There aren’t many cars in existence where you can drive the same model, spaced 74 years apart. In fact, short of the VW Beetle, only the Jeep Wrangler comes close (and that’s only 70 years old). Back when Volkswagen launched the original Beetle in 1938, it was meant to be a car for the masses (in fact, “Volkswagen” translates from German as “people’s car”), priced on par with a small motorcycle. Then, it was all about basic transportation, with no thought given to safety, performance or even comfort. Want A/C? Roll down the window. Want heat? Roll up the window. See Jay Leno’s take on the two cars in the video below.
The 2012 VW Beetle couldn’t be more different from it’s great-great grandfather if it tried. The engines are in opposite locations and are cooled by different mediums. The 2012 VW Beetle is comfortable, well appointed and no slouch in the handling department thanks to its GTI derived drivetrain and suspension. It’s a better-looking car than the one it replaces, too, and it’s far less “cartoonish” in appearance. VW is hoping these things translate into 2012 Beetle sales, and if Leno’s correct, they probably will. Aside from being a multi-millionaire comedian, television host and car collector, how can I get a job like Leno?