VW Beetle driving. A profession in itself

Vw Beetle ride
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Due to a mail exchange with AMK reader Ton van Dorsselaer, VW enthusiast Ton sent two serious books with a hard cover about driving the VW Beetle. 'Besser fahren met dem Volkswagen' by Arthur Westrup and 'the Volkswagen inside, outside and on the road', edited by the legendary Ir. M. Hugenholtz. The German book dates from 1949. The Dutch version - it really is more than a translation - will be a little later. We estimate that the Dutch book comes from 1953-1954.

But the books are a fantastic picture of the times when driving was quite new and adventurous

And drive in? You did this extremely carefully and in compliance with all regulations. The first three oil changes therefore had to be done with special running-in oil. With a run-in engine, an oil consumption of up to 1 liters per 1.000 km was no problem. And that air cooling was better than water cooling? Did that really have to be explained?

When viewing the table of contents it became clear once again that times have changed

Because from page 146 a whole chapter about the VW Beetle goes in 'the Volkswagen, inside, out and on the road with' the woman behind the wheel '. The approach is: “Must be able to. Female drivers even have benefits. As mentioned under example number two: "Women drive much more cautiously because they know in advance that a possible accident would destroy their nerves" Clearly right? Number four is also such a strong point: women have less technical understanding, but that is precisely an advantage for women who drive a car, because precisely because of their technical ignorance, they switch, link and steer much lighter and smoother. Not because the woman lacks strength, but rather because she thinks she would otherwise have to demand too much from the car.

Finally, there is the remark that women get nervous more quickly, which is why they drive much less cautiously than men on unclear terrain.

Not in the books, but quite common at the time: "woman behind the wheel, blood on the wall".

Fortunately, a VW Beetle is such a dust and windproof car that a lady can easily sit behind the wheel in the most chic evening wear. This chapter in the Dutch book proves that the book is much more than a translation of the German book that is not dealt with in this important element.

On the other side of the story

The books go so far into the technical field that many experienced technical interested people will say "Well ... that's spicy information". In this way a lot becomes clear with the explanation: "If, for example, the valves have not been checked and adjusted for weeks, one should not be surprised that on a long journey the engine keeps getting worse and worse because the valve clearance is too low." And that everything is part of promoting VW? Great anyway! "On the Autobahn you will find that the VW is among the fastest road users." There is also some Porsche information in the books. Porsches apparently were even faster. But also washing the car is treated seriously. Just like the possible causes of weird noises, bad luck on the road plus almost everything about repairs and overhaul.

Again, it is noted that a VW Beetle driver will of course have little or nothing to do with it. Having a set of spare spark plugs on board is a must again. It is also proud to mention that replacing the engine from the ignition off until the satisfied start of driving again takes only two hours. And that is about the same time that many modern cars need to replace a headlight. It is said that under the electricity chapter it is said that every car is a moving power plant. We are still talking about 6V installations.


In the Dutch book there is also something about panacea. We still know them from the TelSell times in which people with a dubbed American accent shouted all sorts of exuberance. At the time of these books there were apparently even providers of things that promised 30-50% less consumption. There was a serious warning against taking this kind of information for sweet cake.


The books that Ton van Dorsselaer sent in worked like time machines. They are desirable and must still be found somewhere. As a reader you float away in admiration and surprise. We now live in a time when a car with dry eyes is offered as the perfect platform for your smartphone. And how happy are you to be? No, it is not. Simply change the oil every 5.000 kilometer, check the ignition, adjust the valves, check the alternator and front wheel bearings, as well as the track rod ends, check the spark plugs and clean the air filter. Top!


VW Beetle


Give a reaction
  1. Reminds me of the series “Now I do it myself” by Dieter Korb, also translations from German. Those books actually say that someone who does not regularly disassemble the gearbox and renew the head gasket is a sissy that it is not worth owning a car.

    I drive a Mercedes W124 (a 250D from 1986) every day and fortunately there is still such a book. Awesome.

  2. And certainly, the engine looks like this.
    Worked in the beginning Years 70 at a small neighborhood garage with 1 put / bridge combination and 1 workplace on the floor (with lying cart, therefore the UWV does not understand that people can be worn out). To replace the clutch: Loosen the engine and then on the jack or moving trolley, lift the 2 car over it, replace the clutch, lift the car over it again and lock the engine, then let it have been 3 hours. Also to do within 2 hours: Toyota Corolla link with rear-wheel drive.

  3. Nothing to the detriment of Women, but much has changed.
    If I now see some Women (so not all of them again, a lot) a gear lever and therefore abuse the box, it seems as if it has to be removed.
    A friend of mine once drove a very nice MG-B, I was allowed to secretly drive in because I had a sense of mechanics (was a car mechanic and knows what is going on in such a n-bin), it had to be secret because his wife was allowed to do not drive it. For the reason as previously described.

  4. Fantastic.
    This lady drives a car, travels with ships, repairs adult sea-going vessels that roar over the water at 40 km / h and my nerves would be sensitive?
    Hahahahahahahahaha… ..

    Clearly translated by a fearful pastor who was afraid of his wife… 🙂

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