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The “People’s Wagon”
Volkswagen, meaning “People’s Wagon” in German, is a legendary auto many people, particularly older ones, can readily relate to with fondness and nostalgia.They can remember riding in or owning a Volkswagen Beetle, for instance, or a Volkswagen van, many which are now considered collector’s items among man auto enthusiasts.
The history of the Volkswagen is derived from Germany when it first made its debut in 1938. It was designed by engineer Joseph Ganz, which inspired Adolf Hitler, who viewed the auto as “The car for my roads”, because of it’s sleekness and ease of movement.
Even though it was designed in 1938-the first Beetles were produced in America on a small scale in 1941-it would not catch on in popularity until after the end of the Second World War, when in 1945, the Volkswagen began to be produced on a mass production level, it’s production was delayed because the War had put its production on hold.
The Volkswagen Beetle seems to have been the most popular model; by the 1950s, and particularly in the 1960s, its sales took off like a rocket. The streets and highways of the world were literally teeming with the presence of Volkswagens.
The Volkswagen became the auto that defined the 1960s. It was often associated with the freewheeling lifestyles of the young; it seemed to epitomize the spirit of the times. But in the later part of the 20th century, Volkswagens began to decline somewhat in popularity, in viewed of the rise of sleeker, faster, sportscars and luxury cars, which by that time was increasingly becoming the norm.
In 1999, The Volkswagen was declared “The Car of the Century.” The effect that the Volkswagen have had on American culture, or 20th century culture, for that matter, has never been forgotten.
The last Volkswagens were produced in 2003. They were small, as the previous models, but they were a little wider, with a aerodynamic design, which is how many 21-century autos have often been produced.
But there is no question in the mind of car buffs that the Volkswagen has indeed made a major impact on society.
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