I'm not a car enthusiast. I've told my husband and sons, who are car enthusiasts, that as long as I have something reliable to get me from Point A to Point B, I'm happy. (I also think the prices car dealers charge these days for a new car are beyond outrageous, but that's a soapbox for another day.)
But if I were given the opportunity to choose any car in the world, I would choose a red vintage Volkswagen Beetle, also known as a VW Bug.
Why, you ask?
When I was a little girl, our family had a tan VW Bug. (Daddy would have never bought a red car!) Mom drove us five kids around town in it, going to school, cub scouts, church, and half-day Kindergarten for me. Sadly, a drunk driver rear-ended our little Bug one afternoon while Mom and I waited to turn onto our street. Mom suffered a broken back and a broken neck, but I only had a concussion since I'd been laying down in the backseat pouting about something instead of standing in the front seat, which was my usual position. Mercifully, Mom recovered after many long months, but our VW Bug was totaled.
Because I have such happy memories of our Bug, imagine how horrified I was when I learned that the person I had to thank for my cute little dream car was none other than the evil Adolph Hitler.
Back in 1930s Germany, Adolph Hitler gained more power every day it seemed. Proud of Germany's new infrastructure, which included many highways, Hitler wanted German citizens to have an economical vehicle so they could enjoy the country he was creating. In 1934, he ordered car designer Ferdinand Porsche to begin work on the Volkswagen, which is German for "people's car." The Spanish War of 1936-1938 shifted production resources to military needs, so it wasn't until the war ended that Porsche and his team could get back to their work developing the iconic design of the Bug (Kafer in German).
|Early model of the VW Bug|
One of the recognizable hallmarks of the Bug is its unique shape. Yet its rounded body wasn't designed for looks but for strength. A curved piece of metal has more strength than a flat piece. Another notable difference from other vehicles is the placement of the air-cooled engine in the back of the car. Although less powerful than other cars in its class, the VW Bug's engine was simple, economical, and easy to repair. Air-cooled engines don't have water pumps, thermostats, hoses, or a radiator, and the dry weight of an air-cooled engine is much lighter than a comparable water-cooled engine.
When the 15,007,034th car rolled off the line at Wolfsburg in 1972, the Volkswagen Beetle surpassed the Ford Model T as the longest-running and most-manufactured car in history. During the original Beetle's 65-year production run, more than 21 million were built world-wide. Not bad for a cute little Bug, eh?
I'm currently working on a new historical time-slip novel set in the 1940s and 1970s. Can you guess what kind of car my heroine drives? 😎
Your turn! If you could choose any car to drive, what would it be?
UNDER THE TULIP TREE
*2021 Christy Awards Finalist*
Sixteen-year-old Lorena Leland’s dreams of a rich and fulfilling life as a writer are dashed when the stock market crashes in 1929. Seven years into the Great Depression, Rena accepts a position interviewing former slaves for the Federal Writers’ Project. There, she meets Frankie Washington, a 101-year-old woman whose honest yet tragic past captivates Rena. Frankie’s story challenges Rena’s preconceptions about slavery, but it also connects the two women whose lives are otherwise separated by age, race, and circumstances. Will this bond of respect, admiration, and friendship be broken by a revelation neither woman sees coming?
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