1980s / Driven daily / German / Volkswagen

Driven daily: Volkswagen Beetle

volkswagen-mexican-beetle-7It comes as no surprise that Volkswagen reigns supreme in Wolfsburg. Located in the North of Germany, the city was essentially founded by Volkswagen for Volkswagen after the end of the second world war. It is home to the firm’s first factory – one of the largest in the world – and nearly every car in the city is a Volkswagen, an Audi, a SEAT or a Škoda. We had a hard time finding two non-Volkswagen cars parked next to each other.

There is another way to describe Wolfsburg’s car fleet: Nearly every car on the road was built in the last ten years and, museums aside, there is virtually no indication the plant churned out millions of air-cooled Volkswagens over several decades.

We spotted just one unrestored Beetle in a parking lot next to the train station on a cool September morning. It was within spitting distance of the aforementioned factory (the four chimneys and the huge Volkswagen emblem are visible in one of the photos) but this particular example has likely never seen the inside of the plant.

Its front turn signals are integrated into the bumper, its front seats are equipped with adjustable headrests and its engine cover is smooth, indications it is a late-model example built in the early 1980s in the town of Puebla, Mexico. One of the last Beetles sold new in Europe by Volkswagen, it is in average shape for a 30-year old car but the clearcoat is peeling and several body panels show small rust bubbles.

As it drives around Wolfsburg surrounded by Golfs, Polos and A3s, this Beetle serves as an ever-important reminder of how Volkswagen became the giant it is today.

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