Friday Lens Affair 132

Retro Volkswagen Beetle, Sucre, Bolivia, South America

Today I’m featuring a photography of retro Volkswagen Beetle taken by Kiara Gallop from Gallop Around The Globe Blog.

Kiara has got a penchant for the quirky and unusual, an unhealthy obsession with cacti, and a weakness for monkeys, reptiles and cats.

When I have chosen this picture she told me: “I’m afraid there’s not much of a story behind this photo, I just like photographing Beetles!”

For me, it is more than enough for a story! I have an OCD and hen I find other people who are obsessed with some stuff I just feel a connection ha ha ha

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Picture Story: Retro Volkswagen Beetle 

I don’t know what it is about the retro Volkswagen Beetle. I’m not an automobile fanatic or a classic car nerd (hell, I don’t even drive) but I appreciate the aesthetics of a good vehicle design.

Beetles look fun, honest, straight-talking, down-to-earth, and quirky, and they stand out from the crowd – everything I strive to be real!

Wherever I go on my travels there will always be a challenge set down between myself and the person with whom I’m travelling, regarding who can spot the first Beetle.

As Beetles were manufactured in Brazil for many years, there are still plenty of them plying the streets of South America. It’s not so much of a throwaway society over there as it is in Europe.

People still fix old cars when they’re broken instead of replacing them with a newer model, so – unlike the classic Beetles in the UK (many of which are solely kept for shows) – people in South America still drive around in them and use them as their primary mode of transport.

That doesn’t mean that they don’t like customising them and looking after their appearance, though. The little black and red model were one of the many I spotted in Sucre, Bolivia.

It was parked on one of the main roads which led from the centre of the city up to Plaza Recoleta, the location of a stunning viewpoint, lively Plaza, a couple of churches and of one of the best museums in Sucre – the museum of Indigenous Art.

The other newer-looking model was parked on one of the backstreets of Potosi (also Bolivia) near to our hostel. Potosi is most famous for its mines, which are still in use today, and it’s possible to book tours to get a first-hand experience of what life as a miner is actually like.

However, Potosi also has a very attractive historical centre, with a wealth of colonial architecture to marvel at and photograph. That’s exactly what I was doing when I spotted this Beetle.

The Volkswagen Beetle, officially the Volkswagen Type 1, informally in German the Käfer (literally “beetle”), in parts of the English-speaking world the Bug, and known by many other nicknames in other languages—is a two-door, rear-engine economy car, intended for five passengers, that was manufactured and marketed by German automaker Volkswagen (VW) from 1938 until 2003.

In the 1999 Car of the Century competition, to determine the world’s most influential car in the 20th century, the Type 1 came fourth, after the Ford Model T, the Mini, and the Citroën DS.

Brazilian assembly of the Beetle, where it is called “Fusca“, started in 1953, with parts imported from Germany.

By the mid-sixties, the cars had 99.93% Brazilian parts content, with four German parts of a combined value of about one US dollar still being imported.

Volkswagen do Brasil engaged in some string pulling in the early sixties when a law requiring taxis to have four doors and five seats was being considered.

After proving that the average taxi fare only carried 1.8 passengers and an overall saving of twenty percent for a smaller two-door car, the Brazilian government relented and the law never entered the books.

The Fusca proceeded to have a long career as a taxi in urban Brazil.

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6 thoughts on “Friday Lens Affair 132

  1. Michael

    Very nice . The beetle is a retro favorite

  2. Rekha Rajan

    I also love the Beetle. Unfortunately it took a long while to come to India and when it did they just priced themselves out of my reach. Having said that…nobody can stop me from photographing a Beetle. :-)
    Rekha Rajan recently posted…Most visited tourist attractions of the WorldMy Profile

  3. Claudia

    Interesting story. I noticed when I was in Colombia that Renault 4 were ALL OVER and started taking pictures of them, because I thought it was funny. Then, I watched a documentary that explained Colombians’ obsession with that car :)

    • What was the title of this documentary?

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