The Volkswagen Bug has been with us for well over 50 years, and suffice to say, it has become a bit, err… iconic. To say the least. Trying to describe the magic of an old Volkswagen Bug, or the current Volkswagen Beetle, is continually accompanied by a walk down memory lane. People genuinly find it hard to describe in less than an entire story what it attaracts them to this charming two-door VW. The aura of the mighty bug can therefore only be explained by taking a closer look at some of its most memorable moments.
Some argue that Volkswagen was the very first company to sucessfully nail the art of minimalism in an advertising campaign. In an era where the American “Big Three” were pencil drawing overly colorful and flamboyant ads of their chromed to the teeth land yachts, Volkswagen was busy lending the prescription glasses business a hand by getting people to focus every so attentively on ever so unnassuming advertisements. Here’s one of my favorites.
I once read somewhere that Coca-Cola was the second best known word after the word “okay.” Methinks it would be safe to say that Herbie, the antropomorphic 1963 Beetle, may just be the best known car in the world. It had a mind of its own and would win races with no one at the wheel. It was as uncontrollable as it was cute. And everyone had to have one. In white, with a stripe overtop and the number 53 on the bonnet. Just don’t go looking for any grand enthralling cinematic experience in the most recent “Herbie Fully Loaded” flick. Its grassroots automotive entertainment wrapped up in a lighthearted comedy. An excellent choice for family movie night.
Last Original Bug Ever Produced
So popular in fact, that 21 million were produced. While Porsche is happy to sell a few thousand 911s in any given year and in any given country, Volkswagen used to sell close to a 1,000 Beetles before lunch was served – on any given day. If that statement raises an eyebrow, I’ll have you know that in 1971 alone, VW sold 1.3 million of them. Feel free to do the math. But unfortunately there came a day when its production ended. The last place to produce it was Mexico, where the Bug was the car of choice for taxi drivers. Easy to fix, fun to drive, and great on gas. The fact that they were painted green and white, Mexico’s colours, only added to the hurt when the last one rolled off of the production line on July 30th, 2003. The car was romantically dubbed, in typical German fashion, the “No. 21,529,464” and was immediately shipped to the VW museum in Wolfsburg. Something tells me it may have also been the last car to have ever been produced with solid chrome bumpers and white wall tires from the factory.
New Beetle (the 3rd)
In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a new Beetle in town. Actually, let me rephrase,… there’s a new new Beetle in town. As of 2012, the streets have been graced with the third generation of this peppy automobile, and enthusiasts of the brand haven’t yet looked back. The latest generation is based on the new Jetta platform, and is therefore roomier, with a five-cylinder turbocharged engine to boot. In fact, Volkswagen is so proud of their newest Beetle, they’ve put the world’s best driver/entertainer behind the wheel and have entered it into something called Global Rallycross. It’ll have a 560 horsepower TSI unit and all wheel drive, and no, it won’t be for sale at your local dealership. Yet. Perhaps if Tanner Foust wins his third championship in a row they’ll build us a limited production run. Here’s to dreaming!
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