Unless you have one as a driveway ornament, air-cooled Volkswagens are a distant memory of the past for most people. Maybe you drove one in college or maybe your parents had one when you were born. In Mexico, however, this archaic but time-proven design is still used daily. In fact, Mexico stopped production of the Beetle in 2003. The basic design is the same, it still uses a type 1 engine (though it’s fuel injected). Some other changes include an updated dash, an alarm, bumper-mounted turn signals in the front and in some cases the headlight trim is body-colored. A lot of taxi drivers in Mexico City have a Beetle although the city is pushing them to get rid of them because of the pollution they emit. As a side note, another good alternative for taxi drivers is the Nissan Tsuru, the early 1990s Sentra that is still in production there.
I spotted several of these delivery vans:
And, while most Beetles you see in Mexico are fairly new, the old ones are still represented. The huge car culture there means that most cars seem to stay on the road which is great to see:
Buses are still around but they don’t all fit into the “air-cooled Volkswagen” category. For the Mexican market, Volkwagen started using the water-cooled 1.4 in the early 1990s. Mexican production stopped but they’re still built in Brasil. The ones designated for export (mostly to the Mexican market) are water cooled but the ones built for the Brasilian domestic market still use the type 1, air cooled engine. Interesting thing is, in Mexico, they still use Buses as, well.. buses. The collectivos are sometimes Buses and various private enterprises use them to shuttle people (like the red one pictured, which we took to go from downtown to a river). The radiator in the front is a dead giveaway that you’re looking at a water-cooled Bus.
Photos were taken in Mexico City, Oaxaca and San Cristobal and are the property of Ran When Parked.