Interior Gas Heaters & VW Beetles

Published: 03rd May 2011
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Who would of thought that an ugly duckling car would go on to become a much loved Disney movie hero in the form of Herby the 4 cylinder Volkswagen VW Beetle of most determined and passionate vehicle on the race and rally tracks .

The Beetle project was started in 1933 by Adolf Hitler when he became the German Chancellor. He wanted to create the Volkswagen or People's car. Early VWs were certainly simple economy cars. Gasoline was measured without a gas gauge. The owner picked up the hood and with a wooden ruler type device stuck the "gas gauge" into the filler opening and measured the gas level with an oil type dipstick. The gas tank opening was under the front hood not on the side or back outside of the vehicle.

Work resumed and up to 7677 cars were built in 1946. The plant was able to sustain this output even though it was very difficult. In 1948, Heinz Nordhoof was made General Manager. He instantly set out to make the Beetle go global. In July 1947 he launched a highly enhanced export model which sold very well in Holland. He saw that the great potential of the American market and in 1955 instituted Volkswagen of America. A new Austrian recruit named Franz Xavier Reimspiess presented a four-cylinder boxer type motor. Its simplicity allowed it to be produced even cheaper than the engine then being developed. With its air cooled ( as opposed to the standard water cooled radiator designs), engines Beetles engines were ultra reliable and always started in cold winter climates without being garaged. Canadians especially those in northern Manitoba,Ontario , Alberta and BC British Columbia loved them for that.

Yet the failing - of the reverse of having no radiator meant no hot water and antifreeze for the in car heater. This was remedied in cold climates ( important for safety concerns for the windshield defroster and frosted icy windows ) with a gas heater. Still gas heaters used a lot of gasoline and were not cheap to operate.

In 1937, the VW was made a government-funded project. Hitler said that the car should look like a beetle to be streamlined. Tests were run and changes were made. Once the car's design was settled, the German government started work on the factory. In May 1938, the foundation stone was ceremonially laid by Adolf Hitler. The first phase of the plant was finished in 1939. Manufacturing was however interrupted due to World War II.

It had an air-cooled rear-mounted boxer engine and used Porsche's torsion bar suspension. This design became the basis for the Volkswagen, designated in 1934 as Type 60 in the Porsche design registry. Production resumed and at least 7677 cars were built in 1946. Heinz Nordhoof became the General Manager in 1948. He saw that America was a great potential market and in 1955 established Volkswagen of America. Long before Toyota became a household name in the US and Canada the Beetle had made its record as the best ranking import car model and brand. By 1968, sales were highest at 423,008 cars sold. Plants were created from 1951 to 1964 in South Africa, Brazil, Australia and Mexico.

In 1950, the 100,000th car was built, and in 1965 Wolfsburg produced its first millionth Beetle. Unfortunately, Heinz Nordoff died in 1968. For one minute, factory work was stopped to pay a silent tribute to the person who turned Volkswagen into Germany's biggest car company and one of Europe's largest.

In 1972, the Beetle overtook the Model T Ford as the best-selling car in history. But VW made the same mistake as Ford by keeping the Beetle in production far too long. In 1974, Volkswagen recorded its first loss. A replacement engine which was economical and reasonably quiet was needed. An Austrian newcomer named Franz Xavier Reimspiess developed a boxer motor with four-cylinders.

This rugged little car's charm has won the hearts of many, making it an all-time top-seller. Even with its aged design, it's still being manufactured after more than forty years. More than twenty million Beetles have been made and more continue to be produced in Mexico and Brazil.


Terry S. Vostor

Surrey BC GMC Truck Dealer

Surrey Langley Auto Service

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