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Traditionally, at Autoworld, the months of February and March are dedicated to the Volkswagen Beetle, the lovers’ symbol with the Love Bugs Parade held on the Sunday of Saint Valentine.
Going forward the VW Beetle, in all shapes, will receive special attention in the form of a temporary exhibition.

This eminently charming small car nearly always brings to mind, for its owners, loads of anecdotes. The Beetle is part and parcel of the family; and this even over several generations. We wager that the film “Love Bug” is no stranger to it.

This year, to evoke the links that unite the owners with their cars, Autoworld proposed to some of them to loan the museum their VW Beetle models and recount their stories. Set up in an endearing décor, the cars are complemented by videos relating the interviews of their owners. These scenes definitely offer an insight into the passion that the Bug has aroused over the years.

Hereunder a few extracts …

The VW Type 1, standard Belgian version belonging to Thomas is one of the very first VW models imported into Belgium in 1951, by D’Ieteren. The car was initially delivered to the garage Jos Paisse in Visé where it remained dormant during … 40 years, up until 2019! The car’s navy-blue colour is extremely rare. Passionate about VW Beetle cars, Thomas acquired it 3 years ago but also owns two other equally old models. Even though the Type 1 is not running (yet), it enjoys the company of its 1955 sibling.

The “oval” Beetle owned by Tijs is a “100% made by D’Ieteren” Beetle in 1955 at its Forest factory. In his youth, during moments of loneliness, the young Tijs loved to take refuge in the black oval Beetle of his grandfather, whom he had never known, and in which he felt somewhat at home.  Unfortunately the car had to be sold but, in 2011, Tijs acquired near on the same model: same colour, same odours, same sensations, same great perkiness. Since then, the oval Beetle has achieved unanimity in the family and the joy of the children.

The “Herbie” belonging to Ivo, with its number “53” is the exact replica of the Disney studios model. Obviously “Herbie” never left the VW factory in that version. It was a pure creation for the requirements of the film. Ivo watched all the films linked to this Love Bug and based on a 1964 Beetle reproduced it identically, going so far as to acquiring several small motors and a remote control to activate the eyes, the eyelashes and car’s smiling bumper. Numerous Beetle models have passed through his hands. Ivo is presently working on restoring a splendid Hebmüller Beetle dating from the ‘50s.

Less of a handyman, Didier treated himself to a “ready to drive” Beetle, pico-bello, a true gem both on the inside and exterior. Registered for the first time in April 1964 but built over two years (1963/1964), his Beetle is fitted with several components from the previous year, namely the rear boot lid as also its colour – rather rare – charcoal grey L469.

The Mach 1 Okrasa belonging to Frederic dates from 1965.  It is a special limited edition fitted with a 1300cc Okrasa engine. Like many other VW Beetle models of that era, it was also assembled in the Forest factory. 
Much like Ivo’s Herbie, Frederic’s Mach 1 has received accolades from the press and has been featured on the cover of several car magazines.

And finally, it is the D’Ieteren Gallery that will be loaning its “African track Beetle” with Jacques recounting its history. In 1950, this small Beetle with 4 friends on board, of which Pierre D’Ieteren and Jacques Swaters, tackled the “Volkswagen Raid” Brussels – Congo and back: 24,036 kms in four months. The car exhibited is a close replica with its sand colour to better blend into the Sahara landscape, its two aluminium sand extraction ladders installed on either side of the car, its spade, its two jerricans (petrol and drinking water) tied to the running boards on each side of the bodywork,…

During two months at Autoworld, you will have the opportunity to discover these highly passionate stories or charming anecdotes!

  • Copyright pictures: Yves Noël