Production numbers for War-era Beetles (at this time called the KdF-Wagen, after the German phrase "Kraft durch Freude," meaning "Strength through Joy") were low, and few cars would survive the Allied bombings. But the British Army took control of the KdF factory in 1945, and, rather than destroy it, put it to use producing war vehicles (and Beetles). The 9,931 bare-bones 25-hp Beetles produced in 1946 lacked turn signals, gas gauges, synchromesh transmissions, or any chrome trim. And yet, build quality was good, and the simple design was easy to work on and ably traversed war-ravaged roads. Soon embraced by the American market, chrome trim was added in 1947, a convertible top became available in 1949, and an optional "Rag Top" sunroof was added for 1950. That year also saw the primitive cable brakes replaced with hydraulics. Gears were syncromeshed in 1952. A Wolfsburg hood crest marks cars built between 1951 and 1963.
These earliest Beetles, dubbed "Split Windows," are quickly identified by their split oval rear windshield.