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Volkswagen’s final farewell to the Beetle is enough to make your heart soar

Volkswagen has a long history of memorable advertisements, going back to the classic “Lemon” and “Think Small” campaigns. The plucky, fun-loving Beetle has often been at the center of Volkswagen’s marketing, and now the ol’ Bug is getting one last moment in the spotlight. The Last Mile, an animated short film Volkswagen has made to send the Beetle off, doesn’t so much tug at your heartstrings as it does yank your still-beating ticker clear out of your chest.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2020/01/02/volkswagens-final-farewell-to-beetle-enough-to-make-heart-soar
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It was my first car, specifically a 74 super with auto stick transmission.

It isn’t really fair to beguile you with ALL of the vw beetle stories I have, for there are far too many, some good, some bad, and one particularly sad one.
Highlights from the first one include:
Installing programmable musical horn from jc whipme, finding out it really does float, fitting a tuba and 3 other lanky teenagers in it and being the first to start in the sgudebr parking lot where every car was encased in a quarter inch of ice

Fast forward to the last 7 years of my life, and I’ve had a beetle ever since then, but none in as good of shape as that first one I had.

The real beetle died in 03.

The rabbit in beetles clothing had an impossible act to follow.

It now isn’t the most successful model ever anymore, but I cant see anybody getting choked up if Toyota ever decides to stop making corollas.

Rest, or rust, in peace, beetle. You will be and are missed by a people who never really understood you at all and mostly didnt appreciate you.

A 90 second sendoff by VW to.the car that built them… doesnt seem quite enough to me

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It’s a well-done and nostalgic little short film, but the end of the Beetle doesn’t stir me. The front-drive modern Beetle was always just a common econobox under the skin anyway, the REAL Beetle died decades ago. I look at the short, though, and mourn the loss of Plymouth, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Mercury, DeSoto, Hudson, Studebaker, Packard… :frowning:

Unlike the Corolla that had multiple generations, the VW was more of a Gen1 through its entire run. With 21 million built and the overall impact of the bug, it’s place in history is only eclipsed by the Model T for automotive significance. And I only think the air cooled Bugs count. The newer gen isn’t true to the automotive icon.

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Nothing about VW makes my heart soar. The company was founded by Hitler and Ferdinand Porsche, a Nazi SS officer.

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VW–Hope the Mgmt would reconsider terminating the Beetle & consider producing an Electric Beetle.

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My parents went on their honeymoon driving a beetle from Toronto to Florida with camping gear back seat,forward trunk and tied to the roof in the early 60’s. I had a beetle and so did my sister. My sister took a corner with hers so hard once she popped two tires off the rims. Beetle didn’t roll though. I mostly remember what a great ride they had for such a small car.

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My first transportation was a '58 Beetle that I bought in the mid sixties from an auto salvage yard’s car lot. That should have raised flags. It had a loose flywheel that threatened to come up through the rear seat.
The problem was solved by buying a wrecked '57 with a good engine.We changed it out using two scissors jacks and a wide plank.
The photo was taken in 1967.

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Now this might be a senior brain cramp but somehow thought the Beetle body was coming back as an electric market entry…No?

In my high school auto shop we built a bunch of dune buggies on Beetle pans. The craze was in full swing on the west coast, and we found a market in the rich kids in my area. We had a deal with most of the local police depts, as well as the state, to keep the bugs that had been found abandoned if we towed them away. Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold Empi bodies and would sell them to us at cost through their program to assist school auto shops with tools and equipment. We could build a dune buggy for around $500, then sell them for a grand. The school got half the proceeds for the use of the shop, and the rest we used to buy more body kits. We didn’t make any money, but it really advanced my welding and mechanical skills.
When I got into sports cars, a friend had a modified bug with a Porsche 1600 in it, and the fiberglass fenders you could get from Warshawski’s. It was a terror at the parking lot gymkhanas.

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I’m 70 years old and my “Wilma” is 60 years old (1960 Indiana Red T1). The Last Mile isn’t over for either of us.

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I’ve logged many hundreds of thousands of miles in the original, air-cooled Beetle. I’ve worked as a salesman at a VW dealership, during the last several years of Beetle sales, in the US market. I was trained to service and repair them by a couple of VW/Porsche master mechanics and I feel the original VW Beetle is the best true economy car the world has ever see, or will ever see. It is a shining example of a mediocre design brilliantly executed. Throughout it’s long production run, it was constantly improved/upgraded and, well, “de-bugged”. Volkswagen’s dealer parts & service network, in the US (and, I suspect elsewhere) was an early example of how it should be done, to ensure success.
Although other manufacturers have managed to keep the same model name in continuous use for longer than the original Beetle was in production, NONE OF THEM have kept the same basic chassis/platform in production for as long as VW did.
Although I no longer drive a Beetle as my daily driver, I’ve kept my 387,000 mile '72 Super Beetle, a '73 Beetle and a '68 VW panel van. When the current MGB-GT restoration is finished, I will begin refurbishing (as opposed to restoring) my faithful Super Beetle, which will once again become my daily driver for my last year before retirement. Once I’ve retired, I’m ridding myself of modern cars and will only drive air-cooled VWs and MGs during “the driving season” and a couple of much older, liquid cooled VWs during the winter.

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My Dad had a '62 Karmann Ghia convertible when I was in Jr. High, that was supposed to be my first car when I got my license, if he had ever got around to putting the new clutch in it.

While I have never owned a Beetle, when I bought a '74 Charger in late '73 it gave my room mate new car fever, and he went to the local VW dealer and bought their left over '73 Super Beetle demonstrator.
Over the years I have owned a '67 split windshield Bus with a camper conversion, (wish I still had it,) a '71 Porsche 914 that was in good enough shape i got it for $1700 and kept it running about half the time for the first 5 years, and for the last 8 years I have had a Karmann Ghia convertible that was built the same month I graduated from High School (May '70.) And I have no intentions of turning loos of it any time soon.

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i just completed my full circle. Dad gave me a “new” beetle when I graduated college in 1964,my first car,a Bermuda blue with a sun roof. Drove it across the country to Calif in 1965 with my new wife,what fun. That 40HP motor barely made it over the continental diviide. Made the mistake of trading it for a MGB convert 3yrs later. fast forward to 2019 we bgt on of the last made beetle convertibles with all sorts of modern things never thought of back in the 60’s . Love the car an old memories. I won’t be trading this one in. BTW I have the same wife. LOL

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Reminds me of a story: Not long after I left my job as a VW dealer salesman, I moved back to my home town of Pittsburgh, PA. During the summer (mid-1970s), my BMW 2002Tii was totaled (and I almost was!) and replaced by a couple of MGs (one of which I still have). When fall came, I did what so many of us did, back then and bought an older Beetle, for winter driving. Mine was a tired, but still pretty solid '67 (aka “The Roach”), probably the ultimate VW Beetle. That winter was particularly cold and snowy. I had a company pickup truck to drive, but my wife used “The Roach” to commute to her job.
The other side of our rented duplex was occupied the daughter of a local Ford dealer. Mary always had a new Mustang to drive. Both The Roach and Mary’s Mustang sat outside every night. So, when the temperatures dropped to -15F to -20F, I had to go out and start our VW, for my wife and let it warm up a little bit. Funny thing is that The Roach ALWAYS started on the first try, while Mary’s new Mustang often had to wait for her dad to send a mechanic over with ether and a booster battery. You can bet that Mary often reminded her dad that her neighbor’s old VW ALWAYS started, while her new Mustang frequently needed help.

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My father served in the Allied Occupation Forces in Germany after WWII. As Europe lay prostrate and bleeding under the rubble, manufacturing anything was nearly impossible. Miraculously, Volkswagen was able to resume production in the fall of 1945. Labour was scarce, steel even scarcer, but somehow new Beetles began appearing on the streets of Wolfsburg. They were more symbol than substance. The starving and displaced, shivering along the roadside, saw a glimmer of hope that they, too, might rise from he dust one day. Dad owned one briefly in 1960, and I remember how well it climbed the snow-covered hills that led to our rural Indiana home. As a car, it was no more than it thought it was. As a symbol, it will outlive history.

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Agreed. Here in the us, they could call it the lightning bug.

Kyle

The bug, the Beatles and birth control defined a generation.

Let’s take off the rose-colored glasses: Worthless and potentially poisonous heater; clutches that did not last; cylinder heads that almost grew carbon deposits; no crash protection in front; handling worse than a first-gen Corvair (though the Corvair and especially second-gen model weren’t nearly as poor-handling as some described); rust (but not as bad as early Japanese imports); and front defroster that was nearly worthless in winter (but see heater problem in general). The car may have been relatively easy to work on, but that in itself was a problem - they often needed work and amateur mechanics often were not up to the task.

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Back in the early sixties I got married, bought a 1962 1200cc Beetle and drove 1000 miles to see my in laws. After a 3 week holiday I drove it back 1000 miles in 20 hours. It was only a few days later that I realised that it was the fastest time that I had ever done that trip and I had done it in an Austin A 105 Westminster, a 1955 Austin Healey 100/4, a 1962 Ford Cortina, all of which were far faster cars than the Beetle, however, with the Beetle I only stopped for petrol whereas with the other cars we would stop for breakfast, coffee, sightseeing etc. or just to stretch our legs. Just goes to show how long it takes to catch up just a little bit of lost time. By the way, the next trip was the slowest ever in a 1962 VW bus, that took 2 full days, but it was loaded to the gills with furniture and stuff as we were emigrating to South Africa from Southern Rhodesia.

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