For some reason I’ve gotten a serious hankering to own a VW Bug, something that has somehow eluded me so far. It may also just be a bit of a fleeting thought, so who knows if I will actually act on it. But I’ve realized that I’m a bit of a contrarian, as I seem to be one of the few, the proud, the Super Beetle lovers out there. Somehow those elephant feet rear tail lights speak to me way more than the older ones do (of course I like DougD’s O.G. Beetle too, and Ed Stembridge’s would be good as well), and why limit the interior volume with a flat windshield when you can have the panoramic view out of a curved one that won’t chip whenever you see a small rock on the road like with our Jeep.
I saw this one a couple of months ago when driving around looking for photo opportunities with a test car. Then today, due to a massive wildfire near our town, my favorite ersatz “Alpine Lake Handling Course” was closed by the local law so I was cruising different roads than normal and remembered having seen it nearby. So I popped by and it was still in situ and as I exited my car to take some photos realized it wasn’t going anywhere soon. However, I love those big taillights, the steel wheels of this pattern are excellent either with or without the hubcaps, and I even like the large bumpers with the overriders, which got bigger in ’74 in order to meet the 5 mile bumper regs.
There was a house just behind my vantage point with lights on inside and cars in front of it so I didn’t dare get too close to the Bug or linger too long beyond seeing that the interior was stripped out and there was a fair amount of rust on the car, i.e. not the 1600cc runner of my dreams. However, in those dreams I’d be firing up that flat four and hearing the sweet, sweet sounds of Das Vaterland emanating from the peashooter exhaust while I hand crank the sunroof open as well as nudge the vent windows to pull more air in before cruising down the road. The only Bug I can actually remember driving was a 1979 white on white on white Cabriolet that I drove down to LA from college with my friend Eileen when she injured her hand in a lab we had the day prior and thus couldn’t handle the stick that weekend back in 1990 or so. Not fast, but fast enough and a great journey, it got us where we were going just as well as anything else would have.
So, fond but fleeting memories, and lately I take a longer glance whenever I see one. Prices have been increasing as of late, but parts to repair and restore seem to be as available (and inexpensive) as ever. I’d not even be picky as to color but one of the 70’s hues like this one that weren’t on the regular (older) Bugs would be preferable. In the meantime this one will likely sit here as long as I’ll occasionally be driving by it. The least the owners could do is turn it around so it could watch the traffic go past, but for me, this rear view is the best one.