VW Goes To Italy For A New Design For The Beetle: Myth And Reality

(first published in 2011)   This Volkswagen tv ad from 1958 is a bit of a cult classic, depicting VW execs driving to Italy for a consultation with “one of Italy’s most famous car designers”. The only recommendation received was to enlarge the rear window. Right. And why did they forget to mention that the front window was enlarged the same year? Those were pretty obvious changes to keep up with the times, sort of anyway.

In reality, VW did commission Pininfarina in 1952 to come up with a new design for the Volkswagen, as one of its first efforts to start thinking about eventual replacements or line extensions to the Beetle. The result is the EA41, and, no, it was not adopted.

The EA41 is significant, as being the first in dozens of design concepts VW created both in-house and with outside designers (often Porsche) for a replacement to the Beetle. In the end, it just never happened, until the Golf finally was rushed in for the job (and designed in Italy).  The Beetles inertia was just too great, at least for almost another quarter century.