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Authenticity Series - Part 2 - 1945-1949

14 November 2021
Part 2 of our series on detail changes throughout the production of the VW Beetle, this time concentrates on the period when the VW factory was under British control. These cars are often referred to as 'CCG' Beetles, with reference to the The British military government known as the 'Control Commission of Germany' although later cars were also offered to civilians in important jobs such as Doctors.

When Major Ivan Hirst thought the VW would make a great cheap method of transport for the allied forces in Germany, the car he painted British Army green was a pre-war Beetle and the car that the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (REME) eventually put into production was very close to the original Kdf-Wagen. Production was very difficult during this period, food was scarce, raw materials were scarce and Germany was in turmoil. The factory also employed some workers who previously were German POWs, Hirst recalled that this workforce was unpredictable as various people were arrested and questioned, sometimes returning and sometimes not - occasionally even murdered as a war time reprisal. 

Production details throughout this period are often inconsistent, with the factory using whatever parts or materials they can lay their hands on until they run out when new parts needed to be sourced. In very early production, steel was not available in large enough sheets to press in one piece, so two sheets were welded together to press the roof panel, with the joint clearly visible. These were not intended to be pretty or comfortable vehicles, these were utilitarian cars for soldiers.

Another area of difficulty in authenticity is the fact that the British set up a 'recycling' programme, where serviceable parts from unrepairable crashed vehicles were re-used and repairable crashed vehicles were fixed with new parts. It was important during this time that nothing was wasted. 

Some identifying parts of the 1945-1949 Beetle are:

  • Split rear window
  • Thin smooth bumpers with 'banana' overriders
  • Raised 'pressed' area around number plate continued
  • Small tail lights with thick ring, ring was often body colour.
  • Either a 'truck' style Hella light or...
  • A new 'popes nose' licence plate light with rivets around the lens.
  • 3 spoke steering wheel with thin spokes
  • Cogs removed from logo on speedo and blanking panel
  • Blanking panel no longer removeable but pressed as part of the dash
  • Squarer petrol tank known as a 'small tank' because it was enlarged in later years
  • Flat panel behind the spare wheel.
  • Metal glove boxes
  • Fusebox horizontally mounted next to tank
  • Headlights within the headlights on some early cars
  • 'Nipple' hubcaps as originally used on the Kubelwagen up to 1948
  • 'Big logo' domed hubcaps from 1948

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