CC’s Best of 2023: 1968 Volkswagen Beetle With Roof Rack – Speaking of Chewing Gum… 

A sanitary Beetle—a real Beetle, parked up at the curb, just as regular as you please: a sight that was so common as to be invisible, all round the world, for years and decades. Now it isn’t, so this one made me hustle back for pictures once I’d got home and put away the perishable groceries. It caught my eye favourably, despite the colour.

The attraction always eluded me of this what I’ve always described as used-chewing-gum colour. Not Bubbleicious or Hubba Bubba or GatorGum or whatever others might’ve come in a rainbow of severely artificial day-glo colours, but…well, something like the Wrigley’s Doublemint Joseph Dennis was just mentioning in his post about that ’78 Chev Impala, decidedly more chromatic than this Beetle.

Hydrargyrum image at Wikimedia Commons

I can’t bring myself to bellyache any harder than that about it, partly because cars like this in condition like this are no longer all over the place; now they’re statistically nonexistent. And this one’s no longer at the dull end of a diverse palette; now it’s a welcome respite from relentless black-silver-grey-white. Maybe dangerously close to the beige boundary of today’s Overton Window of car colours, but that window is a lot narrower than it used to be.

And anyhow, the condition (the existence!) of this Beetle transcends and obliterates colour preferences. It appears to be exceedingly original; just about exactly what’s in mind behind the unusually stringent standards for vehicles allowed to have collector plates in BC.

I mean:

…I mean!

The interior’s amazing, too, though the left and right seats don’t quite exactly match (the two upholstery buttons are absent from the one seat). The seatbelts look newer than the car, too, and I have no beef with that:

And the car is equipped with what looks like a period-correct accessory, a neat metal-and-wood roof rack:

I imagine someone more hep than I about Beetles might know some (or all) of the particulars about this roof rack. As to the car itself, I had to do some internet digging to learn the model-year tells; I’d narrowed it down to ’68-’69ish by eyeing the signal lights, but couldn’t pin the year exactly before learning about the gasoline filler door: a finger-notch to open it from the outside in ’68; a pull-to-release inside the car in ’69.

This isn’t that nifty windowed Italian-spec turn signal—no need for two separate colours. Instead, to provide the newly-required-for-’68 side marker light function, the sidewall of the chrome housing is cut back to allow for lateral light output.

The markings read SAE DPP1 68, which decodes as This device meets the requirements of the SAE standards for directional signals; parking lights, and side marker lights current as of 1968. Markings like this don’t tell the year of the car, nor the year the standard was written, they just tell when the lamp was designed or last revised.

I’m gonna wash that rant right outta my hair; gonna wash that rant right outta my hair; I’m gonna wash that rant right outta my hair, and send it on its wayyyyyy…!

This one reads SAE STDBRP1 67, which means This device meets the SAE requirements for stop; tail; directional signal; class-B reflex reflector, and side marker lights current as of 1967. And it’s in fine fettle, like its mate and the rest of the rear of the car:

There’s what I would call exactly the right amount of rust on the bumpers:

And I would love a ride in this lovely ol’ Beetle.