The latest science report about the Volkswagen Bug (known also as the Volkswagen Beetle) you may have heard of is that it has been converted into a battery-powered vehicle. The man who made this possible is the Californian scientist-inventor David Bernardo.
What he did was explore the possibility of replacing the petrol engine with an electric motor in the models that were released from 1958 to 1966. The attempt was a huge success. Here’s a look at the changes the iconic car went through before this stunning milestone.
Ferdinand Porsche designed the “people’s car”, another name for Volkswagen. The very first model (the KdF-Wagen model) was released in 1935 and was equipped with a 700-cc 4-cylinder engine. Engine power for this vehicle was 22.5 hp. The one Bernardo built had a 74-hp engine and could run with a maximum speed of 92 mph.
In 1937, one of the car’s prototypes was adapted by the Nazi army because it fitted the specifications they required. They wanted a car that could carry three men, ammunition and a machine-gun.
Further modifications resulted in a car that was slower than the originally-adopted prototype but had a higher ground clearance, making it suitable for off-road use. This was the Kubelwagen period in the evolution of the Volkswagen.
In 1940, another prototype emerged – the Schimmwagen. The advantage it had was that it could also run in the water with a maximum speed of 6 mph. On land, its top speed was 50 mph.
Two years later, another prototype was introduced. The design for this one was a combination of the designs of two previous prototypes – the KdF-Wagen and the Kubelwagen. This was a 4x4 vehicle.
When World War II ended, the British military took over the manufacturing of Beetle cars. Production of the Kubelwagen model started in the summer of 1945, and in December of the same year, production of the KdF-Wagen also started.
However, there were limits set in designing the cars. The factory owner wanted that only one model would be produced to ensure future improvements on the model, and that the original shape of the Beetle be preserved.
Despite the limits set, the Beetle would see different modifications in its design in later years, some of them rather radical. Some of the most drastic changes took place in the 1970s when the car’s bonnet was made to be bulbous and its windscreen slightly curved. The 1302 and the 1302s versions were the results of these adjustments.
Further changes occurred in the years that followed, but quite amazingly, the Volkswagen bug managed to retain its looks and its appeal. It hasn’t changed much in its 80 years of existence.
If you are a proud owner of a Volkswagen and you need help finding parts for your car, get in touch with Meyer’s Auto Parts at (702) 431-8000. If they don’t have the parts you are looking for, they will be happy to help you get them from other sources. Meyer’s serves not only Beetle owners, but also those owning a Land Rover, BMW, Mitsubishi, or Jaguar.
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