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From Nazis to hippies: End of
the road for Volkswagen Beetle

Original Article

Posted By: Imright, 7/10/2019 9:12:41 AM

FRANKFURT, Germany—Volkswagen is halting production of the last version of its Beetle model this week at its plant in Puebla, Mexico. It’s the end of the road for a vehicle that has symbolized many things over a history spanning eight decades since 1938.It has been: a part of Germany’s darkest hours as a never-realized Nazi prestige project. A symbol of Germany’s postwar economic renaissance and rising middle-class prosperity. An example of globalization, sold and recognized all over the world. An emblem of the 1960s counterculture in the United States. Above all, the car remains a landmark in design, as recognizable as the Coca-Cola bottle.The car’s original design —

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Reply 1 - Posted by: DaddyO 7/10/2019 9:51:14 AM (No. 119502)
I drove the heck out of my 66 Volkswagen in high school in the mid-1970s. Dad worked at a VW dealership and had access to cheap bugs, which we took advantage of. Never gave me any trouble. Sister totaled it driving on wet pavement. I got a new Volkswagen scirocco in 1978, constantly in the shop. Finally traded it in for next to nothing on a new minivan. Never bought another Volkswagen.
6 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: DVC 7/10/2019 9:56:10 AM (No. 119509)
I drove VWs for many years, paid for a good portion of my master's degree by working on other people's VWs. Good designs, but by the 90s they were pretty dated, and the pressures of emission controls were making it more difficult to compete. I switched to Hondas in '86 and have never looked back, but I still own a 1953 Bug. Advanced for their day (1930s) but out dated 60-70 years later. Few designs have lasted as long.
4 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: Highlander 7/10/2019 9:56:25 AM (No. 119510)
I owned a ‘62 while in my vagabond years. It took me everywhere from Ensenada to Grand Rapids, then down to the Ohio River at the bottom of Indiana. I sold it to my fiancé’s father for $300. Good memories with that car. Extremely reliable and cheap to fix.
4 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: LC Chihuahua 7/10/2019 9:59:06 AM (No. 119514)
Rest in peace, Herbie.
3 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: Nevadadad46 7/10/2019 10:21:27 AM (No. 119546)
I understand the completion of production for various mass produced automotive designs. We no longer mass produce 'Ford Model-Ts" do we? The list of cars no longer produced is longer than the list of cars currently in production. Think of these: AMC, Studebaker, Rambler, Hudson, Oldsmobile, Frasier, Plymouth, Tucker, and the many variants of just these few American manufacturers alone. I have always wondered why Pontiac quit producing the GTO. After all, the Mustang is still around, right? My goodness! Foreign makers have abandoned far more models that were in mass production, too. Remember the "Cube"? Holy smokes! What were they thinking? Even Messerschmidt, the famous German/dutch fighter plane makers, made a car that was marketed in the US after WWII. And don't forget, Mitsubishi Industries made the famous Japanese Zero during the war.
3 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: AltaD 7/10/2019 10:27:50 AM (No. 119553)
In the early '80s one of my college roommates owned a convertible bug. Her older brother purchased it when he was in college, he passed it on to her sister and when her sister graduated, my roommate became the proud owner of the beloved Bug. The heat was unreliable, the roof didn't always close as tightly as it should, the windshield wipers frequently went wonky but we loved that car.
2 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: coldoc 7/10/2019 10:37:38 AM (No. 119566)
I had a vw only engine shop in the late 60's. Great business until they lowered the speed limit. Driving 70 would kill the reduction box type 3's with predictable regularity.
2 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: DVC 7/10/2019 10:43:44 AM (No. 119575)
#7, Type 2s had the reduction gears at the ends of the axles. (Microbus or Transporters). Type 3s are Fastbacks and Squarebacks with the repackaged 'suitcase' engine. We ran several Squarebacks for several hundred thousand miles all over the USA.
0 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: DVC 7/10/2019 10:46:24 AM (No. 119581)
And actually, they stopped making VWs with any connection whatsoever with the Porsche design in 2003. These latest "Bugs" (for 16 years) are just slightly restyled versions of the Audi TT. Front engine, water cooled, absolutely ZERO technical connection to the original VWs.
6 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: bad-hair 7/10/2019 11:22:35 AM (No. 119626)
Great VW stories. I and a couple of friends had 5 of them. You could hand carry the engine from the driveway to the basement. For the most part socket wrenches were not required, a monkey wrench would cover it. On any given weekend we would have 3 of the 5 in good working order until we crashed them.
3 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: Jennie C. 7/10/2019 11:39:11 AM (No. 119645)
That's sad. They were never the same when they smoothed out the hood (for no good reason that I could see), but still an icon. A college friend of mine had a red super-Beetle named Sebastian :)
2 people like this.

Reply 12 - Posted by: Newtsche 7/10/2019 12:30:12 PM (No. 119689)
I drove bugs for years, there's a '69 Karmann Ghia sitting outside the door. After three engine rebuilds, I gave up when non-leaded fuel added a new wrinkle to the air-cooled mill. Using legendary Gene Berg parts and advice I had it at about 105 hp, not going to break your neck but also a great surprise to other drivers not expecting it. All well and good unless caught up in the rush hour during Winter where the top half of the outside of your left foot was the only thing warm in the car.
1 person likes this.

Reply 13 - Posted by: bad-hair 7/10/2019 12:46:31 PM (No. 119702)
# 12 just a side bar. Non leaded non ethanol 100 octane gasoline is available at most any small airport in the USA. It's what single engine airplanes eat. Bit pricy but a Karmann would love it.
1 person likes this.

Reply 14 - Posted by: Newtsche 7/10/2019 1:32:05 PM (No. 119739)
Yes, #13, thanks. There were additives also available, the valves required lead to exist. Not the way to live with a daily driver. The real fix was another rebuild, including fuel injection. I weighed the costs and put it all on a way-back burner. I bought a Toyota Tacoma instead, still drive it, the best vehicle I've ever owned and I've been through a few.
0 people like this.

Reply 15 - Posted by: bad-hair 7/10/2019 2:23:39 PM (No. 119779)
K 14 gotta get off the thread now I got a Tundra and a 2003 350Z, all I need. Carry on mate.
0 people like this.

Reply 16 - Posted by: franq 7/10/2019 6:03:56 PM (No. 119938)
My first car was a 1972 Beetle, bright yellow. Pennsylvania salt took its toll. Wife learned to drive stick on it.
0 people like this.

Reply 17 - Posted by: Rumblehog 7/10/2019 9:27:15 PM (No. 120088)
They should have brought back a refreshed Karmann Ghia, a style well ahead of its time.
1 person likes this.

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