When I first realized that there were so many Bug fansites on the internet, I began to wonder why this is so. I think there are so many fansites for the same reasons there are so many VW enthusiasts. People just love their VWs, and they love to share the pleasure of that experience with others.

For those of us who spend time (way too much time, really) looking at those sites, it's not only a way to share the love but it's also a good way to learn about Beetle history, get technical advice, buy all of those much-needed parts and accessories and, ultimately, see the fruits of hard work with all kinds of sexy pictures of restored, modified, cherry, beat-up, hot-rodded, pimped-out, dilapidated or even as-yet-unowned Beetles.

Herbie the Love Bug - a '63, of course!

That's hard for some folks to understand. A pity, really, because those people probably have nothing else in their lives that inspires passion, hard work, joy, nostalgia and just plain old fun. But a Bug fan is living the dream every day, not only in the garage but on the streets. Even my unrestored (and somewhat ugly) Bug gets waves and smiles as I tool around town. Kids think it's cool and adults remember other places and people and the good times they spent with those people going to those places in a Bug.

No, really, the reason I own a 1963 Bug is because that's what was available when I went to buy mine. I had a car budget, but I couldn't find the car. So, I made up some flyers and I hung them up on college campuses, supermarket bulletin boards and anywhere else I thought I might attract the eye of someone who had one for sale or someone who knew somebody with a Bug for sale. It worked, and now I have my project car.

Another thing that has impressed me about the Beetle is its relative lack of change over a 40-plus year history. In some early company documents, there was even a policy about that which said "change nothing except to improve". And improve is what the Beetle did, with many changes over the years but with few that had a significant effect on the overall appearance of the vehicle.

For many people, an old Bug represents something that, like the car itself, was once new in their lives - the new experience of driving their first car, getting their first license, a first time going away from home for a trip or to college or to begin a new life in a new place. Not many things in life have that kind of nostalgic effect on people.

One thing I have noticed is that every Bug owner thinks his or her specific year model is unique and more special than all others. That's a load of nonsense, as we all know deep in our hearts that the 1963 model was the best. That's why I own one.

For those of you who can't spot these differences, click here to download a rundown of year-by-year model features. It's not meant to be totally comprehensive, and I've only included those features that you're able to see on the street or at a car show on post-war production cars. If you see that I've missed something or gotten it wrong, by all means please feel free to drop me a line and set me straight.

In case you haven't noticed, this site is very Bug oriented. Not that I have anything against Kombis or Ghias, but it's that quirky, funny-looking, fun to drive and simple to own little wonder that I'm most fond of. So, if you're looking for info on other types of VWs you might find a link or two here that you'll like, but other than that I will have to apologize in advance for disappointing you.

But for the rest of you, welcome to my spot on the web and I hope you have a good visit.

Still, an experienced eye can spot the differences between a 1963 Beetle and a later or earlier model with little difficulty. In case you're interested, the '63 was the last year with a soft sunroof, "Pope's Nose" license plate light and horn ring on the steering wheel. It was the first year to have a metal sunroof crank, first year not to have a Wolfsburg crest above the front hood handle and the first year not to have factory-supplied painted "VW" logos on the hubcaps (although many dealers continued to paint them).

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The Volkswagen Beetle