There are two different kinds of rear suspension fitted to the Beetle: the standard ‘swing axle’ assembly, that uses rigid axles, and the ‘IRS’ type – fitted only to certain models. Below is a brief breakdown of the different types of Volkswagen Beetle suspension:
The swing axle assembly consists of a pair of rigid axles that pivot from the gearbox. These were used from the very earliest cars right up until the end of Mexican production in 2003. If your axles only have rubber boots on the ends of the axles that join the gearbox (and not at the hub ends), then you have a swing axle model.
IRS is a more advanced type of Volkswagen Beetle suspension that features CV (constant velocity) joints both next to the gearbox and also at the hub end of the axles. These were only used on some later models, including 1302 / 1303 (Superbeetle) and Semi-Automatic cars. If your axles have rubber boots on both ends of axles (next to the gearbox and at the hubs), then you have an IRS model.
Of course VW Heritage stock an extensive range of parts for both types of VW Beetle rear suspension, including axle and CV boots, hub seal kits and bump stops. Plus a great selection of performance and styling parts, including adjustable springplates and uprated shocks. 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 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.