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[ All VW History ]
VW History (1931 - 1999)
1875 Dr. Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1951)
1931 September 3rd, Ferdinand Porsche was born.
1934 Porsche invented the "Torsion Bar", Porsche drew first sketches of the Beetle.
1935 Adolf Hitler contracts Porsche to develop the Beetle or KdFWagen.
1936 Berlin Auto Show, Hitler announces that Porsche will design the People's Car.
1937 First road test on prototypes.
1938 Thirty prototypes called series 30 were complete.
1939 Land was forced to be sold in Wolfsburg so that the VW factory and city of KdF Stadt could be built. On May 28, 1938 a ceremony was held to commemorate the laying of the conerstone of the VW factory. This would become the largest auto factory under one roof.
1940 KdFWagen official appeared at Berlin auto show. Germany goes to war....
1942 Kubelwagens were built, German army vehicles.
Schwimmwagens were built, amphibious army vehicle.
1944 Allied bombing destroyed more that two/thirds of the Wolfsburg factory.
1945 May, the war was over. Time to restart...British forces take control of Wolfsburg area and rename the city back to Wolfsburg. Porsche was called to be interrogated for connections to Nazis. He was cleared, but then imprisoned in France with son Ferry for 2 years.
1946 1785 cars were constructed mostly by hand, they were used as army light transport
1947 Wolfsburg produced some 19,000 cars, an exported to Holland. Two handmade convertibles were constructed.
1948 Heinz Nordhoff was appointed chief executive to operate Wolfsburg. 20,000th Beetle produced. 3 Hebmuller prototypes were developed. Wilhelm Karmann Sr. modified a Beetle into a convertible.Henry Ford considered buying VW but then turned away...(The Beetle would go on to out sell the Ford Model T.)
1949 January 17th: The first official Beetle was bought in America by Ben Pon. Max Hoffman became the first importer. Hebmuller started production, but shortly there after the Wulfrath plant was destroyed by fire. 696 would be reassembled by hand with salvage parts until 1953 when Hebmuller closed out.
1950 Type 2 Transporter vans and Micro Buses went into production. 100,000th Beetle produced. 1000 Convertibles produced. Porsche celebrated his 75th birthday and finally visited the Wolfsburg plant. He broke down and cried at the site of Beetles on the Autobahn. His dream was reality.
1951 January 10th, Porsche died.
1952 Westfalia company begins converting VW vans into campers in Widenbruck, Germany. First official gathering of owners and their Beetles. The VW pick-up was put into production. Wilhelm Karmann died at age 82. Canada saw it's first official Beetle.
1953 VW plant opened in Sao Paolo, Brazil. 500,000th Beetle produced.
1954 The fist Karmann convertible was built. EMPI was started. There were 2 four seater Ghias built, but the project was reviewed and then dropped.
1955 April, Volkswagen of America was originally formed. 1 million Beetles produced. Karmann Ghia officially went on sale.
1956 April 19th, the last Transporter was built in Wolfsburg, production moved to Hannover.
1957 Karmann Ghia convertible went into production. 2 millionth Beetle produced. Double cab pick-up went into production.
1958 Volkswagen of America became a direct subsidiary of Wolfsburg.
1959 Transporters received a fully synchronized transmission. 3 millionth Beetle produced.
1960 Volks-Liner,a 17 foot wooden boat powered by a 36hp Beetle motor, was introduced. Only a few were produced. high roof Kombi were introduced. 4 millionth Beetle produced.
1961 September, The Type 3 was unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto show. Dec., 5 millionth Beetle produced.
1962 Squareback and Fastback go into production. Heinz Nordhoff dedicates Volkswagen of America headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Oct.,6 millionth Beetle and 1 millionth Transporter produced.
1963 Sept.,7 millionth Beetle produced.
1964 June, 8 millionth Beetle produced. December, 9th the millionth Beetles produced. Last year Wolfsburg would prduce the American Beetle. All Beetles in America would be produced at the Emden plant.
1965 September, 10 million Beetles produced!
1966 First official year that VW of America imported the Type III. April, 11 millionth Beetle produced. December, 12 millionth Beetle produced.
1967 Last year for split windshield Type 2.
1968 April, Heinz Nordhoff died.
1969 The "Thing" is unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
1970 Last year you could buy a convertible Beetle in standard format, only convertible Beetles in Super Beetle format were available. The Super Beetle was produced.
1971 The "Thing" went into production at the Puebla Mexico VW plant.
1972 February 12th, Beetle 15,007,034 rolled off the assembly line, breaking the Ford Model T record for total production record.
1973 The "Thing" was imported to the US. The first car ever imported from Mexico to the US.
1974 June, Beetle 11,916,519 was the last Beetle produced in Wolfsburg. Beetle production in Wolfsburg ended forever! January, Karmann Ghia production ended. Golf and Scirocco were introduced.
1975 Last year for production of the "Thing". Total sales were just 25,000. The last year for Super Beetle production. Rabbit production is begun.
1976 The Vintage Volkswagen Club of America was formed. Polo and Golf G.T.I. unveiled at Frankfurt Auto Show.
1977 Last year for the standard Beetle in the US. Only Super Beetle convertibles remained.
1978 January, Last official German built Beetle was produced at the Emden VW plant.
1980 January 10th, Karmann finished producing the convertible Beetle. The last 4,572 conv. Beetles were sold in the US. Jetta and Rabbit Pickup were introduced.
1981 20 millionth Beetle was produced in Puebla, Mexico.
1982 Quantum was introduced to the US.
1983 Second generation Golf was introduced in Europe.
1985 Rabbits became Golfs in US. Second generation Golf and Jetta introduced in US.
1987 A 1966 Beetle, owned by Albert Klein, was driven 1 million miles. Fox was introduced in the US.
1992 Vento was introduced.
1993 Fox production ended.
1994 January, Volkswagen unveiled the Concept One at the Detroit International Auto Show.
1995 Sharan Van was introduced in Europe.
1998 January,Volkswagen unveil the production model New Beetle at the Detroit International Auto Show
1998 March 14th, Eastern Canadian VW dealers officially begin sale of the New Beetle....
1999 March, After months of waiting for the awesome turbo New Beetle, some VW dealers in the US will have taken delivery. The 1999 model will boast a turbocharged 1800cc 4-cylinder engine with 5 valves per cylinder that pumps out a respectable 150hp at 5,900rpm and 155 ft-lb of torque at 4,200rpm. This is a 35hp increase in horsepower over the standard 2.0 liter gas engine.

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