Volkswagen Beetle ("Herbie"), 1963

Discover the cars of The Automobile and American Art

Media - AHS.308 - SAAM-AHS.308_1-000001 - 138444

Volkswagen Beetle ("Herbie"), 1963 (model car, 1:18 scale)1963, metal, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Albert H. Small, 2017, AHS.308

About this Car

First introduced in the United States in 1949, the Volkswagen Beetle was slow to take off with American consumers. But by the early 1960s, the curvy car was a cult phenomenon, thanks to a popular advertising campaign and a series of Disney films.

Artwork Connection

Photographer Margaret Strickland explores concepts of gender identity and performance. Her photographs portray young women struggling with family expectations and peer pressure, as well as society’s often overwhelming emphasis on beauty and success. Though they appear to capture candid, everyday moments, Strickland’s photographs are carefully orchestrated. Washing the Beetle features the New Beetle, a modern take on the classic car, introduced in 1997.