Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Volkswagen Beetle

The Volkswagen Type 1, more commonly known as the Beetle, Fusca (in Brazil and Uruguay), Coccinelle or Cox (French), Vocho (Spanish), Bug, Volky or Käfer (German), Escarabajo (beetle in Spanish), Carocha (in Portugal) is an economy car produced by the German automaker Volkswagen from 1938 until 1975. Although the names "Beetle" and "Bug" were quickly adopted by the public, it was not until August of 1967 that VW themselves began using the name Beetle in marketing materials. It had previously been known only as either the "Type I" or as the 1200 (twelve-hundred), 1300 (thirteen-hundred) or 1500 (fifteen-hundred), which had been the names under which the vehicle was marketed in Europe prior to 1967; the numbers denoted the vehicle's engine size in cubic centimeters. In 1998, many years after the original model had been dropped from the lineup in most of the world (it continued in Mexico and a handful of other countries until 2003) VW introduced the "New Beetle" (built on a Volkswagen Golf platform), bearing a strong resemblance to the original.

Although widely disdained for its unusual styling, weak power, rough ride, and high noise levels, it was ultimately among the longest and most produced automobiles for a single design. It remained a top seller even as rear-wheel drive conventional subcompacts were refined until ultimately replaced by front-wheel drive models. Most other nameplates are applied to succeeding generations of redesigned platforms, including its replacement, the Golf / Rabbit. The Beetle car was the benchmark for both generations of American compact cars such as the Chevrolet Corvair and subcompact cars such as the Ford Pinto and Chevrolet Vega. In the international poll for the award of the world's most influential car of the twentieth century the Beetle came fourth after the Ford Model T, the Mini and the Citroën DS, but the Beetle is far more recognizable and familiar to more people than any other passenger automobile.

Volkswagen Beetle - The People's Car

The origins of the car date back to 1925, when Béla Barényi submitted his concepts to the Maschinenbauanstalt Wien. Further influences came from the 1931 Tatra T97, and the 1931 Porsche Typ 12, an experimental prototype that never saw production.

In 1933, Adolf Hitler met with Richard Whittle and Ferdinand Porsche to discuss the development of a "Volks-Wagen" ("People's Car"), a basic vehicle that should be capable of transporting two adults and three children at a speed of 100 km/h (62 mph), and which should cost no more than 990 Reichsmark (at an average income of 32RM/week).

Hitler's commissioning of the "People's Car" did not necessitate a clean-sheet car design. Ferdinand Porsche had already formulated the original parameters of a car design similar to the final production version of the Beetle several years before it was commissioned, and had already built working prototypes by 1931. Erwin Komenda, Porsche's chief designer, was responsible for the design and styling of the car. However its production only became financially viable when it was backed by the Third Reich. Before the large-scale production of the "People's Car" could commence, war broke out, and available manufacturing capacity was shifted to producing military-use vehicles. Production of civilian VW automobiles did not start until after the post-war occupation began.

The Type 1's mechanics and chassis were shared with several German military vehicles of the period, including the Kübelwagen ("bucket car", later adapted for civil use as the Type 181 or "Thing"), used by both the German military and the SS, and the amphibious Schwimmwagen, built in small numbers.

The military Beetle

Prototypes of the Kdf-Wagen appeared from 1935 onwards - the first prototypes were produced by Daimler-Benz in Stuttgart, Germany. The car already had its distinctive round shape and its air-cooled, rear-mounted engine. However, the factory had only produced a handful of cars by the time war started in 1939. Consequently, the first volume-produced versions of the car's chassis were military vehicles, the Jeep-like Kübelwagen Typ 82 (approx. 52,000 built) and the amphibious Schwimmwagen Typ 166 (approx. 14,000 built).

The car was designed to be as simple as possible mechanically, so that there was less to go wrong; the aircooled 985 cc 25 hp (19 kW) motors proved especially effective in actions of the German Afrika Korps in North Africa's desert heat. This was due to the built-in oil-cooler and the superior performance of the flat-four engine configuration. The innovative suspension design used compact torsion beams instead of coil or leaf springs.

A handful of civilian-specific Beetles were produced, primarily for the Nazi elite, in the years 1940–1945, but production figures were small. In response to gasoline shortages, a few wartime "Holzbrenner" Beetles were fueled by wood pyrolysis gas producers under the hood. In addition to the Kübelwagen, Schwimmwagen, and handful of others, the factory managed another wartime vehicle: the Kommandeurwagen; a Beetle body mounted on the 4WD Kübelwagen chassis. A total of 669 Kommandeurwagens were produced until 1945, when all production was halted due to heavy damage sustained in Allied air raids on the factory. Much of the essential equipment had already been moved to underground bunkers for protection, allowing production to resume quickly once hostilities had ended.

Volkswagen Beetle - Production boom

After the end of World War II, a shortage of local jobs led to the Wolfsburg factory being re-opened by Allied forces and production of the Type 1 recommencing. From there, production increased dramatically over the following decade, with the one-millionth car coming off the assembly line by 1955. The Beetle had superior performance in its category with a top speed of 115km/h (72mph) and 0-100km/h (0-60mph) in 27.5 seconds on 7.6 l/100 km (31mpg) for the standard 25kW (34hp) engine. This was far superior to the Citroen 2CV and Morris Minor and even competitive with more modern small cars like the Mini. The engine fired up immediately without a choke and could only be heard in the car when idling. It had excellent road-handling for a small car. It was economical to maintain and, for many, a joy to drive. However, the opinion of some in the United States was not as flattering. Henry Ford II once described the car as 'A little shit box' out of frustration that it was the top-selling foreign car in the US market. During the 1960s and early 1970s, innovative advertising campaigns and a glowing reputation for reliability and sturdiness helped production figures to surpass the levels of the previous record holder, the Ford Model T, when Beetle No. 15,007,034 was produced on February 17, 1972. By 1973 total production was over 16 million, and by June 23, 1992 there had been over 21 million produced.

VW Beetle 1967

The Volkswagen Beetle underwent changes to the 1967 model, and while the car itself didn't get any bigger, many of its mechanical systems and components did. Some of the changes to the Beetle included a bigger engine for the second year in a row. Horsepower had been increased to 37 kW (50 hp) the previous year, and for 1967 it was increased even more, to 40 kW (53 hp).

The output of the electrical generator was increased from 180 to 360 watts, and upgraded from a 6-volt to a 12-volt system. The clutch disk also increased in size, and changes were made to the flywheel, braking system, and rear axles. New standard equipment included two-speed windshield wipers, back-up lights, a driver's armrest on the door, locking buttons on the doors, sealed-beam headlights, and an outside mirror on the driver's side.

The 1967 Beetle was available in a variety of colors, including Ruby Red, Avocado Green, Lotus White, Java Green, Zenith Blue and Savannah Beige. Interior upholstery was available in either cloth or leatherette. Standard features included swiveling sun visors, coat hooks, assist straps, an automatic windshield washer, an overhead light, a folding rear seat, and storage space under the front hood and in a 1 meter carpeted compartment behind the rear seat.

The price was $1,640, and it weighed only 770 kg (1700 lbs). Top speed was 130 km/h (82 mph), enough to match the 110 km/h (70 mph) top speed of American freeways.

Volkswagen Beetle derivatives

While production of the standard Beetle continued, a Type 1 variant called the Super Beetle, produced from model year 1971 to 1979, offered MacPherson strut front suspension, better turning radius (despite having a 20 mm (3/4 in) longer wheelbase), and approximately double the usable space in the front luggage compartment, due to the stretched "nose" of the vehicle and relocation of the spare tire from a vertical to a horizontal position. The Super Beetle was improved in 1973 to include a padded dashboard and a more aerodynamic curved windshield.

The Super Beetle (VW 1302 and 1303 series, also called Type 113) is not the only Type 1 variant; other VWs under the Type 1 nomenclature include the Karmann Ghia and the VW 181 utility vehicle, not to mention the Brasilia and the Australian Country Buggy (locally produced in Australia using VW parts).

The Type 2 transporter is based on the Beetle platform with very similar mechanicals. Also, as mentioned below, Type 3 and Type 4 were all developments of the original Porsche design.

Volkswagen Beetle - Decline and fall

Though extremely successful in the 1960s, the Beetle was faced with stiff competition from more modern designs. The Japanese had refined rear wheel drive water cooled front engined small cars to where they sold well in the North American market, and Americans introduced their own similarly sized rear wheel drive Ford Pinto, Chevrolet Vega, and AMC Gremlin in the 1970s. The superminis in Europe adopted even more efficient transverse engine front wheel drive layouts, and sales began dropping off in the mid 1970s. There had been several unsuccessful attempts to replace the Beetle throughout the 1960s; the Type 3, Type 4, and the NSU-based K70 were all failures. Only when production lines at Wolfsburg switched to the new watercooled, front-engined, front-wheel drive Golf in 1974 (sold in North America as the Rabbit) did Volkswagen produce a car as successful as the Beetle, though it would be periodically redesigned over its lifetime, while the Beetle used only minor refinements of the same design it had been introduced with.

The Golf did not kill Beetle production, which continued in smaller numbers at other German factories until 1978, when mainstream production shifted to Brazil and Mexico, markets where low operating cost was more important. The last Beetle was produced in Puebla, Mexico, in mid-2003. The final batch of 3,000 Beetles were sold as 2004 models and badged as the Última Edición, with whitewall tires, a host of previously-discontinued chrome trim, and the choice of two special paint colors taken from the New Beetle. Production in Brazil ended in 1986, then restarted in 1993 and continued until 1996. Volkswagen sold Beetles in the United States until 1978 (the Beetle convertible a.k.a. Cabriolet was sold until January 1980) and in Europe until 1985.

The Beetle outlasted most other automobiles which had copied the rear air-cooled engine layout such as those by Subaru, Fiat, Renault, and General Motors. However, Porsche's sport coupes which were originally based on Volkswagen parts and platforms continue to use the classic rear engine layout in the Porsche 911 series, which remains competitive in the 2000s.

The Beetle in developing countries

Other countries produced Beetles from CKD (complete knockdown kits): Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa, Australia, and Nigeria have assembled Beetles under license from VW (source: Volkswagens of the World).

Beetles produced in Mexico and Brazil had several differences:

* The Brazilian version retained the 1958-1964 body style (Europe and U.S. version) with the thick door pillars and small quarter glass; this body style was also produced in Mexico until 1970. Brazilian CKD kits (complete knockdown) were shipped to Nigeria between 1975-1987 where Beetles were locally produced. The Brazilian-produced version have been sold in neighboring South American nations bordering Brazil, including Argentina and Peru.

* The Brazilian VW Bug have four different sized engines: 1200cc, 1300cc, 1500cc and, finally, 1600cc. In the 70's Volkswagen made the SP-2 (derived from the VW Bug chassis and powertrain) that used an air-cooled VW engine with 1700cc. In Brazil the VW Bug never received electronic fuel injection, but retained single or double carburetion throughout its life.

* The production of the air-cooled engine finally ended in 2006, after more than 60 years. It was last used in the Brazilian version of the VW Bus, called the "Kombi", and was replaced by a 1.4-litre water-cooled engine with a front-mounted cooling system.

* Beetles produced in Mexico (since 1964) have the larger door and quarter glass between 1971 - 2003 with the 1958 vintage back glass until the mid-1970s. This version, after the mid-1970s, saw little change with the incorporation of electronic ignition in 1988, an anti-theft alarm system in 1990, and electronic fuel injection, hydraulic valve lifters and a spin-on oil filter in 1993. The front turn signals were commonly located in the bumper instead of the Beetle's traditional placement on top of the front fenders.

Independent importers continued to supply several major countries, including Germany, France, and the UK until the end of production in 2003. Devoted fans of the car even discovered a way to circumvent United States safety regulations by placing more recently manufactured Mexican Beetles on the floorpans of earlier, US-registered cars between 1998 - 2003. The Mexican Beetle (along with its Brazilian counterpart) was on the US DOT's (Department of Transportation) hot list of gray market imports after 1978 since the vehicle did not meet safety regulations. A U.S. citizen who drives a Mexican Beetle across the US-Mexico border into the US is likely to end up with the vehicle seized by the US government.

In the Southwest United States (Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas) - Mexican Beetles (and some Brazilian T2c Transporters) are a common sight in San Antonio and Houston since Mexican nationals can legally operate the vehicle in the United States, provided the cars remain registered in Mexico.

The end of production in Mexico can be attributed primarily to Mexican political measures: the Beetles no longer met emissions standards for Mexico City, in which the ubiquitous Beetles were used as affordable taxicabs; and the government outlawed their use as taxicabs because of rising crime rates, requiring only four-door vehicles be used. In addition, Volkswagen (now Germany's largest automaker) has been attempting to cultivate a more upscale, premium brand image, and the humble Beetle, with its US$7000 base price, clashed with this identity, as seen in the Touareg and Phaeton luxury vehicles. Finally, consumers had begun showing a preference for more modern cars such as the Volkswagen Pointer and Volkswagen Lupo.

Beetles in Sri Lanka

The first Volkswagen Beetle imported to Sri Lanka from Wolfsburg in West Germany on May 1953, the Sri Lankan registration number was EL 550. Still the car is in running condition and run for the first owner. According to the official figures in 1958 there were more than 8000 Volkswagen Beetles running on the streets, that was only second for the India at that time. Still more than 2000 VW beetles are running on the high mountain streets all around Sri Lanka with their enthusiastic owners who love their beetles. In year 1997 they formed and started “VW Beetles Owners Club in Sri Lanka”, the first ever vintage beetle club for the beetle lovers in Sri Lanka. Now it has a membership of over 200.

Post-war conflicts

Much of the Beetle's design was inspired by the advanced Tatra cars of Hans Ledwinka, particularly the T97. This also had a streamlined body and a rear-mounted 4 cylinder horizontally-opposed air-cooled engine. Tatra launched a lawsuit, but this was stopped when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia. The matter was re-opened after WW2 and in 1961 Volkswagen paid Tatra 3,000,000 Deutsche Marks in compensation. These damages meant that Volkswagen had little money for the development of new models and the Beetle's production life was necessarily extended.

The Volkswagen company owes its postwar existence largely to British army officer Major Ivan Hirst (1916–2000). After the war, Hirst was ordered to take control of the heavily bombed factory, which the Americans had captured. His first task was to remove the unexploded bomb which had fallen through the roof and lodged itself between some pieces of irreplaceable production equipment; if the bomb had exploded, the Beetle's fate would have been sealed. Hirst persuaded the British military to order 20,000 of the cars, and by 1946 the factory was producing 1,000 cars a month. The car and its town changed their Nazi-era names to Volkswagen (people's car) and Wolfsburg, respectively. The first 1,785 Beetles were made in a factory near Wolfsburg, Germany in 1945.

Pop culture

Like its contemporaries, the Mini and the Citroën 2CV, the Beetle has been regarded as something of a "cult" car since its 1960s association with the hippie movement and surf culture; and the obvious attributes of its unique and quirky design. (For example, the Beetle could float on water - for a little while-thanks to its sealed floor pans and overall tight construction.) Much like their Type 2 counterparts, Beetles were psychedelically painted and considered an art car ancestor. One of the logos used by the Houston Art Car Klub incorporated a Beetle with a cowboy hat.

The Beetle has made numerous appearances in Hollywood films, most notably The Love Bug comedy series (Disney) from 1968 to 2005, starring as "Herbie", a pearl-white, fabric-sunroofed 1963 Beetle - racing number 53. The opening aerial shot of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980) follows a yellow Volkswagen Beetle. The Arrival (1996, science fiction) featured a few Mexican Beetles in the film (in one scene Charlie Sheen hides in the notoriously cramped trunk of a Beetle). In Woody Allen's Sleeper (1973), a Volkswagen is still able to start after having been abandoned in a cave for 200 years (Allen: "They really built these things, didn't they?"). In the comedy hit What's Up, Doc? (1972), Ryan O'Neal and Barbra Streisand, after a climactic car chase, end up floating in San Francisco Bay in their Beetle (see note on construction, previous paragraph).

In an episode of the Nickelodeon TV show Drake and Josh, Megan suggests that they buy a 1960s-70s Beetle with a beach themed body.Later in the episode, Megan demands that the boys buy the Beetle in order to avoid being trapped in the closet of an orangutan eater's home. A yellow Wunderkäfer, called DuDu, appeared in a series of German films for children. Also made famous is the Autobot Bumblebee, a canary yellow Beetle in the toy, comic and cartoon line The Transformers. The Throttlebot, Legends and Generation 2 toy line versions of Bumblebee also transformed from robot to VW Beetle, though the Throttlebot-type was called Goldbug as it was a golden 1975 Super Beetle. (Note, too, that the G2 toy was painted anodized gold in colour.) In other countries, 'Bumblebee the Beetle' has been released in various colours.

During the early 1970s, the Beetle was used for advertisements where graphic art ads were decaled on newly-sold Volkswagens. A marketing consultant (Charlie E. Bird) in the Los Angeles area came up with the "Beetleboard" concept. Both standard and Super Beetles were used, until the original Beetle ceased production in Europe in 1978. This trend was resurrected after the New Beetle entered production (source - The Beetle Book).The Volkswagen Beetle has built a large fan base among off-road types in the form of the Baja Bug. Today, there are many online clubs and communities that keep Beetle aficionadoes on touch. Even the sighting of a Volkswagen Beetle is cause for violent fun in the car-sighting game known as "Slug-Bug" or Punch Buggy.

The Beetle is also one of the most commonly reproduced cars as a toy or model of all sizes. Hot Wheels and Matchbox produced many near stock and outrageously styled and customized drag racing and modified dune buggy beetles. Most manufacturers of toy cars have included a Beetle in their line at one time or another.

In Episode 2 of the anime Jigoku Shoujo, the stalker of the high school girl escaped being beaten up by his father in what appears to be a Volkswagen Beetle.

The Volkswagen Beetle also made a major appearance in the anime movie Nasu: Summer in Andalusia. It was a red Cabriolet chasing Pepe, the main character, with his family on board.

Kids in the Philippine province of Ilocos Sur would race to slap each other upside the head and/or salute at the sight of a Volkswagen Beetle or Brasilla.

Beetle customization

The Beetle is popular with customizers throughout the world not only because it's cheap and easy to work on, but because its iconic looks can be personalized and the flat four motor is so tunable. Its very ubiquity make even subtle changes noticeable; everybody knows what a Beetle is supposed to look like.

Exterior There are many popular Beetle styles, from a "Cal Looker" to a "Rat Rod". They vary between themselves but are very similar in many ways. Also the California Look has changed during the 30+ years of its lifespan. The most typical way to customize the exterior is to change the wheels and lower the suspension of the car. The favorite wheels are period-style EMPI 5- or 8-spokes, Speedwell BRMs, or Porsche factory rims like Fuchs from classic 911. One of the original California Look modifications is to replace or remove the bumpers and trim, either to give a cleaner look or to reduce the curb weight; if bumpers are removed, pushbars are common. The stock bumpers are usually chromed or polished, sometimes painted or powdercoated. There are many clubs dedicated to "Cal Look" including the DKP ("Der Kleiner Panzers", or in english, "The little Tanks") in the USA which was one of the first clubs dedicated to true "Cal Look" cars. Today, the DKP still exists and the club is on their 3rd generation. There are also currently many big "Cal Look" VW clubs based in Europe including the DAS (Das Autobahn Scrapers) in Belgium, the DFL (Der Fieser Luftkühlers) in Germany and the JG54 Grünherz (Greenhearts) in the UK.

For 'Resto Cal' look, a roof rack and similar accessories can be added. There are many other aftermarket parts that can be added to the Beetle, including wing mirrors, chrome wipers, stone guards, mud flaps and badges. Rear light and front indicator lenses can also be changed. This is as far as a "Cal Look" or "Resto Cal" car will go.

For a more custom look, smoothing and shaving the body (removing trim and other parts) is done, including doorhandles, badges and driprails, and replacing taillights and front indicators with smaller, simpler units. Frenching (tunneling) headlights, frequent in non-VW customs and rods, is not usual, but dramatic lowering (in low rider fashion) is, and unusual hood and trunk hinging is commonplace.

Interior Many Beetle owners try to keep their Beetle interior stock. Others will fit a sound system, which usually consists of a head unit and possibly some speakers and a subwoofer (usually mounted in the front of the car). Aftermarket steering wheels can be added along with auxiliary gauges. For a true race look, the interior can be stripped and a full roll cage installed, along with bucket seats and race harnesses.

Power The Type 1 is astonishingly flexible in this area. Because most parts of the flat-four engine other than the crankcase are bolted on, they are easily exchanged with larger or more high-performance items. The standard VW engine has been modified from 1600 cc (the largest factory-produced Type 1 engine) to configurations well over 2300cc using larger piston/cylinder kits and other performance-enhancing parts. A variety of other powerplants, including the VW Type 4 (also used in the 914) 2-liter flat four, Chevy Corvair and Porsche 911 flat sixes have been used. Even the turbocharged flat 4 from Subaru has been used. Turbocharged Type 1 flat fours have appeared. These variants tend to be mated to the stronger Type 2 (Bus, Combi) transmission. Dual carb setups are very common on Beetles (especially the 1600 cc dual port engine). Also a wide range of exhaust systems are available. "Stingers" are popular in nearly any type of custom Beetle.

KitCars The VW Type 1 chassis, being easily separated from its original body without removal of engine, transmission, or suspension, has provided the basis for countless custom re-bodyings, usually of fiberglass and usually replicating other, less humble vehicles. Mercedes, MG and Porsche replicas are among the popular choices. These "kit cars", although derided by many for their lack of authenticity, provide to their owners a much cheaper, often more-reliable means of enjoying a dream vehicle.

Beetles in drag racing

The beetle is widely used in drag racing, its rearward (RR) weight distribution keeps the weight over the rear wheels maximizing grip off the start line. Even though the Beetles curb weight is already quite low, it will be brought right down for a full on drag beetle and its power output will be very high. If this combined with the beetles RR layout, wheelies can be achieved easily but it will reduce the 1/4 mile time. To prevent this, wheelie bars are added.

New Beetle

At the 1994 North American International Auto Show, Volkswagen unveiled the J Mays-penned "Concept 1", a concept car with futuristic styling deliberately reminiscent of the original Beetle's rounded shape. Strong public reaction convinced the company to move the car into production, and in 1998, 20 years after the last original Beetle was sold in the United States, Volkswagen launched the New Beetle, designed by Mays and Freeman Thomas at the company's California design studio.

New Beetles are manufactured at VW's Puebla, Mexico assembly plant where, ironically, the last line of factory-built air-cooled Beetles were removed from production in favor of the golf-based New Beetle.

The New Beetle, with its (water-cooled) engine at the front of the car driving the front wheels, is related to the original only in name, general shape and some styling cues. Under the sheet metal, it is a modern car in every way, based on the Volkswagen A platform.

Phase-out of the original Beetle

By 2003 Beetle annual production had fallen to 30,000 from a peak of 1.3 million in 1971. On July 30, 2003, the final original VW Beetle (No. 21,529,464) was produced at Puebla, Mexico, some 65 years after its original launch, and an unprecedented 58-year production run since 1945 (the year VW recognizes as the first year of non-Nazi funded production.) VW announced this step in June, citing decreasing demand. The last car was immediately shipped off to the company's museum in Wolfsburg, Germany. In true Mexican fashion, a mariachi band serenaded the last car. There was also in Mexico an advertising campaign as a goodbye for the Beetle. For example, in one of the ads was a very small parking space on the street, and many big cars tried to park in it, but couldn't. After a while, a Beetle parks in the spot without a problem. Then a sign appears that says: "Es increíble que un auto tan pequeño deje un vacío tan grande" (It's incredible that a car this small leaves such a large void). There were other ads with the same nostalgic tone.
  • Brakes: front disc, back drum
  • Passengers: Five
  • Tank: 40 L (10.57 gallons)
  • Colors: Aquarius blue, Harvestmoon beige.

Alternative uses for VW Beetle engines

The aircooled 4-cylinder horizontally opposed cylinder or "flat four" Beetle engines have been used for other purposes as well. Especially interesting is its use as an experimental aircraft engine. This type of Beetle engine deployment started in the sixties. A number of companies still produce aero engines that are VW Beetle engine derivatives: Limbach, Hapi, Revmaster and others. Kitplanes or plans built experimental aircraft were specifically designed to utilise these engines.

Up until 2001, Beetle engines were also used to run several of the ski lifts at the Thredbo ski resort in NSW, Australia, and were maintained to a high standard by expert VW mechanics.

Also in Australia, in remote opal-mining communities VW motors were modified to air compressors for jack hammers etc. They used 2 cylinders on one side as a motor and modified the head on the other side to produce a flow of compressed air. The opal fields are very dry and hot, so an air-cooled compressor has an advantage over liquid cooled.

The Amazonas, a Brazilian-built motorcycle manufactured from 1978 to 1990, used a modified 1600 cc Beetle engine and gearbox. With a dry weight that could top 800 pounds, the Amazonas was billed as the world's biggest (heaviest) production motorcycle. The VW transmission's reverse gear, rare in a two-wheeled vehicle, was a useful feature in such a heavy motorcycle.

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle