There are THREE different kinds of front suspension fitted to the Beetle: two earlier types that use a torsion bar beam, and the third – fitted only to 1302/1303 models - that uses a ‘strut’ assembly instead. Below is a brief breakdown of the different types of Volkswagen Beetle suspension:
This beam consists of a pair of axle tubes, each housing torsion bars to which the trailing arms are attached. The trailing arms then support the stub axles by means of ‘king and link pin’ assemblies. If your shock absorber ‘towers’ (the vertical legs at the ends of the axle tubes) are straight, then you have a king and link pin model.
This beam also consists of a pair of axle tubes, housing torsion bars to which the trailing arms are attached. But on these models the trailing arm support a stub axle by means of a pair of ‘balljoints’. If your shock absorber ‘towers’ (the vertical legs at the ends of the axle tubes) are angled outwards at top, then you have a balljoint model.
There is no main beam.
Instead each stub axle is connected directly to an independent ‘strut’ (a sort of glorified coil-over shock) and balanced by control arms that mount to the chassis. If your spare wheel is mounted flat (horizontally) under your bonnet then you have a MacPherson strut model.
Of course VW Heritage stock an extensive range of parts for all three types of VW Beetle front suspension, including beams, shock absorbers, trailing arms and stub axles… plus of course the balljoints, king and link pins, and MacPherson struts! Not to mention a great selection of performance and styling parts, including lowered shocks, adjustable struts and long travel balljoints. And remember, if you have a query about your VW Beetle suspension – or if you can’t find the part you require – just click on the ‘live chat’ button or call our sales team on 01273 444 000 at any time during UK business hours.
The basic 4x4 system was only available to use in 1st gear (and on some models reverse). There was a third military variant of the Beetle, which was called the Kommandeurwagen, or Type 87. This was the rarest of the military models, reserved for German Military VIPs with only 669 rumoured to have been produced. The Kommandeurwagen was a hybrid of a 4x4 Kubelwagen and Beetle, using the Kubelwagen chassis, with a conventional Beetle body on the top.
It is suggested that a lot of the Beetles design features were influenced by that of the Czech manufacturer Tatra, and their chief engineer Hans Ledwinka. It is cited in the book “Car Wars” that Ferdinand Porsche admits to having “…looked over Ledwinka’s shoulder” whilst penning out the initial ideas for the Beetle.