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Over 30 million Sold... More & Less!
Sep 30 2011 - Jan 29 2012
Volkswagen and Culture
How many college students can fit into a … Ford Fusion? Who knows. Hasn’t been tried.
Have you seen the Buick Regal cut in half and two front ends welded together? No? Probably not
What about the Dodge Challenger turned into a Baja Buggy? No way!
Remember all those Ford vans painted up in Hippie colors? Uh….no.
Do you remember the Chevy vans shortened by four feet?
Why is it the VW has so often been the “vehicle” of expression, especially in the 1960s and ‘70s? For Americans in the late 50s and 1960s, self expression involving our automobiles was the coming-of-age ritual for the Baby Boomer set. We were building hot rods, customized and brightly painted show pieces, or stripped down dry-lakes racers. Some were building amazing low-riders that rode “low and slow.” But there were some who seemed to reject all of that and instead painted flowers and rainbows on their VW Transporters. They cut the front and back sheet metal off their Beetles and drove them in the desert – the Baja Buggies. Most of these characters simply drove the little VWs at a time when a car was typically twice as long, three times heavier, and maybe six times more powerful (and one third as efficient). The Beetle was to the automotive world what long hair and beards were to proper grooming.
These owners were often fanatical about their Bugs. They learned to work on their own cars rather than depend on trained mechanics. They drove the cars continuously racking up hundreds of thousands of miles on the odometers. If parts were falling off, never mind – it’s still running fine. The adventure was in the driving. How fast could it go? Not very. What about those cross-winds? One learned to ‘predict’ when and where they would occur. Adversity was the adventure.
Some of us felt the cars were invincible. We would drive them full force into eight-foot high snow drifts just to see what it would take to drive them back out. We would chase each other through the woods squeezing between trees and over logs just to say we did it. A type of ‘trials’ that motorcyclists thought belonged to them only. And, oh yes, how many college students can you fit into a VW? Bournemouth College of Technology and College of Art achieved a record 103 students and were still able to drive the car 15 feet. Top that Big Three!