- By Herschel D. -


  1. Q: VW eventually moved the gear lever position back a little ways away from the dashboard and changed the lever to a slightly shorter, straight design, instead of a crooked one. When did they do that?
    A: 1968. It was also made slightly shorter and straight. I know why they made the change; because until I put an accessory extension on my old, now broken off, 1965 lever it was all too easy for my hand to hit the ignition key! The 1968 style Iím using for now would probably be an uncomfortable reach, especially when going into 3rd gear, except that I have long arms.

  2. Q: I mentioned the 1938 VW miniature (about 1/18th scale they say) that sold for the highest amount ever. Who was the original recipient of that model back in 1938?
    A: In 1938 five miniature VWs were hand made by the Porsche Studio as a gift for men important to the carís development. The model had opening doors, engine lid, and trunk. The body could be lifted off the chassis to view full detail. Pictures exist of Hitler looking at his with the body both on and lifted off. That model is now in a museum in Munich, Germany. The model was sold for $64,000 a few years ago and was originally given to Robert Bosch, the inventor of the spark plug. I think the whereabouts of a third copy is known. But I donít know to whom it was given, except that it may have been the head of the German labor front, Dr. Robert Lay. What became of the other 2 is apparently not known. I have never seen a listing of the 5 recipients either.

  3. Q: When did VW start incorporating the year model into the numbering of the chassis?
    A: Beginning in the 1965 VW, the first three digits of the chassis number indicated the model year and model. Thus, my 1965 Beetle solid roof sedan has 115 as the beginning of its number.

  4. Q: A long time ago VW tested both the early Beetle and the early bus in a wind tunnel. Which model do you think did best?
    A: Youíd think it had to be the Beetle, right? Wrong! The boxy Bus proved to have a lower "drag coefficient" than the Beetle!

  5. Q: What is the year model of the earliest surviving Beetle convertible and WHO was its original owner?
    A: The earliest surviving Beetle convertible is one of the original 1938 prototypes. It was one that was Hitlerís personal car. Hitler never drove it himself because he was never able to earn a driverís license. Apparently he was one of those people that are just too spastic to learn to control a car! The car is in VWís Wolfsburg museum. It is restored, but has the wrong bumpers on it.

  6. Q: What is the essential difference between the 1983-up Bus water-cooled flat-four engine and the earlier air-cooled ones?
    A: The early, 1983-on water-cooled VW bus engine was essentially the old air-cooled flat-four motor with complex, external water passage piping added on. It was notoriously leak prone, too!

MARCHíS - New Questions

  1. VW produced an ambulance model. When did it begin?
  2. What advertising firm was V.O.A. using before they hired DDB to do those wonderful self-knocking ads?
  3. In what year did VW add a diagnostic plug to the Beetle engine?
  4. For which market was the VW Type 3 originally designed?
  5. If you ran up on an old, split-window, single cab pickup that came with no rear bumper and had smooth-sided loading gates, what would you have found?
  6. The early VW water-cooled cars such as the Scirocco and Rabbit were the result of VWís purchase of what other German car makes?

- Answers next month, along with new questions -