This 1970s Volkswagen 1302 was boxed in on the parking lot of a small village not far from the border between France and Italy. The patina on the body initially led us to conclude the car has been used regularly all of its life but a closer inspection reveals it has likely spent over two decades off the road.
A worn sticker on the license plate light assembly hints the 1302 started life in the Var department of France, and the registration sticker on the passenger side of the windshield indicates it was still registered there in 1989. Motorists were asked to remove the old sticker when fitting a new one so the Beetle was likely registered for the last time in 1989. Registration stickers were phased out nearly 15-years ago which explains why a more recent one hasn’t been affixed to the windshield.
The tires were recently changed and a look under the car reveals most rubber suspension components were replaced in the not-too-distant past. The final detail we noted is that the registration number was issued less than a year ago which likely coincidences with when the car was brought out of its decades-long slumber and put back on the road.
We did not find the owner, we’re working strictly from observations so our hypothesis could very well be wrong. Regardless, a man who approached us as we were taking pictures hinted the 1302 is the oldest car in the village and joked everyone knows when it starts because it is noticeably louder than anything else in town.