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Volkswagen 1955 EA48 (L) and 1955/56 EA47-12
Volkswagen 1955 EA48 (L) and 1955/56 EA47-12

These are Volkswagen Beetle successors that never made it to production

  • More than 21.5 million units of the iconic Volkswagen Beetle were sold before the final, modern-generation Beetle rolled off the assembly line in 2019.

  • Beetle was built in 14 countries around the globe.

The iconic Volkswagen Beetle dates back to 1930s and has been a symbol of mobility in the 1960s. It became a boom car for affordable transportation in Europe and other places, and by 1952 it was sold in 46 countries. Eventually, it was built in 14 countries around the globe.

More than 21.5 million units of the iconic vehicle were sold before the final, modern-generation Beetle rolled off the assembly line in 2019. However, during this long life that the Beetle lived, Volkswagen tried to replaced it with more than 70 potential designs or off-shoots of the Beetle. However, none of these could ever reach the production line.

The German carmaker found that the original Beetle offered a mix of values that was not easy to be replaced. At least, until the Golf hatchback was launched in 1974 and became the true successor for the Beetle.

Below are some of the vehicles that could have been successors to the Volkswagen Beetle but never saw the light of the day:

1955/56 EA47-12

1955/56 EA47-12 prototype by Volkswagen
1955/56 EA47-12 prototype by Volkswagen

Of the 15 prototypes produced by Volkswagen between 1953 and 1956, the EA-47-12 was the carmaker's first hope of replacing the Beetle. It sourced power from a 1192cc four-cylinder boxer air-cooled engine and produced 30 horsepower. It also featured a transverse link front axle, torsion bar rear suspension, and fully synchronized gearbox.

1960 EA97

EA97 prototype by Volkswagen
EA97 prototype by Volkswagen

The EA97 is a rear-engine two-door vehicle that featured a pontoon-shaped body and sourced power from a 1.1-liter engine. This project was reportedly abandoned while workers were preparing its assembly line and after 200 pilot cars had already been assembled by hand.

1961 Type 3 Cabriolet

1961 Type 3 Cabriolet prototype by Volkswagen
1961 Type 3 Cabriolet prototype by Volkswagen

This was like an upmarket replacement of the Beetle and was built for people who wanted a convertible. Its convertible top featured a glass rear window. However, it was no longer pursued to avoid internal competition with the Karmann Ghia convertible.

1969 EA276

1969 EA276 prototype by Volkswagen
1969 EA276 prototype by Volkswagen

This vehicle was the inspiration for the original Volkswagen Golf. It featured a front-wheel-drive and looked boxier than other Beetle replacements. It was fitted with air-cooled flat-four-cylinder engine as the Beetle initially but was later fitted with four-cylinder, water-cooled inline engine.

Other replacement prototypes built by Volkswagen included 1963 EA128, 1966 EA142, 1969 EA266.



  • First Published Date : 19 Jul 2021, 07:37 PM IST

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