100 Cars That Changed History

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“>CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

97. Volkswagen Beetle 1946–2003 Germany

The Beetle was a two-door, rear-engine economy car manufactured by German automaker Volkswagen from 1938 until 2003. It was Adolf Hitler who first formulated the need for a cheap, simple, functional automobile to mass produced for Germany. Though some were produced in the 1930’s, World War II prevented major production from occurring until 1946. With European economies in tight spots following the war, the Beetle (or Bug as it would be commonly known) quickly became a success, the demand helping to give new life to German manufacturing. Soon the Bugs would become favorites in America, as well, where they would become a favorite of the hippie generation during the 1960’s and 1970’s. The Bug spawned a subculture, people collect, build, restore, and modify Bugs to this day. The newer generations, which have a bubblier exterior, were never as popular. Remarkably efficient and affordable, the Beetle was a Car of the Century nominee.


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