2018 Beetle Sunshine Tour Moves to Wolfsburg to Celebrate Water-Cooled Beetle’s 20th Birthday

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It’s official: the New Beetle has now reached classic car status. Twenty years ago the car that was “reverse-engineered from UFOs” went on sale at dealerships around the world. To honor this ground-breaking car, the Beetle Sunshine Tour will feature the car this weekend at a very special location: the Wolfsburg Factory in Wolfsburg, Germany.

What is the Beetle Sunshine Tour? Fourteen years ago a Beetle enthusiast organized an event specifically for the Beetle, and it’s grown every year since. Gaby Kraft set the original Sunshine Tour in Lubeck Germany, more specifically Travemunde, a resort town on the Baltic Sea, a perfect venue for convertible Kafers, or Bugs as they are called in North America.

“It was quite easy. I bought myself a Beetle back then. I asked myself: I can’t be the only one who’s enthusiastic about this car. There must be others. So let’s try to organize a meeting up here in the north” said Gaby. That year 60 Beetles participated.

Fast forward to 2017 and over 700 Love Bugs registered for the event with 4,000+ participants. And much like other Euro shows like Wortherseetreffen, Volkswagen participates in the Tour. In past years they’ve revealed new limited edition models and paint colors for the Beetle (check out the 9-minute mark on this video of the 2016 Tour).

This year is no different. For the first time since its inception, the Tour actually will tour: to Autostadt in Wolfsburg. Here the passionate owners will display their Bugs around the factory that started it all. There’s probably a number of events planned, but the site for the Tour is in German, so your guess is as good as ours. The featured car for this year’s show will be the New Beetle, the car that may have saved Volkswagen in North America when it debuted in 1998. We’ve covered the New Beetle and the new Beetle (lowercase “n”) before; it’s easy to ignore the importance of this iconic little car. But the folks that organize the Beetle Sunshine Tour have kept the passion alive.

The event on September 8 culminates in a drive through the Wolfsburg assembly plant. Because of this, the planners had to limit the number of cars to 200; they achieved that number in only a few hours when the sign-up site went live. But there will be plenty of other cars to see at a lot near the Autostadt.

One can’t help but wonder if a figurative cloud will float over this year’s Beetle Sunshine Tour. All signs point to 2019 being the last year for the car. But there’s also rumors of hybrid Beetles and an MEB electric Beetle that could return the car to rear wheel drive with a rear motor (or motors – one for each wheel). Could Volkswagen use this opportunity to share some glimmers of hope for a future Bug? We can only hope.

So if you find yourself in Germany this weekend, head over to Wolfsburg to check out the 2018 Beetle Sunshine Tour. Hundreds of happy little Bugs will be there to greet you.

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