Think about the older cars you commonly see on the road nowadays. A Pinto here and there… a Mustang… tried and true vehicles that are either tougher than their years or loved enough to survive them.
The one we’re not really too surprised to see is a Volkswagen. VW Beetles, the occasional Jetta, the campers. They stick around, passed down through generations. They are still loved, maintained, and functioning.
It’s a tribute to Volkswagens that they were popularized in a post-WW2 America at all. Despite bitter feelings about the war in middle America, the efficiency and fun of VWs won over North American hearts and minds, and was crucial to the Wirtschaftswunder, the ‘miracle on the Rhine’, where West Germany was able to build itself up from the ashes with a booming economy.
Many of the Volkswagen models from our distant past are still highly coveted today. The original campers with their tent tops were amazing vehicles, so ahead of their time. The functionality of a camper just seems amazing… like a little hotel for a mom, dad, and up to four kids to camp in… and then some. The later updates to the campers made them a bit easier on the price range and perfect beach cars, with removable radios and seats, allowing for quick needs customization. No other car manufacturer did that back then, and did it so well.
Can you remember the Type 181 jeep, the lemon-colored ‘The Thing’? It was a perfect beach vehicle, because it was so simple to clean later– literally by spraying the interior with a garden hose. People still marvel at how basic and simple The Thing was– you could see the ground beneath you as you drove around– and yet those jeeps were reliable and sturdy.
With the Karmann Ghia, Volkswagen finally came out with a sports car body and the same parts that powered the Beetle. Well into the eighties, when Molly Ringwald’s character in the teen film “Pretty In Pink” drove a painted-pink Karmann Ghia, the model was coveted by Generation X teens as an ideal first car– not too costly, and yet not too out of style.
In the 1990’s, Jettas were the car to get for young up and comers in big cities such as Atlanta. Affordable, comfortable, dependable… all the things people liked about VWs before now in a four-door compact. Looking back at it, VW’s were always a brand that found their niche with people who enjoy dependable cars that last.
With the post-millennial redesign of the Beetle and a new generation of designs in play, Volkswagen remains a brand with enormous reach, captivating the hearts of each new generation it finds. At Foreign Affairs, we love Volkswagens and we get why you love them, too, and we’d love to help keep yours in the best shape possible. Please contact us to set up an appointment with any of your needs or concerns!