I feel it’s fairly safe to assume that many are experiencing a bit of burnout with references to the current pandemic, so I’ll get it if you just skip to the next post. However, the timing of the appearance of this final-generation Volkswagen Beetle a few weeks ago seemed too good to be coincidental, so I decided to just go ahead and write this. Everyone’s situation is different, but this germ-themed VW that was flying down North Sheridan Road in my neighborhood served as a very visual reminder that my decision not to go anywhere for the holidays this year was a well-considered choice.
These will be the very first December holidays I will have spent here at my own place since I’ve lived in Chicago, so I have my fingers crossed that it will be a white Christmas, one of which I haven’t experienced since I left Michigan years ago. The absence of a snowy Christmas Day, which I have often spent in the south, is hardly compensated for by snowy everything-else back home through the middle of March, so I recognize that sometimes it’s about finding your own silver linings and believing in their value.
One could look at the heritage-themed styling trends starting in the late 1990s as having been a kind of pandemic, with examples not limited to output from any one continent. Besides the 1998 New Beetle, off the top of my head I can think of the following retro-styled vehicles that were available here in the U.S., and in no particular order: 1997 Plymouth Prowler, 2000 Chrysler PT Cruiser, 2003 Chevrolet SSR, 2006 Chevrolet HHR, 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, 2002 Ford Thunderbird, 2005 Ford Mustang, 2000 Mini Hatch, 2007 FIAT 500, and the 2008 Dodge Challenger. There are a few more examples I’m sure I’m missing.
I’ll admit that at one point in the middle of the last decade, I had started to reach my saturation point for throwback styling, similar to how I need to watch current sitcoms or the news to bring my mindset back to the present after bingeing on my favorite programs and movies from the past. Much like I like to mix decades-old clothes with current staples (even if nobody can see what I look like, as I continue to self-quarantine), there’s a way to correctly balance the new and the old to present all of it in a fresh, new perspective, in terms of both car styling and how one dresses.
It is my hope that as the Curbside readership prepares to travel or sit tight as the end of this year approaches, that you either make peace with staying right where you are (like me), or that you take the utmost care in getting to where you are going, taking all the precautions you need to. This is because we want you right back here in 2021. You’re a large part of what keeps us writing these things.
Edgewater, Chicago, Illinois.
Saturday, November 21, 2020.