Though it may surprise some people, the Beetle's record for longest-running vehicle will soon be broken, and by another Volkswagen. The VW Bus is still produced and sold new in Brazil with the same basic features as the original model.
The Beetle was the original Volkswagen. It was the brainchild of a certain dictator with the first name of Adolph who was known for a silly little mustache and terrible atrocities. I can't seem to remember his last name. Anyway, the name Volkswagen means "People's Car" and it was intended to carry 2 adults and 3 children at a speed of at least 62 miles per hour. This would be the ideal German family and the ideal family economy car.
The first Beetles were used for military purposes during WWII. with only higher party officials getting civilian versions of the car.
After the Americans captured the factory where the Beetles were made, a British major was put in charge of restarting the factory again as Germany was rebuilt. The first step he had to take was removing the rocket that had crashed through the roof but failed to explode. If it had exploded, the Beetle would have never happened.
The VW Beetle got a major upgrade for the 1967 model year. This would be the beginning of the Beetle boom in the United States, especially among the hippies in need of some utilitarian transportation. It sold for $1,640 in 1967. For those looking for a little more performance, the Type 1 Super Beetle sold from 1971 to 1979 had a MacPherson strut front suspension and more front luggage space.
The introduction of cheap Japanese economy cars would doom the Beetle in the United States. The last Beetle sold in the American market was the 1977 model. The Beetle would remain in production in several developing countries that had not had an influx of cheap import cars from Asia.
The old VW Beetle is one of the most popular cars among VW collectors and small car enthusiasts. There are so many customizations that can be made to this car, and they are mechanically simple compared to most other cars on the road. Aside from the popular Baja Bug Dune Buggy Beetle, there are also drag racing Beetles, and even Beetle racing clubs.
If you're looking to buy an old Beetle, I suggest checking out the listings on eBay. You can expect to find at least a dozen Beetle listings at any given time, and often there are many more than that. Also, the parts you'll find on eBay are nearly endless.