We were delighted to happen up this 1965 Volkswagen Beetle and got to meet its owner. She’s had the car for the past 41 (!!) years and, yes, it’s a daily driver. Our response was, frankly, an emotional one, inspired by the relationship that has endured for so long. You did the math, right? The car was already 8 years old when it was purchased; its second and current owner paid $600 for it which works out to $14.63 per year. That’s value!
The car has, obviously, been well maintained and the owner, who wishes to remain anonymous as the numbers on her original California “black plates,” admits to applying the “BAJA” decal many years ago and is currently having second thoughts about that. The DK (Denmark) sticker, a reflection of her heritage, is something with which she’s more comfortable so no need to be melancholy about that add-on. There’s so much to love here: the headlights encased in glass covers, the stout bumper overrides, the classic VW hubcaps, the outside rear view mirror that’s integrated into the external door hinge and no stinkin’ backup lights. With a car like this, it’s all in the details.
We did some more math and determined that the ’65 model year was exactly halfway between VW’s introduction into the US market and the last officially imported Beetle cabriolet in 1980. Before the onslaught of Toyota, Nissan (née Datsun), et al. the original Beetle was a phenomenon unto itself. In 1965 VW sewed up an incredible 67% share of the U.S. import market with 288,583 units sold. Even with that huge number snapped up, it’s breathtaking to find such a straight, mostly un-messed with, example still in daily use after 49 years. Just imagine it’s 1965 and you find a car from 1916 used for daily transportation to get some perspective.
Speaking of 8 year old Volkswagens, check out this commercial in which a VW of that age is featured to advertise the then-current model. It’s another brilliant ad from Doyle Dane Bernbach, the true Mad Men of the era.
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