Heritage

Volkswagen at 70: Do you remember these models?

Volkswagen vehicles have been sold in the U.S. for the last 70 years.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

In 1949, Ben Pon, a Dutch businessman, arrived in New York with precious cargo - two Volkswagen Type 1 models, later known as the Beetle. Pon was one of the first to attempt to sell a Volkswagen to Americans and now, 70 years on, 17 million have been sold.

Let's take a trip down memory lane.

1949 Volkswagen Beetle

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

In post-World War II Europe, the Volkswagen Beetle was well on its way to being one of the most popular vehicles on the continent. Its efficient packaging and air-cooled engine helped it win a fan base. The 25-horsepower Beetle shown here is identical to the one Pon first imported to the U.S. in 1949.

1954 Volkswagen Type 2 Bus

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Telefunken, a German radio company, painted their logo on the side of the Volkswagen Type 2 Bus and used it as a delivery van. This is the Panel Delivery version of the Bus, which features a modified version of the Beetle's floorpan and the same 30-hp flat-four engine.

1963 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

German coach builder Karmann built this Volkswagen coupe, adding sporty style to the German automaker's lineup. Like the Type 2 Bus before it, the Karmann Ghia used the same engine as the Beetle, a 34-horsepower four-cylinder, for the 1963 model year.

1967 Volkswagen Type 2 21-Window Bus

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

This is a copy of the highly sought-after 21-Window "Samba" version of the Volkswagen Type 2 21-Window Bus. It features a white-on-orange paint scheme. In the U.S., 23-window variants were known as the Sunroof Deluxe. Instead of a sliding door, the Samba as two pivot doors.

1973 Volkswagen Squareback

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Like the modern crossover, the Squareback wagon sought to prove that smaller vehicles would still haul a family. This '73 has storage under the hood and in the back. The model has 65 horsepower and was one of the first vehicles to have fuel injection technology.

1973 Volkswagen Thing

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

This Thing wasn't designed to be part of the Addams family. The original concept was meant to be a military vehicle European nations. Called the Type 181, that model was off-road friendly. By the time the vehicle came to the U.S., the 46-horsepower convertible was marketed as "Thing."

1977 Volkswagen Dasher

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Dasher was designed to be a more premium model than the Beetle. Known as the Passat in Europe, the Dasher came in sedan, hatchback, and wagon variants. It was front-wheel drive and powered by a water-cooled four-cylinder engine that achieved 78 horsepower. Volkswagen produced the car for sale in the U.S. as the B1 from 1973-1981. It was the sister model of the Audi 80.

1979 Volkswagen Super Beetle

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Super Beetle marked the end of the original Beetle era. It was the last of original generation to be sold in the U.S. The Type 1 continued to be manufactured for sale at the company's Puebla, Mexico plant until 2003, 65 years after it for launched. This model is owned by Volkswagen and has less than 1,000 miles on its 48 horsepower four-cylinder engine.

1981 Volkswagen Scirocco

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The less-sexy Scirocco succeeded the Karmann Ghia in Volkswagen's lineup. It was a Giugiaro-designed coupe that started production in 1974 and ended its run in 1982, only to be revived in 2008. The Scirocco's production ended in 2017. This 74-hosepower model had fewer than 1,000 miles on it.

1982 Volkswagen Jetta Mk1

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen offered the Jetta as a sedan alternative to the Golf/Rabbit. The first generation of the model delivered European design and fuel efficiency. Soon after its debut in 1979 the model became the best-selling European car in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Its 76-horsepower engine was paired with either a five-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission.

1984 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The 1974, Volkswagen became selling the Golf MK1 as a front-wheel-drive, long-range replacement for the Beetle. It was known as the Volkswagen Rabbit GTI in the U.S. The Golf is still produced today for sale around the world.

1998 Volkswagen Beetle "New Beetle"

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Beetle returned as a modern car in 1997. It contained some of the quirky attributes that played on the heritage of the model including a dashboard-mounted flower bud vase. The New Beetle was in production until July 2019 as the automaker began to shift toward more electric vehicle production.

2019 Volkswagen Atlas

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Production of the Volkswagen Atlas began in 2017 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The three-row SUV was brought to market as a 2018 model. The Atlas is known as the Volkswagen Teramont in China, the Middle East, Russia, Mexico, and Rwanda.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Drive-in movie theaters may be making a comeback thanks to fears over the spread of COVID-19.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The drive-in movie theater is making a comeback. With the memory of a drive-in comes with nostalgia of movies of years past. Volkswagen recently picked their favorite movies starring VWs, vintage and modern. Scroll down to see them all.

"The Love Bug"

"The Love Bug" (1968): A down-on-his-luck race car driver and his mechanic discover a white 1963 Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own. Starring: Dean Jones, Michele Lee, David Tomlinson

"Footloose"

"Footloose" (1984, 2011): When a teenager gets pulled over for listening to rock-n-roll in his yellow 1972 Volkswagen Beetle, he realizes his small town is overdue for some change. Starring: Kenny Wormald (2011), Julianne Hough (2011), Dennis Quaid (2011), Kevin Bacon (1984), Lori Singer (1984), John Lithgow (1984)

"Pretty in Pink"

"Pretty in Pink" (1986): A high school misfit drives her light pink 1959 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia to the prom – a perfect accessory to her homemade, puffy-sleeved dress. Starring: Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Harry Dean Stanton

"Happy Gilmore"

"Happy Gilmore" (1996): The transformation of a hockey hack into a pro golfer takes many hilarious turns, including an attack with a white 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle. Starring: Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, Julie Bowen

"50 First Dates"

"50 First Dates" (2004): An art teacher suffering from short-term memory loss drives a sunny yellow 1973 Volkswagen Thing as she goes on dates around Hawaii. Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Rob Schneider

"Little Miss Sunshine"

"Little Miss Sunshine" (2006): A dysfunctional family comes together as they road-trip to California in a yellow 1971 Volkswagen T2 Microbus. Starring: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear

"Horrible Bosses"

"Horrible Bosses" (2011): Three disgruntled employees plot revenge against their oppressive bosses from a silver 2011 Volkswagen Jetta. Starring: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis

"Bumblebee"

"Bumblebee" (2018): When a teenager discovers a beat-up yellow 1967 Volkswagen Beetle in a junkyard, she unwittingly brings an extraterrestrial civil war to Earth. Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Cena

"Once Upon A Time in Hollywood"

"Once Upon A Time in Hollywood" (2019): An actor's stunt double drives a baby blue 1964 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia as he struggles to find meaningful work in the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age. Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie

"Between Two Ferns: The Movie"

"Between Two Ferns: The Movie" (2019): In his quest to earn a show on network TV, a comedian drives his 2006 Volkswagen Passat wagon across the country, interviewing celebrities along the way.

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Tanner Foust has worn many hats but one of his best-known roles is as a stunt driver in the Jason Bourne movies.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Tanner Foust is more than just a four-time Rallycross Champion, multi-time X Games gold medalist, World Indoor Speed Record holder, and former host of the American version of "Top Gear". He's also Jason Bourne.

While Bourne is traditionally played by a Hollywood superstar during closeups, it is Tanner Foust in the role of the fictitious secret agent in many of the films driving scenes in two of the movies, "The Bourne Ultimatum" and "The Bourne Legacy".

"Some of the stunt guys can light themselves on fire, have a martial arts battle on top of a building and then jump off it," Foust told Top Gear Philippines in 2012 while he was in Malina filming "The Bourne Legacy". "But it's difficult for stunt guys to really develop an auto racing technique. It's's a specialty and it's expensive when you crash a car so I'm lucky enough to get to crash cars all the time."

Tanner Foust Volkswagen racing Foust's other role is as a Volkswagen ambassador.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Foust's skills have also put him behind the wheel as a stunt driver in "Iron Man 2", "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw", and "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" among others. For his efforts, Foust has been thrice nominated for trophies at the Taurus World Stunt Awards.

When he's not on movie sets, the 46-year old Foust spends much of his time behind the wheel of Volkswagens. He is the company's R brand ambassador. As part of that role, he is actively involved in the coordination and approval process for new Volkswagen R vehicles.

"Tanner Foust is a man of many talents. Of course, it's his skills behind the wheel that stand out the most. With his positive mindset and infectious passion for sporty cars, he is also a really likeable guy. Tanner is a great fit for us and represents everything that Volkswagen R stands for around the globe—in a charismatic and authentic manner," says Jost Capito, Managing Director at Volkswagen R. "His expertise is also a genuine advantage for the development and optimization of R models."

His latest test car is the eR1, a model designed for a 100-percet electric racing car based on the body of a Volkswagen Golf. "The future of Volkswagen and motorsport is electric," says Foust.

Recently, Volkswagen Group board member Jurgen Stackmann echoed what Foust said, telling Top Gear that, "The future of R needs to be, and will be, electric." "We're still working," he continued, "on what we started two and half years ago – which was obviously not electric, though exciting – but the work going forward is and will be electrified."

The Group has not made it a secret that their push toward electrification and electric vehicles is a top priority for the company. From Bentley to Audi to Volkswagen, the push is on in earnest whether for electrified or fully electric vehicles.

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