Follow this blog by Email

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My Vehicles: VW 1200 (Beetle) Screaming Orange

After the Citroen experience I was hankering after something solid, proven German engineering. With other words I was looking for a VW-Bug. My grandpa used to drive a black VW and it was a late 50s model. But he had switched to FORD later. As a last-ditch attempt to revive sales for the aging concept of the beetle, VW launched a special edition in 1974. It had no frills, no fan, no radio. It was stripped to the basics and it was available for 6000 German Marks. The seventies had brought out a few colours of choice. Orange was one of them. The other was moss-green. (my 3rd. vehicle)
volkswagen-beetle-1974VW 1200
What I had thought would be a trouble-free new car turned out to be…well almost a lemon. When the car was delivered there was already a strange sound from the engine. Later a big bang occurred from time to time and it seemed to come from the body. The dealer never found the reason and a year later the banging had ceased. With this car I travelled to Scandinavia 2 times. This beetle was still made in Germany – not in Mexico. The history of the Beetle began during the darkest German days the 3rd.Reich. Volkswagen was originally created in 1936 by the German Labour Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront). In the early 1930s, the German auto industry was still largely composed of luxury models, and the average German could rarely afford anything more than a motorcycle. As a result, only one German out of 50 owned a car. Hitler chose to sponsor an all-new, state-owned factory using Ferdinand Porsche's design (with some of Hitler's design constraints, including an air-cooled engine so nothing could freeze). The intention was that ordinary Germans would buy the car by means of a savings scheme. Over 330,000 Germans started paying 5 Marks a week into a fund so they one day could afford to actually own a Volkswagen (People’s Car) My Grandfather on my mothers side was one of them and due to the corrupt system of the Nazis he never got this car. He wasn’t into Nazism either but a staunch social democrat, which might have contributed to him not getting the car.  Only after the war was over he purchased a brown split-window beetle. I remember that car very well being parked in his garage. Grandpa was a smoker and there always was this smoke odour in his car. Beetles had always been available in 2 slightly different versions, namely the Standard and the Export. The “Standard” was the stripped-down car while the “Export” had more Chrome and better upholstery.
On July 01 1974 the last VW-Beetle of a total of 11.9mill. German-made beetles left the assembly line. So my beetle was one of the last batch ever made. After that the Golf took over. However, the beetle production continued in Mexico where beetles were used as taxis by removing the front passenger seat thus allowing for an easy entry on the passenger side.

A common commercial VW slogan was:
VW Reklame
                      It runs and runs and runs…
I traded my Beetle again in 1976 for another VW.

6 comments:

  1. The rear split window beetle is sought after today. Classic.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved them I had a 1959, 1960 Beetle, 1973 Super beetle and a 1974 Beetle for spare parts for my 1973. they were all great cars but very cold in the Canadian winters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They could be cold even in German winters, especially the old ones from the 50s. The good thing was no coolant could freeze.

      Delete
  3. My very first car of ever was a 1961 blue VW Beetle. It was the first of 6 Beetles I had over the years. An oncoming driver made a left turn in front of me in Stratford Ontario and that resulted in my Beetle being totalled in 65. Drove my blue Beetle to Sarasota Florida and back in the summer of 1964. When in the Navy I bought a white Beetle in Halifax and drove it home to Tavistock Ontario. In 1971 I drove another one of my Beetles out to Vernon BC in the Okanagan Valley whereupon I rolled it down an embankment because of black ice on the highway. I drove another one with no first gear out to Manitoba and back. I also head 2 VW Camper vans and a Carman Ghia while a friend of mine drove an old gray Porsche. I am a big Beetle fan with a head full of crazy Beetle memories. I just loved those things. Long live the Beetle:))

    ReplyDelete
  4. My first new car was a 1970 VW bug. Ran great and the AC would freeze you out of the car:) Just what I was looking for since I lived in Texas at the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. German VWs never had any AC in Germany. The heater (if equipped with a fan) blew hot air through the car. But many times the heater was not working, so it was rather cold in winter.

      Delete

We like to hear from you. You can add your comment here: