The Volkswagen Beetle is one of the most popular and lovable cars ever built, even though its existence was ordered by none other than Adolf Hitler during the early days of his Nazi dream when Hitler demanded the creation of a “People’s Car”, or “Volks Wagen” in German.
Walt Disney even built a feature film franchise around a VW Beetle, affectionately known as Herbie the Love Bug when the first movie debuted on the big screen in 1969. Other Herbie-centric movies followed and the lovable four-wheeled Hollywood star helped cement the VW Beetle as a friendly little car that you just wanted to hug whenever you saw one on the street.
We at MyStarCollectorCar are old enough to remember when VW Beetles were everywhere and dominated the small car market here in North America. In fact, we owned a few Beetles during our formative years as teenaged anarchists and believe we are well-qualified to give five good reasons why you need to hug a Bug whenever you have the opportunity. By Bug, we mean Beetle, and by Beetle, we mean the first-generation Beetle, and not the New Age Beetles that had a similar but soulless overall style with exactly none of the charm of an original Beetle.
The first good reason is a Beetle is not a road rocket and will save you a lot of money when it comes to speeding tickets. The original Beetles were highly underpowered and should not have spent any time on a freeway, but they were perfect for urban driving and an excellent choice for city use because a town’s traffic pace was much slower than a highway’s pace.
The second good reason is related to the first reason because a VW Beetle is a pedal-to-the-metal car that has an engine that envies lawnmower engines in terms of performance. The Beetle’s lack of horsepower means drivers can flatten the gas pedal against the floorboard, hear the high RPMs produced by an anemic VW engine, and pretend they are in race mode behind the wheel while struggling to meet the posted speed limit.
The third good reason is Volkswagen Beetles are very solid in a rollover because they have strong body sections with thick metal. This fact will become important to their drivers because a Volkswagen Beetle is an easy vehicle to roll since they are top-heavy and have a rear suspension that allows each side of the axles to work independently from the other axle, consequently a Beetle is easy to roll when one side is too close to a ditch.
We learned this interesting factoid when we were teenaged stunt drivers and accidentally rolled one in a ditch while also learning about the Beetle’s tough outer skin. Happily, the car’s lack of power made it a slow rollover, so nobody was hurt-except the Beetle.
The fourth good reason is Volkswagen Beetles will float for awhile, presumably enough time to get rescued before it sinks. We at MyStarCollectorCar never tested a VW Beetle for use as a boat, likely because the rollover ended the Beetle ownership dream for us.
The fifth and final good reason to own a Beetle is to not deprive other people of an opportunity to play Punch Buggy, a game where kids or immature adults get to slug other contestants in the arm if they spot a Beetle before their childish opponents. As mentioned, Beetles were once very common vehicles on the road but have since taken the same exit ramp as the passenger pigeon and pet rocks over the passage of time.
BY: Jim Sutherland
Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.