Beetle days come to end
June 6, 2003 8:06 PM   Subscribe

VW Beetle days coming to end. I had a '68 as my college car in the 70's. Girls loved it. Got me where I wanted to go (most of the time). The cute car of the 50's and 60's. Have one? Had one?
posted by hockeyman (25 comments total)
My first car. It was orange. Took me from North Carolina to Florida and back several times...I drove it till it died.

Now I have an '87 VW Golf-I love it but it's not the same...
posted by konolia at 8:24 PM on June 6, 2003

hmm. want one, and badly at that!
posted by mcsweetie at 8:27 PM on June 6, 2003

My step father collects the old ones (50s and 60s). He's got a half-dozen or so in various states around his property, much to my mom's dismay sometimes (though she does drive a "new" beetle). His attic is filled with parts. Sometimes I think the parts themselves are worth more than the car as a whole. They're cool little cars. I particularly like the old convertibles myself.
posted by MediaMan at 8:53 PM on June 6, 2003

Still got one. It's a piece of crap, but I love it. I keep swearing that one day, when I'm not a poor student, I'll fix it up. Heaven only knows if I really will though.
posted by stoneegg21 at 9:00 PM on June 6, 2003

I had a 63 bug, that was used by my sisters intitially. I never got to drive it on the road, but did drive it when no one was looking.
A friend of mine had a few. One of which took him to Alaska and back when he was in college in Ohio.
Fond memories.
posted by a3matrix at 9:21 PM on June 6, 2003

Had three ... pretty much a piece of junk. Newer cars have the old Beetle beat hands down. Nice car if you didn't like heat or safety. Just a deadhead vehicle for guys who liked to rebuild engines in their dorm room. Good riddance.
posted by {savg*pncl} at 9:29 PM on June 6, 2003

Fond memories if you were taking drugs.
posted by {savg*pncl} at 9:30 PM on June 6, 2003

Had a `71 green Carman Ghia. Not exactly a Beetle, but still loved it. I remember the first time, never having had a VW before, when I pulled into a gas station and asked the attendant to check the oil and the radiator fuid.

I lived in Montana, and the cold winters were a bitch. That puppy would never warm up!
posted by charms55 at 9:52 PM on June 6, 2003

my husband and i both drove bugs when we lived in hawaii. mine was a 72, baby blue, his is a 70 convertible, red with a white top, which we still have.

Had three ... pretty much a piece of junk. Newer cars have the old Beetle beat hands down. Nice car if you didn't like heat or safety. Just a deadhead vehicle for guys who liked to rebuild engines in their dorm room. Good riddance.

i can see where you're coming from, in terms of modern convenience, but what i've always loved about vintage cars -- especially bugs -- is that they really are the people's car, in that you can actually fix them yourself without being a professional mechanic. sure, we've had some total blow-outs with our bugs (most notably when the engine block on the convertible cracked after 400.000 miles), but we've also fixed them with a paper clip on the side of the road, and maintained them ourselves for years.

granted, they're not the safest cars when everybody else on the road is driving their canyoneros to and from the mall. but they're more than just a drugged-out hippie car -- they represent a low-fi, DYI mentality that i'm sad to see disappearing from our culture.

and there's no better sound in the world than the chirp of a finely-tuned bug!
posted by damn yankee at 11:20 PM on June 6, 2003

I drive a 69 Karmann Ghia here in London (my only car) which I imported from Pasadena. Totally agree with damn yankee about the beauty of being able to maintain them yourself without vast arrays of microprocessor-filled garage equipment. You do need this book however. Which is filled with witty cartoons and ruminations on all things Beetle as well as a slightly bizarre preface by the actor Peter Coyote.
posted by Dan Brilliant at 12:47 AM on June 7, 2003

Besides which, you've got to respect a thirties design (thank you, Dr. Porsche) still being useful and relevant in the '00s. Sort of the Zippo lighter of cars. And how many other industrial/mechanical designs can you say that about? Even if almost no parts are interchangable between a '46 split-window Bug and an '03 (Brazillian? Mexican?) Bug, the basic design--air cooled flat four in the back, four speed gearbox, and the body style--is clearly the same.[*]

(btw, never owned one, no driver's licence, have however driven them and always wanted one.)

[*] Mind you, every transverse-four-banger, front wheel drive econobox on the market today undoubtedly owes something to Sir Alec Issigonis' pioneering 1959 Austin Mini.
posted by arto at 4:20 AM on June 7, 2003

Yup, I owned a '68 Beetle for almost 15 years . I tricked it out California style: Nerf bars, dechromed, rumble pipes, the whole nine yards. I rebuilt the engine at least 3 times.

Finally, I sold it to a friend. He totaled it two weeks later.
posted by MrBaliHai at 4:42 AM on June 7, 2003

US import restrictions wouldn't allow me to import a new old beetle. I was most disappointed. So I bought a new beetle. I am happy now.

I still want a Type 181. Tinker-toy cars are fun.
posted by Cerebus at 5:37 AM on June 7, 2003

My parents had TWO beetles when I was a child in the 1960s. Don't believe everything that you read, because they were not hippies, and in fact, were proably two the most un-hip people alive. By the end of the decade, they traded up to Pontiacs. Oh well....
posted by Durwood at 6:49 AM on June 7, 2003

the Beetle because demand for the car, which costs around $7,000...the VW move, although at almost €16,000 for a basic model, the new Beetle... new Beetle would have cost DM4,150, less than £400 at the then exchange rate

What is up with using all those currencies?
posted by delmoi at 7:10 AM on June 7, 2003

{savg*pncl} : you need to take drugs today to pay the full price of the new beetle and say "wow what a deal , I feel safer and warmer already ! "

About security...nothing beats a good driver. ABS is really helpful, seat bealts are, air bag maybe , but they will not save you from a moron with < anycar>> who thinks he/she is Andretti Junior just because he can push a pedal.

Back to the rules, I want more cars that can be fixed so (relatively) easily.
posted by elpapacito at 7:16 AM on June 7, 2003

US import restrictions wouldn't allow me to import a new old beetle

Oh, that sucks. I like the old Beetle design much better than the new one.
posted by kayjay at 8:13 AM on June 7, 2003

My first car. .a new '68 blue one. . . cost an even $2000.

All the things associated with a first car. . .first make-out session (in Marcia's parent's driveway. .*smile*) first wreck, surf trips, breakdowns stranding me in strange cities leading me to unforseeable adventures, etc etc etc. . .

Used to enjoy seeing new ones during trips to Mexico . ..
posted by Danf at 9:03 AM on June 7, 2003

My first car too - a green '71 Beetle called Florence. Had her for 11 years, then parted with her 'cos she was in a poor state of repair and I couldn't afford to have her fixed. Life was never as much fun or as carefree when she'd gone - I was almost a different person then. I still bear all the scars of a Beetle driver - I have to have the driving seat very upright, I go everywhere at 50 mph (which was when the speedo needle was pointing straight up/ahead) and I can't park without nudging walls/posts with the bumpers.
Don't care much for the new Beetle - it looks too much like everything else on the road.
I drive a Saab now, a big red beast called Storm, but she's much more expensive to run and maintain. Love the heated seats though!
posted by tabbycat at 11:09 AM on June 7, 2003

I never had one, but I dated a girl who had one... her father was a mechanic, and he cut the frame all to hell, slapped a V8 in the backseat, and put the Beetle shell back on top of it. ( I've seen similiar jobs with old 280Z's)
I tell you, there is nothing like beating a Mustang GT in the quarter mile with a Beetle.
posted by bradth27 at 11:35 AM on June 7, 2003

I have had my share of beetles over the years. I've also had enough other volksies to elicit an exclamation of "Is there any Volkswagen you haven't owned?" from a mechanic. However, it's hard to justify buying a VW these days. With the price of, say, a new Jetta what it is, I could have a new Civic, loaded, with or without rice. And a longer warranty. And a dealership that isn't a bunch of [expletive plural noun]. The competitive comparison is more striking if you look at Eurovan vs. Caravan.

By the way, VW has been saying "Yes, we will be stopping production of the original Bug just any time now" since I started paying attention in the 80s. Wake me when the production line stops, mmkay?
posted by ilsa at 12:00 PM on June 7, 2003

Yeah but the Civic sucks, with or without rice. The attention to detail on the inside of a German car is higher than the equivalent Japanese car, hands down. American cars aren't even in the same city, much less the ballpark.

And the Civic doesn't come in diesel. 50mpg rocks.
posted by Cerebus at 12:10 PM on June 7, 2003

Darn, late to a post close to my heart.

One of my first memories is of lying in the cubby-hole (what my family called the space behind the back seat) of a (brand new!) 1955 bug looking up at the sky. Seat belts? What the heck are those?

My favorite thing about the car were the turn signals (little lit-up semaphores that swiveled up from the door post) and the knob that gave you one more gallon of gas when you ran out (since there wasn't a gas gauge).

We got a microbus (off-topic) in 1960, then swapped both for a 1967 bug (given the name "the Nazi war machine" by a Polish friend of the family) and a 1968 bus. Then off to college, where (gasp) I had no car.

Then everything went blank. Oh, all right. I had a Fiat for 15 years.

Then a Passat with a GTI added recently.

I love memories of the bug (beetle to you), but there's no way I'd own one now.
posted by skyscraper at 1:20 PM on June 7, 2003

I've only ever driven in a Beetle once, many years ago, to get a lift to a job, and it was among the scariest experiences of my life. Going round roundabouts in that thing at 40mph makes me appreciate Colin McRae even now. Still, can't beat the Mini.
posted by riviera at 2:29 PM on June 7, 2003

I used to work on them (as a profession). I've owned quite a few, and also can remember memorable sex with various individuals in the backs of various VW buses and campers. I also remember three or four cross country road trips.

The buses were really scary on bridges during high winds and they tended to catch on fire a lot. The Beetles were a bit less flammable, but oooooh - that rust. Rust, rust, rust. And more rust.

People's car. Indeed. I could talk your head off.
posted by troutfishing at 10:42 PM on June 7, 2003

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