The people’ s car. For Love, Peace and War.

6 Feb

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The Beetle is probably the most popular car in the world. Actually, it is the most produced car of a single design platform with more than 200,000,000 models sold.

Its production lasted more than 60 years, starting in Germany in the early 30’s, when Adolf Hitler ordered the designer Ferdinand Porsche to develop “a car for everybody” and change the idea of the car as a privilege. He wanted to give a shape to an idea of a Volkswagen – ” the people’s car”, from German volks (people) and wagen (car).

The production of this car ended up in 2003 in Puebla, Mexico, being this city home to one of the biggest VolksVagen factories in the world after the german one in Woflsburg.

The Beetle has been used in so many different contexts, countless are the times it has been utilized in leisure as in movies scenes and commercials; who doesnt’ remember Herbie, featured in several Disney motion pictures starting in 1969 with Love Bug?

During the Second World War, its production was mostly aimed for military objectives and even became the symbol of the economic rebirth after the war, but at the same time it is now considered an icon for “peace and love” hippie movement during the 60’s.

There is a model called ” escape from Berlin”.   AS all of you may already know, from 13th August 1961 to 9th November 1989 a 155 kilometers wall divided East Berlin from the West. This special model with a wider coffer so to hide people  must have been very much appreciated from lovers or families divided by the wall. My innate romanticism makes me  imagine romantic scenes such as a blonde tall  girl  getting anxious seeing that  funny curved car to arrive , and that coffer to get opened and finally hug and kiss a tired out – but happy – tall and blonde, auburn-bearded guy.

The Beetle must have been a very reliable vehicle , being the car which has been most used as a Police car.

And you might not know that it won the first prize in different rallys, the one in Montecarlo in 1954 above all.

Many peculiar features charachterize this amazing car, but the fact that it is the only car able to float, it’s absolutely amazing. Probably not even his designer Porsche meant to, but must been a great satisfaction when two italian Beetle fans crossed the 7 miles of sea of the Strait of Messina that connects Sicily from the Calabrian coast. And not only in Italy, because some other brave fans reached the English coast from the Isle of Man with a Beetle, as well as in the bay of Hong Kong, in Lake Michigan and the Strait of Singapore.

The Beetle has thousands and thousands of passionates and fans who prefer to call this iconic car differently in their country. Please find hereby some, but it would be great if any of you reader could add any other one commenting below!

  • Maggiolino or Maggiolone in Italy
  • Beetle or Bug in United Kingdom and United States
  • Vocho or Sedan in Mexico
  • Escarabajo in Spain
  • Bubbla in Sweden
  • Fusca in Brazil
  • Carosca in Portugal
  • Kever in Belgium and Netherlands
  • Käfer in Germany, Switzerland and Austria
  • Coccinelle in France
  • Buba in the ex Jugoslavia

If in Europe it is more a vintage object just used sometimes to have a nostalgic ride, or used to attend the many Beetle gatherings across the continent, in Southamerica it is absolutely normal to use it on a daily basis as a mean of transport. I saw many of them during my trip to Argentina, but I am sure that I saw more Vochos in Mexico in a week than in all my life. Red, fuchsia, yellow, spotted or with the typical Mexico city taxi colors: golden and red. Zipping through the busy Mexico City avenues or parked in a tranquil colonial street in Chiapas and Oaxaca. Once in Oaxaca city I saw 3 beetles in a row: one was red, the second white and the last one green: the tricolours of the two flags of my current favourite countries in the world: my native Italy and my adored Mexico.

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