The Volkswagen Type 1, widely known as the Volkswagen Beetle or Volkswagen Bug, is an economy car produced from 1938 until 2003. With over 21 million manufactured in an air-cooled, rear-engined, rear-wheel drive configuration, the Beetle is the longest-running and most-manufactured automobile of a single design platform anywhere in the world.
The Beetle featured a rear-located, rear-wheel drive, air-cooled four-cylinder, boxer engine in a two-door bodywork featuring a flat front windscreen, accommodating four passengers and providing luggage storage under the front bonnet and behind the rear seat – and offering a coefficient of drag of 0.41. The bodywork attached with eighteen bolts to its nearly flat chassis which featured a central structural tunnel. Front and rear suspension featured torsion bars along with front and rear stabilizer bars – providing independent suspensions at all wheels. Certain initial features were subsequently revised, including mechanical drum brakes, split-window rear windows, mechanical direction-indicators and the non-synchronized gearbox. Other features, including its distinctive overall shape, endured.
In 1971, alongside continued production of the "standard" Beetle, a Type 1 variant which featured MacPherson strut front suspension and a redesigned front end. Officially known as the VW 1302 from 1971 to 1972, and VW 1303 from 1973 onwards, but commonly called Super Beetle, the new stretched nose design replaced the dual parallel torsion bar beams which had compromised trunk space and relocated the spare tire from a near vertical to a low horizontal position. The redesign resulted in a tighter turning radius despite a 20 mm (0.79 in) longer wheelbase, and a doubling of the front compartment's cargo volume. As with previous models, air pressure from the spare tire pressurized the windshield washer canister, in lieu of an electric pump.
Source: Wikipedia, 2011