Check out these VW Beetle successors that never came to be


The Volkswagen Beetle has become an icon in both the automotive industry and in pop culture. It has been one of VW’s best-selling units and has symbolized the true “people’s car.”

Because of its commercial success, the German automaker has considered more than 70 replacement models which could help strengthen the Beetle’s foothold on the evolving automotive landscape.

That said, let’s look at some of the candidates to replace the original Bettle, but were never produced.



A prototype developed by the carmaker around 1953 to 1956, the EA-47-12 was VW’s first attempt in creating a modern successor to the Beetle.

As it was with most prototype units, the EA-47-12 had technologies that put it ahead of its time. These include a transverse link front axle, torsion bar rear suspension, and fully synchronized gearbox. It also used a 1,192cc four-cylinder boxer air-cooled engine with an output of 30 horsepower.



The 1955 EA48 was not so much of a successor, but rather a car that would be positioned below the Beetle in terms of size, performance, and price. While it would represent a trim below the German bug, the EA48 never saw production.

Too bad it wasn't realized. It featured unibody construction, a front-mounted 0.7-liter air-cooled, flat-twin 18 bhp engine, and a MacPherson-type front suspension.

The EA48 offered a top speed of 60mph and was faster than the aforementioned EA47-12 that only made 50mph.



Folks from the AutoMuseum Volkswagen would admit that the EA97 almost made it, only “it was positioned too close to the Beetle and the Type 3.” Workers were said to have been prepping the assembly line with 200 cars already assembled by hand although it was abruptly abandoned according to reports.

The EA97 featured a more pontoon-shaped body and a 1.1-liter engine.

Type 3 Cabriolet


The Type 3 Cabriolet was built for customers who wanted an elegant convertible alternative to the Beetle. Unfortunately, VW feared that the Type 3 Cabriolet would create internal competition with another cabriolet in the automaker’s lineup, the Karmann Ghia convertible.


Envisioned as a large luxury model, the EA128 would have given the Beetle a four-door six-passenger option.


VW experimented on various body styles which was the inspiration for the EA142. It featured an elegant hatchback exterior and shared the same 1.7-liter engine as the Type 4. Sadly, this rear-engine hatch was never produced.



The EA276 was another hatchback developed to become a Beetle replacement. The front-wheel-drive model was outfitted with the same air-cooled flat-four-cylinder engine as the Beetle.

And although it was never produced, it became the inspiration for the original Golf.


The EA266 was developed in partnership with Porsche. It was a mid-engine hatch and featured a water-cooled four-cylinder 1.6-liter engine mounted under the rear seat in a longitudinal configuration with the transaxle directly behind it.

Despite its sporty look and its Porsche DNA, it never made it to the road and was driven to the museum instead.

Photos from Volkswagen

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