Published on Sep 4, 2012
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Like its contemporaries, the Mini, the Citroën 2CV, and the Fiat 500, the VW Beetle Type 1 has long outlasted predictions of its lifespan. The VW Beetle has been regarded as something of a "cult" car since its 1960s association with the hippie movement and surf culture; and the obvious attributes of VW Beetle unique and quirky design. (For example, the VW Beetle could float on water thanks to its sealed floor pans and overall tight construction, as shown in the 1972 Volkswagen Beetle commercial).
In the United States, Volkswagen enthusiasts frequent large Volkswagen-themed car shows, especially in the summer months. Many of these shows feature camping, a VW Beetle car show called a "show 'n' shine", VW Beetle drag racing, VW Beetle parts swap meet, raffles, VW Beetle burnout contests, and other events. Die-hard and loyal "VW-heads" or "Dubbers" attend these shows regularly, often traveling 500 miles (800 km) or more (even abroad) to attend their favorite VW Beetle event.
Much like their VW Beetle Type 2 counterparts, VW Beetles were psychedelically painted and considered an ancestor of art cars. One of the logos used by the Houston Art Car Klub incorporated a VW Beetle with a cowboy hat. Texas artist Bob "Daddy-O" Wade transformed a VW Beetle into a New Orleans Saints helmet. Currently, there are a wide array of VW Beetle clubs that are concerned with the Beetle. The VW Beetle fans are quite diverse. Looks include the VW Beetle resto-look, VW Beetle Cal Look, VW Beetle German-look, VW Beetle resto-Cal Look, VW Beetle buggies, VW Beetle Baja Bugs, VW Beetle old school, VW Beetle Disney's Herbie the Love Bug replicas, VW Beetle ratlook, etc. Part of the VW Beetle cult status is attributed to being one of a few cars with an air-cooled, horizontally opposed engine design, and the consequent ease of VW Beetle repair and modification, as opposed to the more conventional and technically complex watercooled engine design. The original VW Beetle flat-four boxer design had fewer than 200 moving parts.
The VW Beetle Type has made numerous appearances in Hollywood films, most notably (Disney's) The Love Bug comedy series from 1968 to 2005, starring a VW Beetle as "Herbie", a pearl-white, fabric-sunroofed 1963 VW Beetle —racing number 53. In the plot of the 1973 Woody Allen film Sleeper, Allen's character was able to instantly start a VW Beetle which lay hidden and unused in a cave for 200 years, leading to the punchline "Wow, they really built these things, didn't they?". The race cars in the 1975 action-comedy film Death Race 2000 were actually VW Beetle Type 1s with outlandish customized bodies. In the 1984 series The Transformers, key Autobot character Bumblebee transformed into a VW Beetle, as well fellow Autobot Glyph and the Decepticon Bugbite. In Cars (2006), every bug or insect is represented by a VW Beetle Type 1.
On November 22, 2010, on the final episode of the Oprah's Favorite Things special, Oprah Winfrey and VW announced that every member of Winfrey's audience that day would receive one of the new VW Beetles upon its release in 2011. VW staff gave the audience their special VW Beetle keys to the car. This was followed by a teaser VW Beetle commercial during Super Bowl XLV in February 2011.
To celebrate the VW Beetle global reveal, VW partnered with MTV, to make a debut on three continents on April 18. The VW Beetle reveal began in Shanghai, China with a MTV Sound System celebration hosted by MTV VJs, followed by MTV World Stage events in Berlin and New York City.
The first special edition of the 2012 VW Beetle is the VW Beetle Black Turbo launch edition. It will be limited to 600 cars on the U.S. market and will be the first car available through Volkswagen's new Vehicle Pre-Order program.
A VW Beetle convertible version of the hatchback will be available late 2012 or early 2013 for the 2013 model year. The VW Beetle convertible version will be available with both the gasoline and diesel engines. Transmission will be a five- and six-speed manual and the fast-shifting six-speed DSG automatic. Volkswagen plans to launch three special editions to celebrate the new chop top variant. "VW Beetle Fifties", "VW Beetle Sixties", and "VW Beetle Seventies" special editions will feature special period accurate colors, wheels, and interior options. These "VW Beetle authentic reproductions", as Volkswagen calls them, will be sold in Europe this summer and the U.S. in the autumn of 2012.