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The Beetle 337. The first VW in the Netherlands.

Beetle
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Seventy years ago, Pon's Automobielhandel brought the first batch of six Volkswagens to the Netherlands. The first copy of that class of beetles (the beetle 337) still exists.

The first delivery to Pon's Automobielhandel, which on August 8 became 1947 the first importer of Volkswagens in the world, consisted of six 'family cars' that quickly became known as 'Beetle' due to their characteristic round shapes. These copies, with the chassis numbers 337, 338, 339, 340, 341 and 342, crossed the border at 16 October 1947 near Beek. That did not happen, as is often the case today at Volkswagen, by train. The cars were driven into the Netherlands by drivers.


Beetle '337'

The first copy from the historic class of 6 cars still exists. This beetle, with chassis number 337 is a symbol for the start of Volkswagen in our country. Not only the car has been well preserved. The accompanying original invoice and vehicle documents also belong to the car. Furthermore, an original photo, made on the day the car was handed over by the factory to Pon's Automobielhandel, is still part of the documentation set. Number 337 was delivered with the separate rear window. This spectacle beetle was equipped with an air-cooled 1.131 cc boxer engine, which supplied a capacity of 25 PK. The first Beetles stood for fl. 2875 in the price list and were available in the colors black, gray and dark blue.

3,3 million Volkswagens in the Netherlands

Many Dutch people grew up with the Krabbeldier. In the Netherlands, Volkswagen dealers were able to greet almost 500.000 signed purchase contracts for a beetle. On the basis of the Beetle, Ben Pon senior outlined the Volkswagen bus in his diary on 3 April 1947. this booklet is now in the Rijksmuseum. This T1 with beetle technology forms the basis of the success of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles worldwide. The first Volkswagen T1950s arrived in 1 in the Netherlands.

From air cooled to water cooled

In the 50s and 60s, Volkswagen introduced new models such as the Karmann Ghia Coupé / Cabriolet, the 1500 Variant, the 1600 TL Fastback and the 411. In the early 70s, Volkswagen gradually switched to completely redesigned, front-wheel drive cars with a water-cooled engine in the front, instead of air-cooled at the rear. The Passat was one of these newly developed Volkswagens in 1973. Three years earlier, the VW K70 performed the water-cooled kick-off. However, this car was designed by NSU. In 1974 Volkswagen introduced the famous successor to the Beetle: the Golf.

3,3 million new Volkswagens in the Netherlands since 1947

Since 16 October 1947, Dutch dealers have since sold more than 3,3 million new Volkswagen passenger cars (more than 2,6 million) and company cars (more than 700.000).

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  1. My Dad was from 1902 and I am now 68 (let's count :-). At the age of eleven we went on holiday to Italy with a spectacled beetle (TX-63-38) with a Chicken Dwarf Grouse caravan behind it! That was a real adventure at the time: no Brenner brucke but the Brenner pass. Sometimes Mother and the children had to get out and continue on foot to get back in at a higher point, because otherwise the beetle couldn't make it. The caravan was unique at the time and we had a lot of visitors abroad. After 450,000 km, the beetle was eventually traded in for an Opel Rekord Caravan. I sometimes have nostalgic dreams about those vacations and this renowned spectacle beetle.

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