The air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle suspension is legendary for its longevity and ability to stand up to whatever you can throw at it. That’s why VW Beetle suspension parts are still to this day used on off road race cars across the world. However, as with every other mechanical part on a Volkswagen Beetle, time, high mileage and a lack of maintenance can mean parts need changing or replacing. That’s why VW Heritage stock a wide range of parts for all types of classic air-cooled Beetle suspension, from Beetle axle boots to Volkswagen Beetle shock absorbers, ‘z’-bars and VW Beetle performance anti-roll bars. To browse or buy the parts you need just follow the links below, or read on for further information on the different types of VW Beetle suspension.
In all models of Beetle there are just two different kinds of rear suspension: ‘VW Beetle swing axle suspension’ and ‘IRS’ (independent rear suspension). In reality, both systems are independent suspension, but the IRS system found on certain later models uses Beetle CV joints and works in a slightly different fashion. Below is a brief explanation of the two different types of Volkswagen Beetle suspension.
The VW Beetle swing axle assembly consists of a pair of short, rigid axles that pivot from their inner (gearbox) ends only and are located at the outer ends by solid Beetle rear spring plates, which have a splined end that connects to the torsion bars. This type of Volkswagen Beetle suspension was used from the very earliest cars right up until the end of Mexican Beetle production in 2003. The quickest way to see if your car has this style of classic Beetle rear suspension is to look under the rear of your car. If there are rubber boots only on the inner ends of the axles that join the gearbox, you have a swing axle model.
IRS is a more advanced type of rear suspension that features VW Beetle CV joints at both ends of the axles, which allow the rear wheels to move vertically up and down rather than in an arc. They still use Beetle spring plates and torsion bars but offer improved ride quality and cornering ability. Only used on some later models, including 1302 / 1303 (Super beetle) and semi-automatic Beetles. Again, look underneath and if your axles have rubber boots on both ends (next to the gearbox and at the hubs), you have an IRS model.
Naturally, VW Heritage stock an extensive range of parts for both types of VW Beetle rear suspension, including Beetle axle gaiters and Volkswagen Beetle CV boots, Beetle hub seal kits and bump stops. Plus we have a great selection of performance and styling parts, amongst them VW Beetle adjustable spring plates, rubber and urethane suspension bushes, heavy duty Beetle axles, classic Beetle KYB shock absorbers, and GAZ bolt-in VW Beetle coilovers for the ultimate in fine tuning. If you have a query about VW Beetle rear suspension parts – 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 rear mounted air-cooled engine could also be said to have been borrowed from Tatra as well. Air cooled technology was demanding in the 1930’s, and only subsidies from the Nazi Government meant the development of such a method could be continued by Porsche. In another quote from “Car Wars” Adolf Hitler is quoted as saying “the [Tatra] kind of car I want for my highways”.
The similarity between the two designs clearly hadn’t gone unnoticed by the likes of Tatra, who launched a lawsuit, which was then swiftly dropped following the Third Reich’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, later to be persued by Tatra following the end of the war. The ensuing 1961 lawsuit ruled in favour of Tatra, and resulted in Volkswagen being ordered to pay a sum of 3,000,000 Deutsch Marks to Tatra.