|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)
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:
It runs and runs and runs…
I traded my Beetle again in 1976 for another VW.