1965 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan
Result: PASSED IN
With a production life spanning more than half the life of the automobile itself, the Volkswagen Beetle is an iconic piece of industrial design. Born out of Adolf Hitler's desire to provide cheap transport for the masses and designed by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, the Beetle only seriously entered production after the war ended in 1945 and went on to sell well in excess of 20 million units. The Beetle remained true to the original design brief, but a myriad of small changes were made to answer calls for more performance and improved driveability, including larger engines and the switch to all-synchromesh gearboxes. By the mid-1960s it was clear the Beetle needed another injection of power and the 1300 model was introduced for 1965 by lengthening the stroke from 64mm to 69mm to give an overall capacity of 1284cc. In fact, during the 1960s the power output was increased several times and for 1967 the 1500cc engine developed maximum power of 54 hp at 4200 rpm thanks to the increased capacity and a 7.5:1 compression ratio, with both acceleration and top speed improved accordingly. A host of modifications to the body shell, interior and suspension also improved the Beetle, including two-speed windscreen wiper, reversing lights, a driver's armrest and exterior mirror, sealed-beam headlamps and internal door locking buttons. Today, any Beetle manufactured before 1970 is considered a superior product to the later, less well built, models.