The story behind the Volkswagen Beetle in the photo

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The very old photo arrived on my device via What's App. The sender was my uncle, who discovered this image in an old photo album. The photo from 1971 shows the green Volkswagen Beetle, which my grandfather owned at the time of making the analogue print. He had driven with my grandmother and my uncle, my mother's younger brother, to Ens, to my birthplace, which you can see in the photo.

The car was my grandfather's Volkswagen Beetle number two. This Peru green VW with a Sportomatic transmission was newly registered in November 1968. My grandfather was the lucky owner, and he was just so proud of his Volkswagen. That automatic transmission was a novelty, which was introduced on the new generation of Volkswagen Beetles, which saw the light of day in 1967. It was intended to promote a sporty driving style, and for this purpose a rear axle with double CV-joints was mounted. My grandfather enjoyed driving the country's Heeren roads at brisk speeds. An improved road holding of the Beetle therefore came in handy.

Ready for adventure

I can still remember the Volkswagen Beetle, especially since my uncle drove it to 1976. My grandfather concluded a ten-year Volkswagen driving era in 1974, and was given the opportunity to order a new DAF 44. My uncle made sure that the Volkswagen Beetle remained in the family. And with his adventurers blood ensured that the Volkswagen Beetle became a true Europe traveler. The Netherlands went to Spain by plane or by car to France. My uncle regularly went on the real adventure with his best friend. First by train, later by beetle.

Fuse in Greece

The Volkswagen brought it deep into Greece. Straight through it left Yugoslavia. Across the road. On the car train, all the way to the heart of Peloponnese. The story is that the Volkswagen Beetle refused service in 1975. In the middle of Greece. No cell phone. What's App was distant future music. And a telephone booth was nowhere to be seen. Fortunately, a fuse offered relief to continue the journey. All beautiful adventures came to an end, en route back to the Netherlands symbolized by heavy weather on the German Autobahn. The windscreen wipers refused service. A string on the mechanism found its way through the right ventilation window. Manpower did the rest. The windscreen wipers ingeniously guaranteed the view of the road with a little help.

Family bond forever

That good old Volkswagen Beetle from my grandfather and my uncle holds many more secrets. In particular in the possession of my uncle, he fell prey to the joys of the exciting nightlife on the coast. The Volkswagen Beetle disappeared from the image of the family in 1976, a new Golf replaced it. But the heroic VW became one of the most important cars of my youth. The phenomenon did not let me go. Of course I rode a Beetle for years on end. And often I felt the family bond behind the wheel of my VW 1303. I felt the interdependence with my grandfather. And my uncle. The way I felt as a tiny boy in the photo.


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  1. Very recognizable. I was 17 when I bought my first beetle from the 1954 year. Will never forget that with a locking pin the contact was connected and then you could start the car with a button.

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