Category Archives: Beetle

O.G. Vee-dub is an inspiration for the ages

Faithful companion

Faithful companion

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!

No end in sight

No end in sight

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.

'65: Beetle in the middle

’65: Beetle in the middle

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.

Beetle brigade march of time

VW march of time

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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Old Volks roam

TVT004: license to ill

TVT004: license to ill

1977 was the last year Volkswagen officially sold the original style Beetle in the US, though the swanky convertible, a.k.a Cabriolet, continued for another few years.  After 35 years, it should come as no surprise that VW Beetle sightings are not as frequent as they had been. Vigilant
FeralCars friend Steve DeBro did, however, capture this richly patinated example just this week. The fact that it wears old-style California “black plates” and has no headrests or side reflectors indicate it’s of  1967 or earlier vintage.

Beetle infestation in Arkansas

Beetle infestation in Arkansas

 

Memphis-based FeralCars fan David Less was passing through the greater Augusta, Arkansas metroplex the other day when he caught sight of these two. They’re a bit newer, not to mention a whole lot shinier, than Steve’s discovery.  The one on the left is a Super Beetle, sold from 1971-1975 and fitted with a curved windshield, stretched nose and revised front suspension. The one on the right is an earlier, non-Super, Bug but is still a pretty swell specimen.  Based on the louvers on the engine cover, we theorize it’s a 1970.  Yes, you really have to have a keen eye if you’re going to make it in the Beetle spotting biz!

Drop top Bug goes fenderless

Drop top Bug goes fenderless

As with “The Augusta Two,” this wounded cabriolet wears historic plates.  One of the selling points of V-dubs back in the day was the ease with which body parts could be removed and replaced.  We see the owner has “removed” well in hand so we’re looking for the “replaced” box to be checked in the near future.

It wouldn’t be right to post about VWs of this era without offering a classic Doyle Dane Bernbach-created TV spot, like this one from 1962 that riffs on the fact that exterior styling didn’t change much from one model year to the other but we know better, don’t we?

 

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Include your name, location of the car and some thoughts about the vehicle and we’ll look into getting it the attention it deserves.