magazine editor, had already made a similar design for a car that was smaller and more affordable than automobiles of that day. Automobile manufacturers showed little interest, but two motorcycle manufacturers were interested. A prototype of the Ganz designed car was built in 1929. The car was called a "Standard Superior". Three other prototypes were built in 1931, 1933 and 1934. Take a look at the 1934 prototype and you're just about looking at the VW Type 1.
As it turned out, Adolph Hitler arrested Ganz in 1933 for trumped up charges and after the arrest Ganz's designs and design specifications were confiscated by the Nazis. Joseph Ganz ended up fleeing Germany in 1934 at about the same time that Hitler contracted with Porsche.
The design for the Volkswagen Type 1 was begun in 1934 by Ferdinand Porsche and his team who were contracted for the project by Hitler. The design wasn't completed until about three years later. The cars were tested considerably. In 150,000 kilometers of test drives, the Type 1 demonstrated that it could easily maintain a speed of 100 kilometers per hour on the Autobahn. In mountain testing the VW drove pass larger automobiles. In essence, the VW Type 1 has astounding test results.
It was said that Hitler made the following comments after Ferdinand Porsche completed his design.....“Over the past four years, and with continual improvements, we have developed the Volkswagen, which we are convinced not only can be sold at the price we want, but also can be manufactured in ways that use a minimum of workers to produce the maximum amount. The model that has resulted from years of work by Dr. Porsche will undergo testing this year. It will enable millions of new customers with limited incomes to afford a car. We owe the best cars in the world to our directors, engineers, craftsmen, workers, and salesmen. Today, I am convinced that in a short time we will also build the least expensive cars.”
Because the Type 1 VW went into production near the beginning of World War Two in Europe, only a very small number of these pre war Type 1 VW's were produced. Production resumed for the European market in late 1945. 1967 VW Beetle production was reported to be 7,567 vehicles.
From 1938 to 2003 VW produced various models of the Type 1 automobile including the VW Beetle, the VW Thing and the Karmann Ghia. The Karmann Ghia, produced from 1955 to 1974 was known to some in North America as simply a "Ghia". During these years just under a half-million sporty VW Karmann Ghias were built and thousands are still on the road today.
Our Featured 1967 VW
The 1967 VW Beetle featured in this article was built in Wolfsburg Germany. Only 7,000 of these automobiles were produced. The year 1967 was significant for Volkswagen in as much as it was the first year of a 12 volt electrical system. It was the last year of all chrome bumpers with overriders and all steel dashboards. The year 1967 was the last year for bumper mounted backup lights.
Transmissions available for the 67 VW Beetle were a four speed manual, a four speed semi automatic and a three speed semi automatic.
The VW Type 1 Engine
The Volkswagen Type 1 engine was an air cooled box shaped four cylinder design. The largest Type 1 engine VW made was 1600 cc. The Type 1 engine has the cooling fan mounted on the end of the alternator shaft and is belt driven.
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Reference material for this article and books of interest include.....Hitlers Chariots : Volkswagen-from Nazi's Peoples Car to New Beetle by author Blaine Taylor....Birth of the Beetle : The Development of the Volkswagen by Porsche by author Chris Barber.
From 1936 to 2006 many types of air cooled VW engines were manufactured. The smallest engine was 1100 cc that delivered 34 horsepower. That engine was used in VW's from 1945 (at the end of World War Two) to 1953. The engines were updated over the years to eventually a size of 1600 cc in 1966.
In 1971 this engine was updated for a final time that had it delivering 50 horsepower. A muscle car engine it certainly was not but the VW Type 1 was considered very reliable and truly was a fuel efficient power plant.
(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)