Wednesday, February 25, 2015
When I graduated from college, I bought a brand new VW Bug. It cost $1600. It listed for less, but I paid extra for a radio and undercoating. I put down $200, my pop paid the rest. When I got a job, I gave him $200 a month and it was fully paid for by Christmas.
My 1968 bug had 53 horsepower and could reach speeds of almost 65 MPH…80 if going downhill. The air cooled engine never overheated. The rear engine positioned extra weight over large (for the size of the car) rear drive tires, giving it excellent traction in the snow. The Bug got me through high water (they claim the damn thing could float) and heavy snow. I never got stuck.
The best thing about the Bug was it was a friendly car. It was cute. It was unintimidating. I was never challenged to drag race at a stop light. The Bug had a friendly horn, a cute little beep-beep. I used the horn often, and no one ever shot me that middle finger salutation.
My Dad bought a VW Bug in 1955. There were almost no Bugs on the road in 1955. Whenever you did pass another Bug, both cars would respond with a beep-beep greeting. In 1968, when I bought my Bug, there were millions on the road. I passed other Bugs all the time; still the beep-beep tradition was followed.
I think the best thing about my Bug is it was an anti-road rage car. It was impossible to get angry at the Bug. When I went up a hill and couldn’t go faster than 50 MPH, the cars behind would never get angry. They knew it was not my fault, it’s a Bug!
I miss my Bug; I sold it for $50 when it was twenty four years old and it was still running as good as ever. Well almost as good as ever. To this day I am still sorry I sold it.
The world was a better place when the Bug was in production. With the Bug off the road, driver courtesy has disappeared. The road has not been the same since the piece-sign painted, plastic-daisy on the antennae Bugs left it.
My roots are half German. I am told the German people are a strict, rigid, serious people. The Bug was the exact opposite of those stereotypes.
Germany gave us Hitler, but it also gave us THE BUG.