Thursday, August 25, 2011

Beetle Mania

The VW bug I remember was baby blue, had the engine in the rear, and there were subway car-like straps hanging from the roof over the back seats.

I loved the logo (still do)---the "V" perched on top of the "W" inside a circle; the word "Volkswagen" on a diagonal over the back hatch, which hid the engine.

This was circa 1970-72. I was a young child and the baby blue VW Beetle was the first car my parents possessed of which I have vivid memories.

I used to sit in the car as a youngster, in the driver's seat, and pretend I was driving on the open road. I would play with the "controls," as I called them---the dials of the radio, pushing the cigarette lighter in (don't worry; it didn't get hot because the car was turned off), fiddling with the vent and heat knobs, etc.

I was stationary in our driveway, but in my imaginative mind, I was cruising along at 45 MPH, switching lanes and making turns. I would pretend to drive to locations I was familiar with: the local Big Boy, the gas station, the supermarket.

Then they stopped making VW Beetles in this country and you pretty much didn't see them on the road for years.

Now they appear to have made quite a comeback.



The "new" Beetle I've been seeing on the road lately (top) and a version similar to what my parents had in the early-1970s (above)


I am seeing the "new" Beetles on the road more and more lately, and that's a good thing.

There's something about the rounded bug, hugging the pavement with its compact little body, tooling around town, that makes me smile. Sometimes, wistfully.

The car reminds me a lot of the baby blue version we had in my days as a Livonia lad. I can still see it parked in my mother's driveway (she still lives in the house where I grew up).

Of course, I thought the notion of a car with its "trunk" in the front and the engine in the back was pretty cool. Not sure that it was all that good for safety, but there you have it.

In the past several months, there has been an absolute influx of Beetles on the road. I'm convinced of it. I see them in all sorts of colors, too.

There was a time when I thought the idea of ever seeing VW Beetles on American roads again was pure fantasy. Now they're all over the place---at least in Metro Detroit, where I live, work and play.

Plus, they're just so gosh darn cute.

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