The Okie Bug is a 1968 Automatic Stickshift Volkswagen Beetle. What’s an Autostick, you ask? It’s pretty cool and definitely ahead of it’s time.
Beginning in 1968, Volkswagen made two transmission options for the Beetle: standard and autostick. An autostick transmission is basically an automatic transmission…but with a twist. Here’s the specifics on how it works:
The Okie Bug’s three speed manual transmission is connected to a vacuum-operated automatic clutch. Essentially, the gear shifter is touch-sensative. When we press down on the top of the gear shifter, an electric switch is engaged that, in turn, operates a vacuum clutch. When this happens, the clutch is disengaging and allows us to shift gears WITHOUT using a clutch pedal. When we lift our hand off of the gear shifter, the clutch automatically re-engages and the car continues to drive.
The transmission is also equipped with a torque converter, which allows The Okie Bug to idle in gear, like an automatic. That means we can stop in any gear and start from a standing stop in any gear.
Pretty cool, huh?