Farewell to the Beetle
The day we thought would never come, has come. The Volkswagen Beetle is no longer in production. That has not happened since August 1945, when British Army Major Ivan Hirst restarted production of the defunct kDF-Wagen at the bomb-damaged Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg, to help provide cheap, reliable transport for the occupying forces, and the population, of post-war West Germany.
Even when the original Beetle had ended its European production in the 1970s, and many years before J Mays' recreated second-generation model was launched in 1999, the original Type 1 Beetle remained in production in Mexico. That didn't come to an end until 2003, by which time production of the front-wheel-drive second gen model was in full swing, and that was replaced by the current Golf-based Beetle in 2011.
Now that's gone too.
There are still a few left that you can buy, but you'll have to be quick. There's a limited supply of last-of-the-line versions across Volkswagen retailers - priced from €25,350. The Beetle Design is available with a 105hp 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG automatic. Alternatively, buyers can choose a 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine with 110hp with a five-speed manual or seven-speed DSG. The Beetle R-Line is available with more powerful engines. The petrol offering is a 1.4-litre TSI putting out 150hp via a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG. Moreover, the 2.0-litre TDI diesel in the R-Line version puts out 150hp. Prices for the R-Line specification start from €30,395.
It's a good buy, too. Not as practical nor as simple as the original Beetle, of course, but enjoyable to drive, and great looking, too.
The Beetle in Ireland has history, of course. The first Beetle ever to be assembled outside of Germany was made in Motor Distributors' factory in Ballsbridge in 1950, at a time when it would have cost you £465 to buy one. Production later moved to a huge premises on the Naas Road in Dublin, which still stands today, and which was home to Volkswagen Ireland until quite recently. Beetles would be a staple of the Irish car market right up until it was taken off sale in 1977, often selling as many as 3-4,000 units a year.
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