The last Volkswagen Beetle ever to roll of production line this week

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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RIP Beetle Old studio RIP Beetle Old studio

Truly an end of an era, for a car that changed what a car was, to many generations

The last ever Volkswagen Beetle is set to roll off the Puebla, Mexico production line in the coming days.

It marks the end of an era, of a truly transcendent icon of modern automobiles.

Born in Germany’s darkest hour, the car later became the very symbol of industrial globalism as it sold in huge numbers around the world. It was many things to many people; an accomplished race car, fashion icon to the stars, even a poignant emblem to youth-fuelled counterculture in the US – the humble Beetle changed what the car was to many generations.

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Above all, the car remains a distinguished icon as identifiable as a coke bottle.

Originally born to be the mass produced KdF-Wagen, the car was intended to spread attainable motoring throughout Germany, in much the same way as Henry Ford’s Model T.

OWN THE ICON: View all Volkswagen Beetles listed on our classifieds

World War II put a halt to the project, but was relaunched post-war under British occupation authorities, with the now civilian Type 1 tipping one million units produced by 1955.

By 1968, United States demand had ballooned to 40% of total production.

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Production shifted to Puebla Mexico in 1967, temporarily alongside the original Wolfsburg plant which ended production of the Beetle in 1978, shifting to newer front-drive vehicles like the Golf.

The last original air-cooled Beetle rolled off the production line at the Puebla plant in 2003 – five years after the reborn "new" Beetle arrived in 1998.

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The ‘New’ Beetle never quite captured the magic of the original. It underwent a facelift in 2012, with the last example of the 5,961 "Final Editions" set to roll off the production line on July 10.

Following ceremonies at the Puebla plant, the final Beetle will be sent to a museum.

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It’s the original Beetle we remember, the one we love. In their day, they made affordable motoring for five attainable and reliable. Known for their simple and bulletproof engineering, they spawned thousands of DIY mechanics thanks to their ease of maintenance.

With lasting global appeal and no shortage of knowledge and parts support – we predict Beetles will continue to roam the earth with their many happy owners; though it’s a poignant farewell today for one of the most enduring nameplates in automotive history.

 

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