|This is the model that broke the old hippies heart,|
it was the last V.W. bug to roll off the assembly line forever.
The 2003 Volkswagen Beetle
You either loved them or you hated them, there was no in-between. The Volkswagen Bug was manufactured from 1938 to 2003. There were 21,529,464 (twenty one million, five hundred twenty-nine thousand, four hundred sixty four) Volkswagen Beetles manufactured in all. It was the most manufactured and produced car in history. No other car maker sold as many of a single model than the Volkswagen Beetle.
…and, back before freeways, in the early ‘60s, it seemed like they were the single most impediment to traveling down the highway. I can still hear the whistley little four-banger air cooled engines in my ears. It seemed like no matter what hill that you were on, there was a Beetle up there in front, bugging you, leading the parade. Even though they were getting great mileage, they were holding up everybody behind them, causing trucks busses and passenger cars to use their very lowest gears. The wear and tear, plus the wasted fuel caused by slowing down to follow the whistley little annoying Beetle more than sapped any fuel savings that the Beetle could have saved the world. Not to mention all of the labor of the people that were providing time for the freight industry. Sales people, and people headed toward their jobs were held up. You could be late to work and you could tell your boss that you got caught behind a Volkswagen on Benbow hill. It was an acceptable excuse.
I have always over-thought everything, so being trapped behind a V.W. pulling a hill allowed me way to much time to think. I have never taken a psychology class, because I’m afraid of what I might find out about myself, but that doesn’t stop me from delving into the psychology of those around me. It always seemed to me that the people that drove V.W. Bugs were doing it with some kind of a smugness about them. Their philosophy seems to be: “If everybody drove bugs, the world would be a better place, we would be using less fuel, and we would be moving at a slower and more relaxed pace”. So, they feel obliged to hold you up, because they are better and smarter than you. No way would they ever pull over on a hill, they couldn’t afford to loose what little teeny-weeny bit of momentum that they had wound up in their little itty-bitty motors. If they pulled off, nobody would EVER let them back in in front of them. NO WAY! It was like a V.W. driver could die on a turn-out before anybody would let them back in. I think that people that drove real cars would be secretly happy to see a V.W stranded in a turn out forever. Plus, if the V.W. drivers were really that concerned about the environment, why weren’t they driving bicycles, hand-carved out of driftwood? They are all pretentious phonies. There, I said it, I feel better.
The early sixties were a time when more powerful and economical engines were being developed. Trucks were being produced with large diesel V-8 engines with magnesium frames and wheels that could move freight up hills and 55 miles per hour, only to be held up by a whistley little V.W. Bug. State and federal officials recognized the problems of the highway system. They realized that there was no sense in building faster, more powerful trucks and delivery systems if they were only to have the pace set on the highways by a V.W Bug. So, the Interstate Highway System was upgraded so that every state was to have a major freeway. After the freeways were built, the popularity of the V.W. dropped off, which proves something to me. Bugs are just no fun unless you are holding something up.
As you might have guessed, most of this was written a little tongue-in cheek. And, maybe some lingering annoyance at having had to follow way too many Volkswagens... Deal with it.
My wife’s second car, way back before we were married, was a Volkswagen. She loved it because she liked to shift all those gears, I can understand that. It gave her great gas milage, and it was a time in her life that she was not in any big hurry to be anywhere. Ah... the freedom of youth.
|Volkswagens awaiting restoration. Photo by Kim Sallaway.|
|The den of the hippie bird, used to lure young chicks with|
the promise of a whole wheat alfalpha sandwich.