Years: 1949 & 1966
Class: Subcompact / Economy Car
Country of Origin: Germany
Price: $38,122 ('49 Type 1, used car lot)
$60,000 ('66 Beetle 1200, Premium lot)
GT5 Mileage: 5,870.0 ('49 Type 1), 0.0 ('66 Beetle 1200)
Type 1 Standard specs below
Lenth: 160.23" // Width: 60.6" // Height: 61.0"
5 feet 5 inches
Track: 51.0" [F] 49.3" [R]
Ground Clearance: 6.3"
Weight: 1,587 pounds
Wgt Dist: 42/58
Beetle 1200 specs below
Length: 160.23" // Width: 60.63" // Height: 59.0"
Overhang: @ 5
feet 5 inches
Track: 51.5" [F] 50.7 [R]
Ground Clearance: 6.0"
Weight: 1,719 pounds
Layout: rear engine /
F. Suspension: torsion bars, shox, anti-roll bar
R. Suspension: swing axle, torsion
bars, shox, anti-roll bar
** No oil change or maintenance was performed for either engine in either
'49 Type 1 Engine: 1.1 liter OHV flat-4
'66 Beetle Engine: 1.2 liter OHV flat-4
Valves / Cyl: 2
1.1 liter Bore x Stroke: 2.95 x 2.52"
1.2 liter Bore x Stroke:
3.03 x 2.52"
1.1 liter Compression: 5.80:1
1.2 liter Compression: 7.00:1
Starting HP: 24 @ 3,500
32 @ 3,500
Strting torque: 50 @ 2,000 58
Credits per HP: $1,524.88 $1,875.00
per HP: 66.12
Pnds per torque: 33.06
Horses per Liter: 21.22
1.1 liter Idle: 600 // Redline: 4,000 // RPM Limit: 4,500
1.2 liter Idle: 750 // Redline: 3,750 // RPM Limit:
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Differential: open type
0-60 mph: 34.117 seconds
0-100 mph: nil
0-150 mph: nil
400 M: 25.721 @ 53 mph 23.821
@ 57 mph
1 Kilom: 47.802 @ 66 mph
44.310 @ 71 mph
1/4 Mile: 25.819 @ 57 mph 23.913
@ 57 mph
1 Mile: 1:07.225 @ 72 mph 1:02.965 @ 74
100-zero mph: no test
Top Speed at Redline (1.1 liter, '49 Type 1)
1st: 15.9 mph
2nd: 29.6 mph
3rd: 49.9 mph
77.0 mph @ 4,000 rpm (aerodynamically limited)
Top Speed at Redline: (1.2 liter, '66 Beetle)
2nd: 31.6 mph
3rd: 49.2 mph
4th: 75.2 mph @ 3,900 rpm
---------EXTERIOR / HISTORY---------
Yes, folks, here it finally is!...the Volkswagen Beetle, otherwise known as the
Type 1. Do you know how long I have waited for this car in Gran Turismo? Way too long....
is the car I was sure would appear (which should have appeared) long ago in Gran Turismo 2, simply due to its real-life
popularity. We got the Subaru 360, we got the Daihatsu Midget Type II, we got the Mini Cooper. Why not a Beetle? Right?
But somehow, we didn't get an original-issue Beetle until GT4 came out, and that version (a '49 car with
a 1.1 liter 25 horsepower engine) really is way too weak to participate outside of a handfull of events like the Sunday Cup
and Lightweight K Cup. This will cost a LOT of cash, too, safely erasing any profit margin we may have had in mind. The '49
Type 1 Standard with its 1.1 liter engine can't even touch the '66 Beetle with its 1.2 liter, as we soon shall see!
There's also the New Beetle, which has been around since 1999 (GT2), but please...let us not confuse
this modern, dainty femme-mobile with original, sparsely-equipped, rear-drive versions. Old Beetles and New Beetles are
worlds apart in just about every imaginable way, and only a very superficial resemblance relates them. So what's the original
Beetle's story, then? Literally thousands of stories can be told about this car's history and background, so
I'll try to make this short and to the point.
What we now know as the "Beetle" or "Bug"
started its life as a series of concept cars made during the 1930s, designed by Ferdinand Porsche. Yes, the
Ferdinand Porsche...the one who's son would later develop the 356, 911, and many others we pine after. His career didn't
start with supercars! Matter of fact, what would eventually be known as the "Beetle" would at one time be
called the "Porsche Type 60" during its prototype phase way back in 1935. Many gamers out there are probably also
unaware that Hitler was responsible for making sure the Beetle would see its fruition as a "people's
...Yes...Hitler...as in Adolf Hitler, that awful retch who would eventually exterminate
millions of humans. Somehow, he's the one who was actually behind the Volkswagen... the "people's car". Volks = people
in German, you see. Somehow, Hitler saw fit to conceive and later approve of the VW Beetle, this car which would
years later be known as the "Love Bug" by many a hippie. Without Hitler, none of this would have happened. How could
this be? Boggling, isn't it?
Hitler's vision, starting sometime in 1933, was that the "people's car"
would be just that: something an ordinary Third Reich citizen could purchase at an affordable price, assuming that citizen
was not Jewish or Muslim or African or whatever. The people's car would be able to carry two adults and three children at
a comfortable 100 km/h. It would be mechanically simple and easy to repair. It would be durable. And it would be aerodynamic
and fuel-efficient. It would, in other words, be sort of a solution to many problems suffered by earlier automobiles made
for the common man (and woman). It would be available to many drivers who (I'm assuming) previously could not afford an actual
car, too. It's hard to admit that Hitler wasn't all bad, but there it is. Cars would not just be for rich people, not
under his regime.
Initially there were just three Volkswagens: two sedans and a convertible. That's where
it all started. Just three cars. It would take several years for the massive breeding and multiplying to occur, and occur
it would. When insects mate in real-life, a single female can eventually lay thousands (sometimes tens or hundreds of
thousands) of eggs. It seems these original three Beetles did just that.
Hitler chose the name "KDF-Wagen" for
these early versions, to the angst of Porsche, who probably wanted them to be known as Porsches. But who wants to defy Hitler?
Not even Porsche, as much respect as he had from Der Führer, chose to do so. KDF stands for Kraft Durch Freude,
which translates roughly to "strength for joy" in English. What the hell?
World War II happened, of
course, and despite what a few conspiracy-type websites out there may try to inform us, the Third Reich never came to
be. During this time, Porsche & Hitler's pet project wound up becoming a military vehicle. Though this may seem like a
ridiculous idea, consider for a moment that if the KDF could survive everywhere the Third Reich tried to leave its mark
(from frigid Russia to roasting Africa), it had to be a very durable machine. It's estimated that various KDFs put together
over a million miles collectively during World War II. There were also several KDF-derived military vehicles like the Kübelwagen,
built for more treacherous conditions, but let's try not to get too far off-topic.
a couple stories out there as to how the Beetle survived the war. Story 1, which I didn't know before doing some research,
was that the factory in which those early KDF prototypes and military cars were produced was nearly destroyed,
and that a single bomb (which never exploded) landed in what was left of this factory. Had this bomb exploded, the Beetle
would never have seen the light of day. The factory was nearly destroyed, but the tooling to make KDF duplicates was
not. Another story contradicts this, and says that the Germans dismantled and stowed this tooling safely away in an air
raid bunker, and only after the war was it dug out and the future of the KDF decided.
Britian eventually took
control of the original factory (or what was left of it), and decided it would now be used to make military
vehicles, but first Britain freed the prisoners who were in charge of producing the KDF Wagen. And it's interesting that
after production was ensued, the first 1,785 Type 1s became British military autos! British occupation
used these cars to drive around as Germany began rebuilding itself, yet it was believed that nobody in Britain would dare
own one of these Wagens; hence they weren't exported from Germany until several years later.
as West Germany came about, the Germans took back proper control of the Type 1 and history was made.
The KDF eventually
became known generically as the Type 1, which eventually became lovingly known as the "Käfer". Käfer is the
German word for Beetle. Just a few hundred of these were made in 1946. In 1948 this jumped to 19,000, which jumped further
to 46,000 the following year. Eventually Beetle production would skyrocket to around 1,000 cars per day. In just a few
short years the millionth Beetle rolled off the assembly line (1955). Over its entire lifespan, just over 21
and a half million copies would be made.
After the war, Ferdinand Porsche (get this) was a French prisoner.
He was held until 1947, when he was finally declared innocent. According to one website I visited, he was moved "nearly
to tears" once he finally was allowed back into Germany in 1949, and got his first glimpse at dozens of Type 1s rolling
on the streets, driven by ordinary people instead of soldiers. Strength for joy, indeed. He died just a couple years
later, unknowing of the Käfer's long, long future. Amazing.
Many gamers today may
laugh and wonder why the '66 Beetle is now being offered as a Premium automobile in Gran Turismo 5, but at one time the
Beetle was actually one of the better alternatives for an everyday car, especially in post-war Europe. Citroen's 2CV, for
instance, was in comparison quite rough and unpolished. Same goes with Morris's Minor. Both of these were developed for
rural areas with unpaved roads, while the Beetle was originally envisioned (by Hitler) for travel on Germany's
Autobahn system. Although not a true unibody design, the Type 1 also incorporated a tight, solid structure, so far as its
body-on-backbone frame went.
People in America also laughed when the Beetle hit our shores in 1949,
and this model got off to a slow, struggly start. Over 100,000 Beetles were on the roads worldwide in 1950, but few of these
were in America. 6,000 were on our roads by 1953, 104,000 in 1958, and 150,000 towards the end of the decade. Considering
that over a million were sold worldwide, this means most of them must have been running around in Europe.
as the 1950s rolled into the '60s, it was this automobile which began to dominate the small car
market in America. Why? Mostly because it didn't have any competition! Not really...not in America, anyways. Other
than the Nash Metropolitan, there were no smaller Americans, and not everybody back then was interested (or could afford)
to drive around a huge shark-finned V8 engine'd monstrosity. Nash's Metropolitan sold for a similar price as VW's Beetle (just
under $1,500), yet less than 100,000 Metropolitans were made during this car's 11-year run. In comparison, millions
of Beetles were on the road during the same time. By the end of the Metropolitan's day in 1962, there were probably twice
as many VW Beetles in America than Nash Metropolitans.
Others attempted to conquer America with smaller
cars during this time and into the 1960s, but these attempts are not as familiar to us now, mostly since they were unsuccessful.
France tried to introduce its Renaults to the U.S., inspired by VW's stellar growth, yet few of us bought French. Renault's
Dauphine in particular (another rear-engine car) proved unreliable and rust-prone. Subaru's 360 was another early try, but Japan
was years away from its American sales boom. During the 1950s and '60s, VW ruled a market nobody else could touch.
of this has anything to do with why I'm excited about the Beetle in our videogames, though. It's amazing to think of this
slug as a race-car, but Beetles have been amateur racers for years now, on and off-road. They therefore deserve
a spot in Gran Turimso.
Eventually during the 1970s, the Beetle would start to die off. As Datsuns, Hondas,
Toyotas (etc.) started to prove their worth, Beetle sales slumped in America, and probably in some other parts of the world. Yet
it is interesting that the Beetle still stayed in production in many developing or third-world areas like South America, Central
America, and Eastern Europe. Like a cockroach which survives despite the bug sprays which try to kill it, the Bug lived on,
finally dying its final death sometime in 2003! The first Beetles were German. The last were oddly Mexican. 21.5+
million examples overall. I highly highly doubt either Hitler or Porsche saw any of this coming.
have a look at the differences between the two Beetles of this review. The '49 Type 1 Standard 1100 is a "Standard" car
in GT5, but it first appeared in GT4. I've never driven this car in the earlier game, though, not that I remember. This
car features a split rear window, later replaced by a single pane of glass in the '66 Beetle 1200. The '49 lacks the
turn signals mounted on the '66 Beetle's front fenders. It is an overall slightly simpler design, with huge full moon-style headlamps
which aim off at a slight upward angle (rather than straight ahead). The '49 sports less chrome, smaller bumpers, and
less accenting. It also weighs 132 pounds less than the '66, too, which sounds great, but for several
reasons this advantage eventually gets lost.
Anyways, I'm PSYCHED! Psyched to finally be able to drive one of
these virtually. Aren't you? Heh heh heh...
----------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN------------
When I was a kid, it was impossible not to have heard the Beetle's distinctive air-cooled flat-4 engine
at least once per day. Blth blth blth blth blth blth... it's a sound those of us who are older than 35 heard quite
It wasn't a roar, nor was it exactly a purr or a grumble. It almost sounds like a cicaeda. Cicaedas are several species
of insects here in North America and (I'm assuming) some other parts of the world. Cicaedas make their loud, annoying music
during late summer months as they're in the process of breeding. I wouldn't classify the VW Beetle's sound as "annoying",
but others might, and the cicaeda is what comes closest in the animal kingdom to describing the tight, metallic sounds
these engines make. Plus, cicaedas are bugs, just like VW Beetles are. Nowadays, the sound of the Beetle is almost non-existent,
unless, I suppose, you live in an area (Mexico? Iran? Romania?) in which there are still plenty of Type 1s rolling about.
Anyways, enough of that.
Early during the Beetle's development, Ferdinand Porsche apparently had some sort of
a spat with somebody whom he was working with by the name of Zündapp. Zündapp was in the business of making motorcycles,
and wanted Hitler's people-car to have a radial-type water-cooled 5 cylinder engine, while Porsche preferred
a flat air-cooled 4-cylinder. In case you're unfamiliar, radial engines were only used in early piston-engine airplanes,
as far as I know. A 5-cylinder radial in the compact Type 1 probably wouldn't have worked. Where the heck would it fit? It's
a good thing such a design never saw the light of day in the VW, for obvious reasons.
The original flat-4 engine
was sometimes known as a "pancake" or "boxer". Only Subaru uses such a design nowadays, as flat engines are popular in most
of their cars. Oh, and Porsche. Porsche to this day still uses flat engines, often located (of course) at the rear of their
cars. Guess where all of this started? As much as we may laugh at it today (hell, some people laughed
at it back then!) the Beetle's flat-4 was actually one of the reasons it lasted so long in the automotive world.
Its durability was astounding. It was air-cooled, but featured an oil cooler which managed to help a lot with longevity, even
in hot climes along the equator.
It is also (notice) more of a torquey, low-revving engine, instead of a
stratospherically high-revving one. It may not be fast, but at least it always provides a bit of stomp, which gets felt especially
out of tighter turns. Our power-band is also quite compact, redline starting at just 3,750 in the '66 model. Only with some
turbocharged power will we start to notice any moments of hesitation or "lag". The pancake otherwise tends to get moving 100%
of the time, or at least tries to. Still, we have some major problems.
The '49 Type 1? With just 24 horsepower
to start, we can pretty much forget about taking it seriously at first. Rarely will this car rate well during
any of Gran Turismo's races. Even during the Sunday Cup, it winds up on our much-beloved "novelty" list. Now, it can
win a few races here and there. Sunday Cup at Autumn Ring Mini is an example. But to get it to do so will require a hefty
amount of credits spent. Those who are just starting the game won't be able to simply hop in a '49, in either GT4 or
GT5, and start making some wins. Also, there are some surprisingly weird limits against this car, like the time I tried
entering a '49 into some of GT5's European Historic races, only to learn that it's too old to qualify!
Which is why I'm glad PD has introduced the '66 model. I've been saying for years I'd like a larger engine, and
there were several larger engines offered in original Beetles. Well...1.2 liters is larger than 1.1! Gotta start somewhere.
The 1.2 doesn't start with much more power (32 hp versus 24), yet it goes so much further. Simple
upgrades + a couple turbo kits place it just over 100 horses, no problem. In contrast, top natural power in the '49 Type
1 Standard rates at 54 HP @ 4,300 rpms with 84 foot-pounds at 2,900. Add a Stage 3 turbo,
and we've got 85 @ 4,700 with 102 @ 3,900. We can do some damage with these low figures
if we're good, but don't expect the '49 to have a decently extensive racing career!
Now let's talk about options for
power. We can play with power bands as we equip kit to kit. Stage 1 and 2 turbo kits place power mid-rangey, and with a spikey
profile, great for off-road or small-course ventures. Stage 3, on the other hand, can be used for tracks like Sarthe
with much longer straight areas. With this car's light weight, its pound-to-power ratio shrinks like I wish my waistband would.
Again, I've been saying for years how I wish PD would give us a later version Type 1 with a larger engine, and this is why,
The Beetle featured a couple different transmission options in real-life, which I find somewhat amazing.
One was a clutchless 3-speed, the other a 4-speed manual. We get the 4-speed manuals in both Type 1 Beetles. In either case,
gearing is about as tall as a turtle, which is to say not very tall, and acceleration is only slightly better. Gears
1 thru 3 are very short, which is necessary. Otherwise, acceleration would take even longer than it does. Stock transmissions
require lots of gear-shifting, lots of effort, but not much reward.
As useless as these 4-speeds will become as we
tune for more power, they are completely at home while the Type 1 has its stock engine parts. During my Type 1 Top Speed
runs, the car lurched forth and onwards, finally rising past redline in 4th gear, but never peaking at its RPM limit.
Speaking of...it's interesting that the older, less powerful Beetle has a slightly higher top speed than the '66: 77.0
mph versus 75.2. I'm not sure why this is. Could be the fact that the '66 weighs 132 pounds more.
The '49 can't touch the '66 when it comes to acceleration though, it winds up being seconds slower,
even though it's got just 8 horses less. Interesting.
----------CHASSIS / HANDLING-----------
Driving New Beetles around for several years now on and off (mostly off), we all know what they're mostly
about when it comes to handling concerns: understeer! Right? Well get ready. The original Type 1s have
their own concerns for sure. Understeer is not one of them, however. Understeer in a Type 1 will be one of your least concerns.
are other differences between New and old. After driving several original Beetles, and then racing some under
different circumstances in GT5, these are the conclusions which can easily be made...
1). Yes, this car is "slow",
but it is not for beginners. DON'T even think about "Buggin'" if you're new to the game.
2). Yes, this car is
always low-powered, but at times it requires some dextrous cornering moves otherwise reserved for cars with lots more
Remember those two facts. Remember them as you approach, struggle, and possibly lose massive amounts
of time trying to get this car to behave! In contrast, the New Beetles make excellent beginner's cars, they
are much easier to drive. Learn how and when to brake, and there's usually not much else to be concerned about. Understeer
in a New Beetle mostly becomes an issue for those who are constantly getting too hot into turns.
older Type 1s are much more difficult to master, in my opinion, especially once power is being added. A New Beetle, for instance,
tends to display many of the same issues (understeer, and some traction loss) whether power is stock (110 to 126 hp, depending), or
whether it's tuned and approaching 200 hp. Only the degree of these issues gets stronger as power gets added. Well,
even with just 100 horsepower, a Type 1 Beetle can be difficult. There is much more of a difference between a stock-powered
Type 1 and a fully (or partially) tuned one. See what I'm saying?
Guess what? Beetles are not race cars. They
are "Volkswagens", cars originally made for ordinary Third Reichians so they could go shopping for bread and laundry
soap while possibly pretending some of their neighbors were not being murdered. They are everyday sorts of vehicles. Point
A to point B. Even 30...40...50 years after the Beetle's original conception, when the Super Beetle made its debut in
1973, it was still not really very "super".
...So don't think of them as race cars. Not at first, anyways. Despite
the fact that the Beetle could be (and often was) raced on an amateur level, in its stock form it is quite a mess!
at first, none of this is really apparent. As I was saying, Beetles with 24 or 32 horsepower engines behave a lot
differently than those with 100+ horsepower engines. With stock power, the Beetle displays a few tricky behaviors, but since
power is so low, it's always easy to manage at this level. Notice it does slide slightly sideways upon entry into some
turns. It also starts to steer "from the rear" at times as throttle gets added, even with its almost non-existent power. But
since power is almost non-existent at first, it's always easy to get a Beetle out of any problems it may face. Later
on when we're adding turbos and engine stages for races, this is no longer so.
a corner usually starts with braking. I'm not sure yet how the Beetle does it in GT4, but let's take a gander
Low speed turns? High speed turns? It doesn't matter, this car often feels like a catepillar at a discoteque
as it's approaching 'em. Make sure you're braking in a straight line at first. Start early. Even if it already
seems you're not going that fast. The Type 1 has a habit of easily getting sideways under braking, especially while
turning. Now, it is possible to trail brake successfully in a Beetle, but this is something us newer Type 1 drivers
should work our way up to. Steer-in too hard while braking into a turn (any turn) and this car WILL try to jackknife us.
brakes are off, that rear engine still has a tendency to skew the car this way and that, meaning that countersteer will often
be needed as we're re-applying throttle. All of these factors are basically givens, and the sooner these are learned,
the better our chances for some Beetle success. After awhile, it is possible to perform some wicked tasks while racing amongst
other cars, but it'll take awhile to learn how to do this.
Notice this car's tires: 165/80-15 is the official
size I found at www.tire-rack.com , which amazingly lists this car's rubber. These tires are large-walled (80) but very narrow (165) bias plys. As we
dip and turn and twist our way into some turns, the entire car leaning this way and that, these tires are dipping, turning,
twisting as well. There's a lot of extra movement going on which can hinder our progress, all starting with these tires. Modern
tires (especially low-profile radials) tend to be a lot more rigid. There is less movement within a modern tire,
which means more stability as turns are being taken. More stability generally means more control. This is not so with the
Beetle's original bias plys.
We can notice all this action as we're trying to exit turns, too. Add just
a little too much throttle, and the entire rear-end turns to mush! You're trying to go left while the rear of the car wants
to try going right. That sort of thing. It happens over and over again, and can be fun or frustrating (sometimes
both). Getting a burnout in a 100 horsepower Beetle is just as easy as getting one in a 300 horsepower Camaro. What can we
do about this?
Bottom line, now, and this advice I'm about to dispense seems to be true with all
low-powered rear-engine automobiles. The SambaBus and Alpines can also be included here, along with Subaru's 360.
Bottom line: any sort of extreme movements during cornering will often be rewarded with traumas.
Full-throttle while steering, for instance. Steering-in fully while downshifting at just the wrong moment is
another no-no. And fully braking while fully steering-in can EASILY put you in last place, as the car will most likely spin
if any sort of speed is involved. Understeer is not an issue, true...it's everything else that becomes so!
Use light steering movements instead of ham-fisting that wheel. Use partial brake taps and feather that throttle, don't
"put the pedal to the metal" at these moments, unless you're safely going in a straight line. Keeping this car in a safe orbit
during cornering requires a delicate touch, basically. Only strong moments of countersteer should be employed at those times
when emergencies happen. And unless you're very well-rehearsed, these emergencies WILL happen, sometimes several times during
the same race!
But is there anything which can help us at all, tuning wise?
limited-slip device can work wonders, especially with traction, and also with braking-in while steering. Even a strongly-tuned
limited-slip can leave plenty of flexibility to the driver, it won't necessarily kill all of this car's better traits. And
it's this flexibility (along with the Beetle's smallish dimensions) which can be some stronger advantages to use.
virtually zero understeer, this older Beetle actually offers plenty more options in comparison to the front-drive, understeer-loving
New Beetle. Getting to know the Type 1, therefore, is lots more rewarding in the long run than getting to know that
...So throw out the bug spray, and accept the flower power! The Type 1 Beetle is here to stay for us
1). Iconic. About
as iconic as it gets when it comes to small economy cars.
2). Also, these can be quite fun, and quite a challenge
to drive and race.
3). PD got the design and sounds right, too.
4). A couple different models to choose from.
One is Standard, the other Premium. The '66 Beetle's interior is so divine.
5). Decent power upgrades,
especially for the '66 Beetle. Turbo kits available along with the usual engine Stages.
6). Lightweight as can
7). Also quite a maneuvering devil of a car, for those who figure out how to handle it.
1). Slow slow mighty slow.
And that 4-speed gearbox? That's gotta go.
3). Difficult handling characteristics. Lots of oversteer issues, mostly.
Squeemish traction out of turns of all kinds.
4). Tuning (and parts, such as limited-slips and long-range transmissions)
eventually are needed. Some issues cannot ever be fixed despite many methods of trying.
5). The '49 is just about
useless in the long run, since it can't accept as many power upgrades. Nor can it be entered in several Historic races, even
though it's a historic vehicle.
6). Type 1 Beetles can accept 3 levels of turbocharging, but Stage 3 introduces some
7). Lowish redline area. It's easy to forget when to shift gears if you're used to cars with
7,000 rpms of playtime.
9). No tachometer in the Premium '66 Beetle (not without faking it by turning
on the HUD, that is).
10). '49 Type 1 must be "discovered" in GT5's used car lot. It's not especially rare, but
it can be difficult to locate one just when you've got the urge. '66 Beetle must be bought (literally) as DLC, or gifted to
you by a friend. Otherwise, its 60,000 credit price tag might put a dent in your fender.
Published: February 16, 2012