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10 fun facts: Volkswagen

Updated on November 22, 2011

10 trivia facts about Volkswagen

Welcome to my second lens from the '10 Fun Facts' series. If you missed the first one, you can take a look at it here:

10 Fun Facts: BMW

So, why Volkswagen? It was a request from Lildumdum on the SquidU forum.

And, I must say - Volkswagen's history and tradition is really huge. There are probably hundreds of fun fact about VW's...

So, check out my 10 favourites, and happy reading!

KdF Wagen Volkswagen Beetle History
KdF Wagen Volkswagen Beetle History

01: The roots...

Do you know the roots of Volkswagen?

Ironically, the idea for the Volkswagen, 'People's car', came from Adolf Hitler. He chose Ferdinand Porsche to engineer a car that could carry 2 adults and 3 children, and that could do 100km/h (62mph). And the idea was, that people could buy it trough an affordable savings scheme. That's how the base for the VW Beetle was born.

The first prototypes were called KdF-Wagen. (German: Kraft durch Freude - "strength through joy")

1955 Volkswagen Beetle 500
1955 Volkswagen Beetle 500

02: Mass production

Do you know how long did VW produce the legendary Bettle?

The legendary beetle was produced from 1938 up to 2003. That's astonishing 65 years! We all know how fast car manufacturers switch and/or update their models today.

There were 21,529,464 built beetles, of which 15,444,858 in Germany, incl. 330,251 Cabriolets, and about 3,350,000 in Brazil.

Red Volkswagen Golf GTI mark Mk I
Red Volkswagen Golf GTI mark Mk I

03: The Hot Hatch...

Is it a first hot hatch? How did the GTI come to life?

A lot of people think that Golf GTI (Mk I) is the first hot hatch. It's not true. The first hot hatch was the Renault 5 Gordini.

And, the even more exciting thing is, that, the 'Sport Golf', as the engineers called it, was an 'evening and weekends' project, developed in secret outside normal working hours, because Marketing and Management just didn't see that there was a market for it. Boy, were they wrong! :)

Read more about it here:

GTi Rides: Golf GTI Mk I

Volkswagen Bus Transporter First Prototype
Volkswagen Bus Transporter First Prototype

04. Bus stop...

Do you know how the famous Bus aka. Transporter was born?

After the War in 1944, the Wolfsburg factory where the VW Beetle's were being made had no means of internal transport.

So the people who worked in the experimental department came up with the idea of a flat bed truck utilizing parts from another vehicle - the kubelwagen. Ben Pon came up with the idea of moving the cab forward and covering the flatbed over. The first prototype for the now world famous VW camper was born.

The image shows the first idea - flatbed with the cab mounted in the back.

Volkswagen group - VW - Seat - Skoda - Logos
Volkswagen group - VW - Seat - Skoda - Logos

05. Twins...

What other car manufacturers use the Volkswagen base for their cars?

Yes, there's a list of car manufacturers that use VW's base for their cars. They have their own distinctive design, and their own targeted customers...

Here is the list:

  • Audi - classy, luxurious
  • Seat - emotional, sporty
  • Skoda - rational, best buy

Oh, back in the days, you could easily see the similarities between these manufacturers... Nowadays, their design is much more distinctive from one brand to another.

There's one more case of VW twins:

The Volkswagen Touareg and the Porsche Cayenne. Nothing new here... Well, we don't want to forget the Audi Q7. So, I guess, this is a case of VW triplets. :)

A Beetle Camper - Absolutely genius!

TravelingRae gave me the link to this video. Now, how cool is that?!

Volkswagen stuff on Amazon - Posters and other stuff for your garage...

Bugatti Veyron
Bugatti Veyron

06. The Swan...

Did you know that VW makes the fastest car on Earth?!

Yes it does. But, It's sold under the 'Bugatti' badge.

The Bugatti Veyron, was designed and engineered by Volkswagen. (VW owns Bugatti). And, it's a Swan Song for dr. Ferdinand Piëch.

The interesting part here, is, that VW's production costs exceed the price of the car. That means, that, VW looses money with each Veyron sold.

Volkswagen W12 Nardo Coupe Roadster Concept
Volkswagen W12 Nardo Coupe Roadster Concept

07. Records... (!)

Did you know that Volkswagen set seven 24-hour world speed records at the Nardò Ring?

Well, it did. With the Volkswagen W12 (aka. Nardo) concept.

The car produced from 420 to 600 horse power, and it was used to test the W12 engine that was, later on, used in the Phaeton and Touareg.

There was a coupe, and a roadster version of the W12 concept. It featured Volkswagen's 4x4 synchro four-wheel-drive system.

Mastermind behind the story, was, once again, dr. Ferdinand Piech.

Volkswagen truck Constellation Pace car racing
Volkswagen truck Constellation Pace car racing

08. Racing... BIG TIME!

Did you know that VW participates in TRUCK racing?

The first shock is, to find out that Volkswagen makes big trucks, and the other one, is to find out that, VW races with them!

VW is one of the leading truck/bus manufacturers in southern America, and racing their trucks in the Brazilian Formula Truck championship, seems like a good marketing move.

The picture shows VW Constellation PACE truck.

1996 Volkswagen Golf III Harlequin
1996 Volkswagen Golf III Harlequin

09. Mixup

What's with the body panel mix-up at Volkswagen?

It's not an mixup.

In 1995, Volkswagen Europe, launched a series of Polo's with body panels in different colors. Shortly after that, in 1996 - they launched the same series of Golf III. But, this time, in the US and Canada. It's one of the most limited editions of Volkswagens ever.

There's a lot more interesting information about harlequins on RossVW.com - give it a look!

P.S.

Not all Harlequins have the same color combinations. :) They built single-color cars, and then swapped body panels.

Cool... but, not pretty... but, still - very COOL! :)

Volkswagen beetles bug 53 herbie cars
Volkswagen beetles bug 53 herbie cars

10. The Love Bug...

Starring: Herbie the VW Beetle

One of the most popular VW Bug paint schemes, white #53, comes from the movies about Herbie.

Quote from Wikipedia:

Herbie is an anthropomorphic Volkswagen Beetle, a character that is featured in several Disney motion pictures starting with the 1969 feature film The Love Bug. He has a mind of his own and is capable of driving himself, and is a serious contender in auto racing competitions.

Herbie starred in six movies... Here's the list:

  • The Love Bug (1969) — Directed by Robert Stevenson
  • Herbie Rides Again (1974) — Directed by Robert Stevenson
  • Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977) — Directed by Vincent McEveety
  • Herbie Goes Bananas (1980) — Directed by Vincent McEveety
  • The Love Bug (1997) made-for-TV movie — Directed by Peyton Reed
  • Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005) — Directed by Angela Robinson

Herbie on Amazon - A true VW fan collectibles

Leave me a comment, or, better yet, a suggestion on a new lens topic...

I'll create more '10 fun facts...' automotive lenses, and feel free to let me know what make would you like to see... :)

Comments? - I love them!

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    • profile image

      outsource123 6 years ago

      Interesting lens.

    • Langa95 LM profile image

      Langa95 LM 5 years ago

      The Bugatti Veyron isn't the fastest car. The Bugatti Veyron SS (super sport) is. And that only came out recently. Before that it was the Ultimate Aero SSC.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great facts. I'm referencing some of these for an article I'm writing. Thanks for posting this.

    • profile image

      TravelingRae 5 years ago

      You can't have a VW fun facts page without including this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56XL0TysIn0! Fun lens!

    • RhondaSueDavis profile image

      RhondaSueDavis 5 years ago

      I have always wanted a retro red volkswagen, with white tiny pin dots all over, since I was a teen. I had a dress like that. My Dad did get me one briefly when I was 19, all black. I followed him too close when we were moving, and ran into his truck hitch at the stop light that changed right when he passed under. Dented in the empty "hood trunk" and cracked the windshield. He sold it when I went on tour. Then the Miata came out in 1980 and that first model is sweet. But alas life happened and I ended up with less romantic vehicles for driving to work and family transport. I most recently got my very own Tomas Moped. I would like to see a lens that classifies and shows/explains motor sizes and maybe handling differences of bikes, and someone more knowledgeable than I might want to give that a try. My moped is 49cc, but most motorcycles are 250cc or more. Engine size makes a difference to license them.

    • profile image

      bmw_chad 5 years ago

      Another interesting fact lens...I love VW's almost as much as BMW's. I really don't think there is a better value out there than VW

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      Thanks for liking my lens. Here's a suggestion for you; the VW campervan. In the 1970s I ran a business converting the old VW Transporters into motor caravans. I worked on other types of van, including the older split screen VW, but the transporter was my favourite. My conversions travelled theworld and the VW campervan was popular with Australian students. Some Aussies came here by boat, bought an old VW van, got me to convert it with windows, furniture, elevating roof, etc, and then drove it overland back to Australia where they sold it and the new owner would drive it back to the UK and sell it on again outside Australia House off London's Strand. Every time I see a vintage VW camper, and there are still plenty on the road, I have to look closely to see if it was one of mine. Thanks for the chance to bring back some wonderful memories.

    • javr profile image

      javr 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      That Beetle pulling the trailer is amazing!

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 5 years ago from So Cal

      I think that you have some great trivia here. I had a 1957 VW and still miss it. As a vintage trailer person, I was aware of the car and trailers but if I were to buy another VW today, it would be the camper. There are a lot in California, especially the ones from the 1960 and we see them often when traveling. Great lens, Angel blessed.

    • GoAceNate LM profile image

      GoAceNate LM 5 years ago

      Cool lens. Love the Volkswagen Truck.

    • profile image

      Lindrus 5 years ago

      Great article with some fun facts! I fond of and a proud owner of VW Golf. And I love Herbie!

    • JK Sterling profile image

      Jim Sterling 5 years ago from Franklin, Tennessee

      Great lens,it's nice to have Beetles back.

    • ottoblotto profile image

      ottoblotto 5 years ago

      So well done! I love your 10 facts design, and I learned a lot even though I've driven VW's for years

    • Edwardjames81 profile image

      Edwardjames81 5 years ago

      I have a classic VW camper van and whilst it requires a lot of maintenance (and money) to keep it on the road it is worth every penny. Another nice lens this.

    • Thrinsdream profile image

      Thrinsdream 5 years ago

      I did love my Pasaat but it died on me when I had a german shepher, a doberman, a rotty and a german shepherd cross in the back, in the middle of nowhere just as a snowstorm struck . . hmmmmmm so saying it was worth it just to see the recovery man's face when I asked if they could come in the cab with me!!!! I have always dreamed of having a camper but just dare not! He, he. with thanks and appreciation. Cathi x

    • Bobbala profile image

      Bobbala 5 years ago

      Thank you for this great informative lens.

    • curtmaxwall profile image

      curtmaxwall 4 years ago

      Cool facts.. I would like to read facts on Mercedes too...

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      another fact: most companies name cars; the Volkswagen was a first, in that the CAR named the company!

    • TimTam LM profile image

      TimTam LM 4 years ago

      It's always fun - when talking to a Porsche owner - that his car is really only an expensive VW Bug.

      Which of course it is :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Please spell check all of your facts. It makes it less interesting to read when I have to decipher a sentence. VW Fan for LIFE!!!!

    • geosum profile image

      geosum 3 years ago

      I had a 914 for a while. Had the VW engine in it. Fun car. Replaced it with a Stealth twin turbo ;>)

    • profile image

      Indi-ish 3 years ago

      Very cool lens..I love my Dub :)

    • profile image

      darkzerok 3 years ago

      HERBIE!!!!!

    • profile image

      darkzerok 3 years ago

      this helped me with my work thx

    • profile image

      black guy 2 years ago

      this also helped me with my work

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