Hometown Classic: Malaise-Era Beetle – There’s Nothing Sadder Than A Forgotten Project Car

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Some cars have all the luck; other cars, not so much.  Some cars come home every night to a cozy garage, and others sit outside, forgotten and forlorn.  The upturned bumper on this 70’s Beetle reminds me of a brave attempt at a smile.

This bug is parked next door to the house where I grew up.

Welcome to my hometown of Raymond, Washington, population about 3,000. This is small-town America we’re talking about here; a car parked out in the yard is almost a requirement, and certainly nothing to be ashamed of.  If those snobs from Seattle don’t like it, they can go home!

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The bug has been subjected to the Pacific Northwest rain for several years now, and the owner lives about a three hour drive away from his parents’ house where it is parked.  We all know how life has a way of getting in the way of our little projects, and a long-distance relationship with a car can get particularly difficult.

From the color of the paint, you can tell that it’s a newer model, from 1975 or later.  I’m no VW expert, but I know Malaise Era Golden Brown when I see it!  If I squint and use my imagination just a little, I can see some dude sporting the then-trendy Suede/Denim look as he proudly waxes this car when it was brand-new.

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A quick peek at the rear shows that once upon a time, a fuel-injected mill resided here.

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However, if you pop open the hood, a dual-carb setup is what you see.

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A closer look reveals a pretty bad case of rust cancer, particularly by Pacific Northwest standards.

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A sideways close-up of the C-pillar indicates that this particular case may be terminal.  And look at all that moss! Any car left outside in rainforest country will collect moss on the windward side.  I suppose my favorite thing about this shot is the cutesy outhouse-window for the flow-through ventilation.

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This interior shot just makes me say, “What the heck?” (Or something like that.) Why did he remove the wheel? Planning a conversion to right-hand drive, perhaps?

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The saddest part of this exercise in weather-driven entropy would have to be the Jack-in-the-Box antenna thingie. Hasn’t the poor guy suffered enough?

And which one of you did I steal the phrase “weather-driven entropy” from?

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Some antenna thingies have all the luck, too. My DQ Blizzard has spent most of his life indoors, and it shows. Talk about a dying breed! Along with the disappearance of the antenna, these decorations are getting rare, too.

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Maybe someday, this beetle will run again.  Stranger things have happened.  Sometimes, it just depends on the skill, fanaticism and dedication of the owner.  But, for the time being this is one garden that remains bug-infested.