Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Country Squirt—1960 VW Bug

Repost from February 20

I wrote this in the first week of my blog last February. I was looking back at early posts tonight, and it made me smile so I thought I'd repost. 

R E M E M B R A N C  E — Yes, Country Squirt, since it was so much smaller than a real Country Squire. Vintage polaroid of a 1960-61 Bug. My uncle got a great deal on it, but my father still had to buy it for him. I think it was all of  $250 in the late '60s. It was originally solid Prairie Beige. The 6v headlights were so feeble, that on a few night drives we actually stopped and got out to look and see if they were working. It was pretty beat; it probably had been around the block a few thousand times. 

I was enthralled with it's "importness" in a time when American cars ruled the day. There was a 'hidden' compartment under the passenger's toeboard. You lifted back the carpet, and then there was a metal cover with a thumbhole to lift it out. There was enough room to keep a small camera out of sight, but I don't remember ever using it. There was also a  the little lever on the floor that was flipped from one side to another when the car started to run out of gas. There was no gas gauge on early VWs! Instead there was an auxiliary tank of about a gallon that you could switch over to when the main tank ran dry via that little floor lever. Then you knew you had to get to a gas station to fill the main tank again. Interesting Teutonic logic there!

After a few months I was told I could paint it or do whatever I wanted to it. I was about 11 or 12 years old. I applied 'American Oak' contact paper on the sides, hood and trunk, and painted the fenders black, in the style of an old woody wagon. Notice the sheen all over the car? I brushed on high gloss marine varnish on the entire car when i was done. It took about a week to dry, lol. I think we had it for all of a year. There were always 2 or more good new or near-new cars and a few old wrecks to play with, lol.


  1. That's a classic, Casey. OMG I remember that lever to access the spare fuel. Secret hiding spaces? that's German ingenuity.

    When I was going to summer school in Lausanne, Switzerland the summer of '55 we had a VW to drive. I can't remember where it came from, I don't think it was a Hertz rental, lol. But we thought it was a great car. Gad, we had fun that summer.

  2. "Fun" was the operative word with that little Beetle for me. I loved all of our cars of course, but every trip in the little German car was fun. It sounded fun, it rode like a little circus car, it smelled different than our domestic cars, it was just a fun ride, well-used as it was.