10 quirky Volkswagen facts you need to know

3rd March 2020

Are you fizzing for Bill Richardson Transport World's next display, our Volkswagen exhibit?

Set to open just in time for the school holidays on Good Friday (April 10), this is one retro-tinged display guaranteed to get your engine humming. The team at Transport World is already hard at work preparing the pieces that will be on display to the public.

At the moment, the workshop team is working on three unrestored Volkswagen Kombis that have been patiently waiting for their moment of glory in our storage sheds for a couple of years.

Among them is a 1960 and a 1965 Type 2, both of which were imported from the United States, as well as a Volkswagen Transporter double-cab pickup from 1964, which was procured in Dunedin. All three will be on show during the Volkswagen exhibit, which will also feature a rare Karmann Ghia, a number of Beetles, and a Formula Vee single-seater race vehicle.

Excited yet?

Bill Richardson Transport World's Volkswagen exhibit will be on display for a limited time only, from 10 April to 31 July. We can't wait for you to see it! 

In the meantime, check out 10 quirky Volkswagen facts we've found. Brush up, lock them away for your next quiz night, and get ready to show off your new-found knowledge during your next visit to Bill Richardson Transport World.




  1. Earlier versions of the VW Kombi featured a split windscreen, nicknamed the ‘splitty’, until the introduction of the second-generation of this model in late 1967.

  2. How many people do you reckon could pack into a Beetle? On 9 December 2010, in Kentucky, a successful record attempt was made – 20 people – to draw attention to the plight of human trafficking victims. The current record is an eye-watering 57 people: a specially-trained team of climbers managed to squeeze into the car and, after not an inch was left in the passenger compartment, many of them climbed onto the roof.

  3. Volkswagen translates to ‘people’s car’ in German – it was originally designed to fit a whole family, of two adults and up to three children. 

  4. The Volkswagen T2 was first launched all the way back in 1950. Production of this model eventually shifted to Brazil, before manufacturing ceased in 2013. Bill Richardson Transport World is home to one of the last Kombis to roll off the production line.

    Bill Richardson Transport World Retro Gallery Kombis 2

  5. The Volkswagen Golf was the brainchild of Italian design legend Giorgetto Giugiaro: the mastermind behind iconic vehicles such as the Lotus Esprit S1, Fiat Dino coupe, Maserati Merak and Ghibli, Iso Grifo and the DeLorean DMC-12. Volkswagen approached Giugiaro after the Turin motor show in 1969, when the company’s representatives realised that four of their six favourite designs were Italian. The VW Golf remains Giugiaro’s biggest-selling design.

  6. Until 1955, the Kombi also featured a large rear engine cover – this style of the Kombi is known as a Barndoor.

  7. The beloved Beetle wasn’t originally known by its insect-like name, or even by its colloquial nickname, the ‘Bug’. It was initially referred to as the Volkswagen Type 1. The Kombi was therefore originally known as the Type 2.

  8. In France, the Beetle is known as ‘coccinelle’ (ladybug), while in Central America – Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador – it is known as ‘cucaracha/cucharachita’ (cockroach/little cockroach). Meanwhile in Colombia it is referred to as ‘pulga’ (flea), and in Bolivia, ‘peta’ (turtle).

  9. Did you know? Most newer Volkswagen vehicles are named after either ocean currents or prevailing winds. Some examples include the Santana, Jetta, and Passat.

  10. Delivering a baby in a car – especially a model as small as a Beetle! – sounds like every new parent’s worst nightmare. The Volkswagen corporation actually used to award savings bonds to babies born in Beetles. Between 1964 and 1969, as many as 125 ‘Beetle babies’ had received bonds, though the reported amount varies wildly. We’re not sure if it makes up for the experience, but it’s the thought that counts!

    Bill Richardsons Transport World 71