Punch Buggy No Punch Backs! VW celebrates 65 years for the Beetle
January 17th 1949. The first cars of what will turn out to be some of the most iconic and least forgettable the world has ever seen, arrive into the New York Harbor from Rotterdam. Just after the war, Volkswagen began operations once again in Wolfsburg, which was decimated during the second world war. The Allied forces tried to dismantle the plant until a Major by the name of Ivan Hirst convinced the British military to use it’s product as a means of light transport. This product was the VW Beetle. Over 1700 Type 1 Beetle’s were produced in 1945.
The type 1 Beetle was deemed by the British to be too ugly and noisy, and too unattractive to the average car buyer. Little did they know how the Beetle would continue its legacy — keeping a relatively similar design for over 65 years. If you take a trip to a Volksfest event it is still relatively easy to spot Type 1 Beetles still kicking around — although don’t quote me on whether or not they are still running with their original factory engine’s.
Fast forward to the present day and Volkswagen has announced the plan to celebrate a car that simply went up against all odds and emanated victorious. From 1949 to 1977 exactly 21,529,464 Beetles were produced around the world. Volkswagen kept with the Beetle because when something sells that much, you don’t just stick around and look at it, you run with it. From these humble beginnings, Volkswagen has become an automobile empire — with 11 models of Volkswagen in production today and over 10 car manufactures under the Volkswagen group name. The brand that was almost wiped out during the Second World War has done everything under the sun except defy gravity.
So the next time you hit your friend on the shoulder saying “punch buggy, no punch backs!” just know that that little Bug is one of the world’s most influential and culturally rich vehicles that have ever been made.