Where Have All The VW's Gone?
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Where Have All The VW's' Gone?
by
Dave Clingman

While I was growing up in the 1960's and 70's, Volkswagen beetles (or VW bugs) were a popular automobile.  Also popular were the VW vans.  My first "car", in fact, was a vW Van, and I bought another several years later for use as a church bus.  I had wondered many times through the intervening years where all the VW bugs had gone.  Had they all simply given up the ghost and died, ending up in wrecking yards?  Knowing how well built they were, I supposed it was more likely that they'd all succumbed to crashes or rust.

Since arriving in Guadalajara, I have seen literally dozens of those old bugs.  Maybe more than a hundred by now.  I see three or four (or more) most everyday I drive anywhere.  They are usually traveling at good speeds, too, and every single one of them looks to be in prime condition.  People here in GDL certainly take care of their cars.

As a side note, I've never visited a city where the cars are so clean.  Since we arrived here one month ago, we've had our car washed twice, not counting the good rinse it received with one very strong nightly rain.  Back in California, if I had it washed once a year, I was doing good.

It's easy here to have your car washed, and for a low price.  When you park most anywhere, there is someone who will keep an eye on your car for you.  When you return to your car, you give him or her a couple pesos (presently about fifteen USA cents).  When you arrive, the person will stop traffic and direct you into the parking spot, very helpful when it is tight between the car in front and behind you.  When you get out of the car, they will offer to wash your car while you are gone.  When you return, your car looks great.  Seriously, of all the times I had my car washed back in California, it never looked as good as it looks here.  You pay the person twenty or thirty pesos more or less (presently about $1.50 or $2.25 USA).  Such a deal!

Back to the VW's.

As I was saying, the bugs here are all kept in good condition.  In passing them I never see a lick of rust anywhere.  Of course, if I were to examine one more closely, I might find some.  After all, these cars are over forty years old.  The VW bugs all seem to run well, too.  I've only seen one going slow, and that was up a steep hill.  I remember my first VW van went rather slowly up hills.  In fact, I remember that the top speed for my van (not in the best condition at the time) on a level road was about 55 miles per hour (about 90 kilometers per hour).  {Out on the desert during one long boring drive, my brother and I would place a book on the gas peddle as a primitive cruise control, but don't tell anyone.}

Following are a few photos of Volkswagen beetles or bugs here in GDL.
 

Volkswagen VW in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Volkswagen VW in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Volkswagen VW in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
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