You don’t need us to tell you how important the Volkswagen Beetle was, is, and continues to be. We’re also not here to give you a history lesson, as when it comes to the Beetle, it would be a long one… so we’ll try and keep it brief here.
The Volkswagen Type 1 (as it is officially known) was a car conceptualised at the direction of Adolf Hitler, and under the guidance of Ferdinand Porsche to be the “peoples car” of Nazi Germany. However, despite many promises, during the Nazi occupation only a few thousand units of the “Type 1” were produced, and were mainly used by Nazi officers, and close allies of Hitler… some “peoples car” eh.
It wasn’t until the end of the 1940’s in post-war Germany that civilian cars were really produced en masse. The opportunity to take over the Volkswagen factory was initially offered to the British, who true to form turned it down stating “the vehicle does not meet the fundamental technical requirements of a motor-car… it is quite unattractive to the average buyer… to build the car commercially would be a completely uneconomic enterprise“. Ahem…. we’ll say no more.
As soon as the humble “Type 1” got into the hands of the general German public, they affectionately named it the “Käfer” (Beetle in german). The car was a roaring success providing cheap, reliable motoring to the masses. It was produced virtually unchanged for a staggering 65 years (1938 – 2003). Its simple design (a flat-four, rear engined, rear-wheel drive layout) was key to its success – production was cheap, parts readily available, and maintenance was something any home mechanic could carry out with ease.
The Beetle’s success as a car simply cannot be overstated. Throughout its lifespan an estimated 21 million units were sold worldwide, and few cars before or since can claim to have had such a fundamental impact from a cultural perspective.
Well we’re very proud to have our first car from Africa here! Roland’s based in Ghana, and the story of how he came to own this Beetle is a great one. We love what he’s done to the car, and his photographs are brilliant. Check out the interview with him below to learn a bit of his story….
Volkswagen Beetle (1978)
- Roland is based in Ghana and uses his Beetle as his daily driver, but also does weddings and photo shoots in it!
- He bought the car 2 years ago, and before that it had been parked for 15 years at a chief’s palace in his village!
- We may know it as the "Beetle" or the "Bug", but in Roland's country it's known affectionately as the "Apotro"!
Interview with the owner
- When did you first purchase the car?2 years ago! (Before then it had been parked for 15 years at a chief’s palace in the village)
- What made you buy a VW Beetle?I loved the history behind it. I felt it was a perfect way to start my love for classics. It is the longest produced vehicle in history.As we all know, it could be found all over the world and every country has a nickname for it. Drop the nickname the classic bug has in your country. In Ghana, my country and where I live, we call it ‘Apotro’!
- What's it like to drive?It’s fun! Everyone sees you and smiles at you. Everyone wants to ask you about the car. Oh and when you’re cruising on the road, the wind just blows in your face through the triangular side windows… exceptional ! I love it
- Has the car been restored / rebuilt / modified?Yes, Partly.I swapped by wheels for 17" rims.I have 225/55 R17 for my rear wheels and 225/45 R17 for the fronts. Of course it makes the car less efficient but I love how it looks. I also had a paint job done in Kumasi, a city in Ghana. I had to change my lights cause they were cracked. I didn’t do much to my engine. I decided to keep it original as possible. Just basic maintenance- spark plugs, Carburettor, oil change….I changed my steering for one from an old VW Jetta. My rear seats are original. I got my 2 front seats from an old bus driver's seat. (my friend did that for me) so it reclines and changes into several seating positions comfortably!
- Do you plan to do any further modifications to it?Yes, at some point an Engine Swap!
- Is the car a "keeper" or will you sell it one day?I'll take it to my grave!
- Ok final question – ignoring cost, and assuming you couldn’t go and sell it for profit… what’s your dream car and why?My dream car changes every now and then but currently I’m in love with the Toyota Supra. It’s just simply a practical sports car that can be used as a daily!