Today’s Post by Joe Farace
It’s National Wiener Schnitzel Day, which makes it a perfect day to talk about German cars and there is no car that’s more German than the VW Beetle.
And there is no more iconic vehicle on the planet than the original air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle. VW attempted to capture lighting in a bottle with the New Beetle (1997–2011) a car I that actually owned and like many latter day VWs, mine was beset with unending quality control issues. VW tried again with the Beetle (2012-2019) and it’s a much better car then the New Beetle. So much so I purchased a 2016 Beetle convertible for Mary to replace her money pit Mercedes-Benz SLK 350. You can read all about her Beetle here. Compared to my previous New Beetle and even my old GTI this has been a wonderfully dependable car and Mary loves driving it.
Like no other car in the world, the original air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle is beloved across all age and demographic spectrum. At a car show last year I talked with some really young Beetle enthusiasts asking them why they loved their cars so much. The same reasons came up again and again and it was that Beetles were cheap to buy, easy to repair and fun to drive.
In it’s day the Beetle was the anti-car especially next to the giant chrome bumpered cars of the 1950’s and amazingly enough it is also the anti-car of the new millennium as it stakes it claims among cars that look so much alike that Toyota has taken extreme (and ugly some might say) measures in designing the front fascias of it’s and their Lexus automobiles.
The final original Type 1 VW Beetle (serial # 21,529,464) rolled off the production line at Puebla, Mexico on 30 July 2003, 65 years after the original launch, a victim I think of Mexico requiring all taxis to have four doors. Yet the original VW Beetle takes us to our “safe spaces” where life is simple and you can paint the car with bright colors and “wear some flowers in your hair.” But…
The VW Beetle has existed in several iterations for more than 80 years but was discontinued when the company announced it was ending production of one of its most popular cars throughout the 20th century. The final Beetle ever made, a Denim Blue coupe, was built on July 9, 2019 in Puebla, Mexico and will go on display at VW’s museum there.
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