Advances shunned

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Last updated on August 8th, 2017 at 02:44 pm

Research-minded lefty Rex Ringschott states quite categorically:

A 40-year-old VW Beetle produces far fewer pollutants per kilometre than a modern Ferrari.

Rex—I’m guessing he isn’t a car guy, or a guy who pays much attention to legislative and technical change—bases his finding on this simple observation: a 1966 VW Beetle uses less fuel than a 2006 Ferrari. Less fuel used, less pollutants produced; why, it’s just that obvious!

We could bat Rex around for hours with complex talk of catalytic converters, fuel injection, combustion chamber improvements, variable valve timing, and other technological advances that make modern fast cars cleaner than slow old cars, but it’s easier to point out that in 1977 Volkswagen stopped selling the Beetle in America because it didn’t meet then-current US emissions standards.

That was nearly 30 years ago. Those standards have since become massively more strict, especially in California—where you can buy a Ferrari today. You think ’66 Beetles are clean, Rex? Try selling them as a new model in Los Angeles. Should be quite a market, considering how non-polluting they are.

Posted by Tim B. on 12/27/2006 at 09:54 AM
    1. Ringschott?  As in “rings shot”?  Sounds exactly like a 40 year old Beetle.

      Posted by Diggs on 2006 12 27 at 10:36 AM • permalink


    1. Jeez, Tim, using facts and logic to disprove Rex’s personal opinion assertion?

      I woulda thunk you’d already figured out that nothing can penetrate the fantasy world of the lefie/envirotard.

      Well, maybe a multi-megaton nuclear warhead would do the trick.  But that does seem a little extreme.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 12 27 at 10:41 AM • permalink


    1. Ringschott belongs to a church cult—one with its own corpus of concocted myths, parables and ‘truths’—an all encompassing cosmology that sees all human activity not directed by the state as inherently evil, and makes any weather condition a by-product of global warming climate change.

      Posted by cosmo on 2006 12 27 at 10:48 AM • permalink


    1. Looks sadly at post-Christmas bank balance.

      No, Tim, I can’t buy a Ferrari in California, today. Or anywhere else. On any other day.

      Posted by paco on 2006 12 27 at 10:51 AM • permalink


    1. #2.
      Not extreme, TRJ, just a bit more polluting.About that VW, as my grandpa used to say: “they don’t make ‘em like that anymore.”

      Posted by ElectronPower on 2006 12 27 at 10:52 AM • permalink


    1. Wonder if we could get any of those ex-Moonie de-programmers out of retirement to go to work on people like this . . .

      Posted by cosmo on 2006 12 27 at 10:54 AM • permalink


    1. I’ve always wondered if that’s his real name.

      Posted by murph on 2006 12 27 at 11:02 AM • permalink


    1. At least 20 years ago, Patrick Bedard (in Car & Driver) pointed out a similar lack of comprehension at The New York Times on this subject.

      Correcting the Times, and anticipating the anti-SUV fetish, and he noted that all highway vehicles must meet the same grams-per-mile standards.

      Heavier cars burn more fuel per mile, and this does ramp up the engineering challenge.

      However, the ingenuity needed to make a Ford Excursion emit no more NOx than a Festiva can often be used to make the Festiva even cleaner-burning than current standards.

      Sum: SUVs help make the world greener.

      Greenies, however, just want to force everyone into a hairshirt regardless of the facts.

      Posted by Rittenhouse on 2006 12 27 at 11:32 AM • permalink


    1. It’s not that the old Beetle didn’t meet the pollution requirements, it’s that the full weight of German engineering couldn’t make it meet the requirements.

      It was still made and sold for many years in those Kyoto-loving countries, Mexico and Brasil.

      Rex’s new surname: Rimshot

      Posted by Harry Bergeron on 2006 12 27 at 11:35 AM • permalink


    1. Isn’t the trick here whether one counts CO2 as a “pollutant”?

      Posted by K. Bowman on 2006 12 27 at 11:43 AM • permalink


    1. About that VW, as my grandpa used to say: “they don’t make ‘em like that anymore.”

      I know.  My grandfather bought one of the first in his area, soon after they came out in the US, much to the derision of his neighbors.  OTOH, he and Grandma drove some version of The Bug until they stopped selling them in the US.

      I should note that Grandpa was a sucessful farmer and businessman, and no fool.  He knew how to spend a dollar, he did.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 12 27 at 12:01 PM • permalink


    1. 7: I’ve always wondered if that’s his real name.

      Rex Ringshot. It does sound rather like it ought to be paired with someone named, say, Vanessa Bootie in one of those movies.

      Posted by paco on 2006 12 27 at 12:08 PM • permalink


    1. Haw! Just read the article behind the link, and saw this brain spasm: “If you don’t know of Mr. Monbiot he appears to be a very impressive fellow. He has led a very exciting life,  having received a United Nations award from Nelson Mandela, something which Mr. Blair is yet to achieve, and having been pronounced clinically dead, something which Mr. Blair is also yet to achieve.”

      So, Tim, you’re not a zombie who’s been included on the rolls of the Global 500? Strangely, this just doesn’t disappoint me. Moonbot should be glad it wasn’t Winnie Mandela who hung something around his neck.

      Posted by paco on 2006 12 27 at 12:42 PM • permalink


    1. Does Herr Ringschott have a real name?

      Posted by Wimpy Canadian on 2006 12 27 at 12:42 PM • permalink


    1. having received a United Nations award from Nelson Mandela, something which Mr. Blair is yet to achieve, and having been pronounced clinically dead, something which Mr. Blair is also yet to achieve.”

      He says this like it’s a bad thing.

      Was Rex around in 1966?  I was.  My cousin had a Beetle, and not only did they all belch the worst-smelling black smoke, they sounded like tractors.  And when she bumped it into another car, it almost killed her because there was absolutely nothing in the front end to protect her.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2006 12 27 at 01:08 PM • permalink


    1. And so, and after much scientific sleuthing we are reluctantly forced toward the inevitable conclusion that – Blair is an idiot.

      On the other hand, after very little sleuthing – the author having helpfully provided abundant evidence in advance – I deduce, with no reluctance at all, that Mr. Ring-Tailed Bandicoot is an asshat.

      Posted by paco on 2006 12 27 at 01:31 PM • permalink


    1. The 66 Beetle had advanced safety features, like seatbelts and soft knobs (not counting the Blaupunkt AM/FM/Shortwave radio), and dual brake systems, both of which ran out of fluid at once.

      It also still had the wing vent window, which is what makes a car liveable.

      Posted by rhhardin on 2006 12 27 at 01:37 PM • permalink


    1. Knowledge of cars and belief in global warming are mutually exclusive.

      OT: Hey, yojimbo and all the Canuckleheads and other hockey fans: be sure to go to and vote for the All-Star team. And select journeyman defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick as a write-in. It’s a funny “vote-for-Pedro” thing some Canucks fans started, and it’s working. Join the fun!

      Posted by Dave S. on 2006 12 27 at 01:42 PM • permalink


    1. Those Beetles also generally had filthy hippies in them, and Ferraris rarely do.

      Oh, sure, you might find a Paris Hilton in a Ferrari, but there’s Lysol for that eventuality.

      Posted by ushie on 2006 12 27 at 01:45 PM • permalink


    1. In 11th grade, I had to take a high school shop class.  We took apart a VW Beetle and could not quite get it back together again.

      Posted by Room 237 on 2006 12 27 at 02:03 PM • permalink


    1. You want to start a mini bouhaha, just mention the filth that those cute little scooters put out.

      Scooter Polluters

      Check out the comment thread for numbers on grams of CO2 per Kilometer driven for various models.

      I would be very curious to see the prius in grams per klick highway driving, where their advantages over gas engines all but disappear.

      Posted by moptop on 2006 12 27 at 02:08 PM • permalink


    1. A friend in college had a Beetle.  Well, two friends, come to think of it.  One each, totaling, reading from left to right, two Beetles.

      Cured me of any incipient starry eyed admiration for the little Nazi deathmobiles.  Anyone living in Southern California must have noted the plethora of repair shops that specialized exclusively in rebuilding and replacing Beetle engines.  You generally burned out the engine at about the same time it was due for an oil change, had the pregnant roller skate towed in, they yanked the old one, popped in a rebuilt one, and off you went for the next five thousand miles or so.

      One friend went through four engines in about two years.  The saddest thing was, he seldom could afford the same displacement so he regressed from 1500cc down to, I believe, 1300cc, so the never stellar performance became more anemic with each change.

      Oh yeah, and the heater was actually a smokescreen, like some sort of low budget James Bondmobile.  Although the smoke always went inside the car through the heat vents.

      The sunroof, which did have the benefit of permitting one to play Rommel, somehow stored water somewhere so a week after a rain it would dump a pint down your neck during a turn.  After the first couple times you got to expect it and didn’t flinch, careening into oncoming traffic (not a good idea, since there was nothing up front to provide protection except a gas tank).  Also it took about a zillion (rough estimate) cranks to open or close the sunroof, so by the time it was open you probably needed to close it again.

      The worst thing was this particular Beetle was a step up – my friend replaced a Morris Minor with it.

      Posted by Steve Skubinna on 2006 12 27 at 02:52 PM • permalink


    1. Actually, given the fact that the 40 year old Bug will be in the process of being pushed down the street because the bloody thing won’t start (I’ve owned ‘em, I still have the frostbitten toes and fingers from trying to drive the f’ing heaterless POS during the winter.  The only question is will the CO2 being emitted by the humans huffing and puffing be less than that emitted by the F150s driving by laughing at the hairy legged women pushing it….

      Posted by Cliff on 2006 12 27 at 02:53 PM • permalink


    1. #22: Geez, Steve, that reads like Raymond Chandler! Good stuff!

      Posted by paco on 2006 12 27 at 02:58 PM • permalink


    1. #4 paco

      Looks sadly at post-Christmas bank balance.

      No, Tim, I can’t buy a Ferrari in California, today. Or anywhere else. On any other day.

      What, the PACO Industries Accounting Department sent word up that the IRS wouldn’t let you right it off as a business expense? Damn, that’s gotta hurt.

      Posted by Spiny Norman on 2006 12 27 at 03:08 PM • permalink


    1. *write it off*
      Why yes, Preview IS my friend, why do you ask?

      Posted by Spiny Norman on 2006 12 27 at 03:09 PM • permalink


    1. #25: What, the PACO Industries Accounting Department sent word up that the IRS wouldn’t let you write it off as a business expense?

      Are you kiddin’? The feds are still harassing me over that huge deduction for medicinal mead.

      Posted by paco on 2006 12 27 at 03:21 PM • permalink


    1. Rex assumes not only that CO2 is a pollutant, but that all pollutants are equal. Hence the more fuel efficient a car the less pollution, no matter what noxious chemicals may or may not be coming out of the exhaust pipe.

      Using Rex’s analysis, catalytic converters cause pollution because cars are less fuel efficient when equipped with them. So one reason the ‘66 Beetle “produces far fewer pollutants per kilometre than a modern Ferrari,” is that the Ferrari is equipped with one of them new-fangled, pollution-causing catalytic converters.

      Save the Earth! Ban catalytic converters!

      Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 2006 12 27 at 03:30 PM • permalink


    1. Are you kiddin’? The feds are still harassing me over that huge deduction for medicinal mead.

      I guess they figure getting ripped off by the Sumerians in the currency exchange isn’t a chargable expense…

      Posted by Spiny Norman on 2006 12 27 at 03:32 PM • permalink


    1. Had one for 20 years. Non-filthy hippy.

      Best book to buy:

      [The url was breaking the page so it has been in turn broken. Cut and paste all the parts into your browser address field. Mojo, in the future, please either post a proper link or simply name the book and tell people to search for it on The Management.]
      Posted by mojo on 2006 12 27 at 04:08 PM • permalink


    1. Re #22, Steve, the Beetle was a cheap car, period.  You had to drive it as such, especially since it had an air cooled engine, an “innovation” at that time (and I use the term “innovation” with serious reservation).  Drive it like a regular car, let alone like a hot rod, and it fell to pieces in a heartbeat.

      My grandparents drove their Bug around town, and an occasional trip to visit relatives.  If they ever went above 50 MPH, I would be very surprised.

      I suspect that the real demise of The Bug was the assumption by German engineers that all Americans drove like my grandparents.

      Now, my older brother had a Bug in high school, and no one that knows him would ever state that my brother ever drove with any sort of restraint in his entire life.

      That particular Bug (bought second hand) stayed with him for 3 years or so, and then was junked.  I recall several trips to the VW dealership, and maybe one engine replacement.  ‘Nuff said.

      The Bug was a cheap car to drive because it was a cheap car….period.

      But Rebecca did remind me how noisy those things were, even with a muffler.  My dad would borrow the Bug for work sometimes.  Once, the muffler had fallen off, and my brother was a tad lazy in replacing it.

      When Dad drove it to work, sans muffler, heading down the interstate at 55 MPH, he had a state patrolman pull along side of him, point at the rear of the Bug, and shake his head in disgust at the noise.

      Dad thought that was hilarious.  The brother less so…..the muffler was promptly replaced.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 12 27 at 04:27 PM • permalink


    1. Ah, the VW bug, them was the days.  Picked up the new 1961 at the Wolfsberg plant and drove it to Bremerhaven for its boat trip back to Brooklyn Navy.  Six volt system (1200cc?), in Duluth (at the western pointy end of Lake Superior).  Reliably started at -20F, though the frozen wheel and the ditto frozen tire flat spots made the first 1/2 mile or so interesting.  The air heater was underpowered for that climate, so many put in gasoline heaters, installed in the front trunk (bonnet).  Sold it in ‘66 for $50US more than I paid for it.  Got a new ‘66 bug (12 volt, 1500cc?) for more of the same.  Later a used ‘68 Transporter (van), then a new ‘72 1200 station wagon which I drove 10 years and salvaged it out.  Biggest problem with all of them was body rust, climate again.  I thought the bug a fun car to drive, something like a carnival ‘dodge-em’ car.

      Posted by Gerry on 2006 12 27 at 04:34 PM • permalink


    1. Ah the VW beetle muffler. What a feat of engineering that was.  I wonder if that percentage of the value of the muffler to the total value of the car has ever been equaled.

      Posted by moptop on 2006 12 27 at 04:42 PM • permalink


    1. So now we know why the Sundarbans disappeared 20 years ago, to hide from the attacking VW Beetles.

      Posted by Room 237 on 2006 12 27 at 05:10 PM • permalink


    1. But after all – – isn’t the pertinent question which car emits more pollutants than a pig fart or cow pile?

      Posted by John Fembup on 2006 12 27 at 05:42 PM • permalink


    1. Basically they want us all to go back much further than the ‘60s. But my horse & buggy puts out even MORE emissions. And the peat fire in my cave is highly inefficient.

      Posted by SoberHT on 2006 12 27 at 05:43 PM • permalink


    1. My then girlfriend (now wife) had a late 60s Beetle – her first (and only) car.

      For a 1500cc engine, even in those days, the fuel consumption was appalling – 23 mpg at best.

      The windscreen washers were operated by air-pressure – from the spare tire. A deeply flawed system.

      The battery under the rear seat ate out the floorpan.

      Because the cabin air was warmed off the exhaust there were regular (albeit infrequent) episodes of carbon monoxide poisoning when the system failed and exhaust gas leaked into the heater manifold.

      Still, in the early days I think Dunkerton and Large rallied a Beetle over the west and won everything hands down. Might have had a Porsche engine however.

      Posted by walterplinge on 2006 12 27 at 05:47 PM • permalink


    1. The first VeeDubBug I ever saw was owned by a bloke who swore that it was impossible to roll them as long as you used full throttle throughout a turn.
      He did a premature rolling tangential exit off Perth’s causeway roundabout on three occasions before he stopped claiming this feature for his battered bug.
      Me and my dad did some motor-mechanic work on them occasionally.  Minor adjustments to the engine were easily performed provided you first removed the engine from the car.
      Early models had an inadequate 6V battery. Not many people knew about this because the battery was so well-hidden that few owners ever laid eyes on it.

      Posted by Skeeter on 2006 12 27 at 05:52 PM • permalink


    1. O/T – ABC stunned and surprised:

      Drought a result of natural causes, says researcher


      Posted by Ian Deans on 2006 12 27 at 05:59 PM • permalink


    1. #33   I managed to remove the muffler on my 1964 VW1500 wagon without dropping the motor out. I deserved a medal for that (Iron Cross 1st class)

      Replaced the original muffler with extractors to get rid of the chaff cutter effect. It sounded like an MG-B.

      Posted by Spag_oz on 2006 12 27 at 06:34 PM • permalink


    1. #31, JeffS – My friend drove it daily (well, when it was drivable) from Chula Vista to UCSD, probably about thirty miles each way on I-5 – back in the 70mph days.  For whatever reason it generally blew up at the north end of the trip, and I’d get a frantic phone call, once to the effect “Steve!  My damn car’s making cartoon noises!”  He described them, and I correctly diagnosed a broken piston rod.  One thing about that car – it was easy to diagnose over the phone.

      The air cooled engine was designed so the car could be parked outdoors and not freeze up, and all the good Germans could reliably commute to their day jobs at Krupp or Auschewitz.  As you note, the “People’s Car” was built cheap, for people who couldn’t afford a regular car (such as German proles or American hippies).

      And paco, thanks.  Discussing the Beetle always encourages me to be terse… it certainly isn’t a Hemingway topic:

      “It is good to drive a Beetle,” the old man said.  “But it is best to drive with honor and grace.”

      Posted by Steve Skubinna on 2006 12 27 at 06:44 PM • permalink


    1. Heh!  Steve, I agree that the VW was easy to diagnose… few parts, it was hard to go wrong.

      Funny thing……Dad kept a VW bus of one sort or another in the family until all the kids were gone, and then he dumped the bus for a VW Rabbit.

      He liked the carrying capacity, you see, but hated that air cooled engine.  With a passion.  Oh, but was he happy to be rid of that!

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 12 27 at 06:56 PM • permalink


    1. #28

      Well for those terrified of global warming, catalytic converters are very evil.

      After all they convert those nice gases like carbon monoxide and various hydrocarbons into the evil CO2.

      Posted by sam on 2006 12 27 at 06:57 PM • permalink


    1. But Tim, don’t you realize that the VW beetle’s standard-issue peace symbol decals and dolphin-leadlight transparencies and “Magic Happens” bumper stickers all significantly reduce the moral badness of emissions in a way that your so-called catalytic converters can only dream of?

      Posted by cuckoo on 2006 12 27 at 07:35 PM • permalink


    1. Anyone else noticed that fearless Rex is zapping comments critical of thesis?

      I posted a brief one noting that Rex is nong and pointing out, correctly, that a 100cc lawnmower emits more pollutants than a two-litre sedan travelling 100 miles, if the lawnmower is left running for the same period of time.

      Comment up. Comment now gone.

      Ken Parish was a grumpy old bastard, but Troppo was more than a soggy biscuits fest when he ran the show.

      Posted by Phranger on 2006 12 27 at 07:54 PM • permalink


    1. I owned a 1962 VW not long after it was built. It’s fuel economy was, by today’s standards, appalling. Rex quotes 10 l/km, which sounds about right. That old air cooled engine pumped out as much unburnt petrol as burnt fuel. I can get twice as far on a litre in my 2002 VW.

      Not a criticism of the Beetle. That’s what cars were like in the 1960s. But if we were all running around in VW Beetles today the smog would be lethal.

      Posted by Contrail on 2006 12 27 at 08:11 PM • permalink


    1. The old saying “he would not know shit from clay” springs to mind.

      Posted by Howzat on 2006 12 27 at 08:25 PM • permalink


    1. The real laugher is that Ringschott titled his post “Ancient VW Beetle confounds modern faith based science”, intending it as a shot at Tim…it takes an exceptionally dumb person to produce unintentional irony like that.

      I guess considering facts to be “faith based science” is coming from the same glowbull warmining mindset that considers “skeptic” to be a pejorative term.

      Posted by PW on 2006 12 27 at 08:29 PM • permalink


    1. #38 I remember the dreaded torsion bar tuck-in. It was the cause of many sudden roll-overs particularly if a rear wheel dropped off the bitumen and into a pot hole.

      VW eventually remedied the problem by fitting cross axle compensating springs (a la Mercedes). They also dumped the stupid 6 volt system. (ever had to chase down 6 volt bulbs for Lucas spotties?) A fuel guage finally appeared. Grrr… I hated that reserve fuel floor lever & the wooden dip stick I kept to check the fuel level.

      Posted by Spag_oz on 2006 12 27 at 09:09 PM • permalink


    1. time for my anti-social cigarette break- now where did i leave that tinderbox?

      Posted by eeniemeenie on 2006 12 27 at 09:46 PM • permalink


    1. Oh fuck, time to garage my Ferrari.

      Posted by flying pigs over mecca on 2006 12 27 at 10:02 PM • permalink


    1. wow #50, I am impressed you have evolved as far as the tinder box.  I am still rubbing to sticks together

      Posted by missred on 2006 12 27 at 10:03 PM • permalink


    1. We hillbillies used to refer to VW Beetles as “Hitlers Revenge” up h’yar.

      Now I think of them more as mobile speedbumps.

      Posted by Habib on 2006 12 27 at 10:32 PM • permalink


    1. BTW, you can still buy the horrors new in Mexico and Brazil- Mexico City is well known for it’s crystal clear mountain zephyrs*.

      *And I’d rather have a Mk2 Zephyr than a bloody Veedub.

      (National Lamppon had a rather good parody of the old Beetle ad which emphasised their build quality, using the example that some have floated when driven in the drink; the banner over the ad read “If Ted Kennedy had’ve been driving a VW, he’d be president today”.
      Titter titter.

      Posted by Habib on 2006 12 27 at 10:36 PM • permalink


    1. Mojo, sorry about your link, but Andrea knows best. For those who don’t know it, the title was How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual for the Compleat Idiot. It was printed on slick, grease-proof paper, and bound with one of those spiral-spring things.

      I remember the book quite well, particularly the bit about carburetors:

      “Carburetor” is a French word meaning “leave it alone.”

      Possibly the most useful advice in the book was on torquing the nuts that secured the rear brake drums: “Tighten the nut hand tight. With an old screwdriver and a hammer, hit one corner of the nut until it breaks off. This is exactly 130 foot-pounds of torque.”

      Back in the days of dune buggies, my weekend job was field-stripping Volkswagens preparatory to the application of the latest in fiberglass atrocities. Half an hour, Bug to bits. #40, that’s quite an accomplishment, but I don’t respect you for it. Betcha I could have dropped the motor, replaced the muffler, and had the motor back in before you were done.

      #54, Sadly, No! New Bugs are no longer built in Mexico; they don’t even meet Mexican standards any more. Their replacement is the Nissan Tsuru, a Sentra with hard-plastic upholstery, manual window winders, and a four-speed transmission that will make you recall the VW shifter as a marvel of precision.


      Posted by Ric Locke on 2006 12 27 at 11:26 PM • permalink


    1. RE #54:  Behold, the National Lampoon’s Kennedy/VW ad!

      Maybe Rex longs for a time machine so that he can go back and save Jabba The Hut from himself, thereby seating a Kindler, Gentler President™?

      Omigawd!!  Who has the Tardis keys!!?!?!??!

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 12 27 at 11:44 PM • permalink


    1. #55   Betcha I could have dropped the motor, replaced the muffler, and had the motor back in before you were done.
      Your right. But then it was my first attack on the muffler and I didn’t have enough money those days to buy a decent hydraulic jack or axle stands. Nevertheless I eventually learned a lot of the shortcuts and back in the 70s a mate and I could pop the engine from his split screen Kombie in about 10 minutes using a builders plank, some bricks and 2 spare tyres. That was done in one of those cobblestoned mews-de-sacs in South Kensington UK.

      Posted by Spag_oz on 2006 12 27 at 11:53 PM • permalink


    1. My father, the ex-Marine, regarded the ‘air-cooled’ Volkswagen engine the same way he viewed the ‘air-cooled’ .30 cal machine gun (I think it was the .50 that was water-cooled)in WWII.  He said both had a nasty tendency to quit working from overheating just when you needed them most.

      Just after I got out of high school, a new female teacher (a real hottie, too bad she was married to another new teacher) broke both legs in a Bug by rear-ending another car at less than 30MPH.

      And I still remember trying to jump-start a guy’s Bug in sub-zero weather back in my college days.  He had exactly no idea where the damn battery was.  I finally found it (under the back seat, of course) by tracing cables and guess where the damn thing had to be.  I still think it’s the dumbest idea ever actually put into practice by German engineers.

      Posted by JorgXMcKie on 2006 12 28 at 12:01 AM • permalink


    1. …dumbest idea ever actually put into practice by German engineers…

      No, that would be the Trabant. 683cc of air-cooled, two-stroke goodness, with a body made (for all practical purposes) of papier-maché.

      #57 Good on yer. I must confess, I’ve never fixed very many of the things. Mostly I spent my days trashing them.

      Which reminds me… In 1972 Ralph Nader published Small—On Safety: The Designed-In Dangers of the Volkswagen. Unlike the Corvair, whose designers had corrected all the defects Nader identified by the time the book came out in ‘65, the Volkswagen was still being built the same way. The book sank like a stone, and most people don’t remember it existed; too many of the Lefties anxious to trash American industry had sent their daughters off to Bryn Mawr in Bugs, and didn’t want to hear it. That was my introduction to the generosity, patriotism, and intellectual consistency of the Left. They haven’t got better, to my observations.


      Posted by Ric Locke on 2006 12 28 at 12:30 AM • permalink


    1. I was sitting at home some years ago looking out the window into the parkland next to the house past which the main road through the suburb ran.

      Up the hill comes some bloke in an old Beetle. Down the off camber, curved hill comes a bloke in an old EJ Holden sedan, which he lost control of, careening across the median strip to hit the VW nearly head on, pushing it back into the park some 100 feet. The VW promptly exploded into a massive fireball.

      I ran out of the house to help but the heat of the fire was too great. The driver’s hands were both still fused to the steering wheel. A shocking sight. I won’t describe the clean up process.

      Chap in the Holden, which had landed on its roof, crawled out the window with hardly a scratch. When I went over to see how he was he was being comforted by the slightly mad lady that lived across the street. He was saying over and over that he’d killed somebody and she was helping enormously by repeatedly replying, “Yes you have. Yes you have.”

      I don’t care how cheap they are to buy or run you can keep your Beetles for yourself.

      Posted by Jack Lacton on 2006 12 28 at 01:27 AM • permalink


    1. #14 According to Andy Landeryou it’s Evan Thornley

      Posted by 2BarRiff on 2006 12 28 at 01:42 AM • permalink


    1. Enough with the Beetle already. Australia are on the verge of handing out a thrashing to the Poms, which has been glorious to watch.

      Posted by CB on 2006 12 28 at 02:38 AM • permalink


    1. Bearing in mind that my comment will almost certainly fail to pass muster at GorbalWurming Central, herewith my contribution:

      Ringpiece: you’re the sort of semi-educated nong that gives any competent environmentally-minded person a bad name. Your heart may be in the right place; your brain seems to be AWOL. Grow up, please.

      OK, Oscar Wilde it aint, but really this sort of ignorance can’t be fought with in a civil fashion.

      Posted by David Gillies on 2006 12 28 at 02:48 AM • permalink


    1. Send the English Team to the Hellfire Club, it’s obvious they like been beaten more than cricket.

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2006 12 28 at 02:55 AM • permalink


    1. Is Tim at the “G”?

      Posted by murph on 2006 12 28 at 04:24 AM • permalink


    1. #62, CB:

      So, now, y’all are beating on the Poms with beetles? I thought the game was about throwing crickets at each other?

      Posted by Grimmy on 2006 12 28 at 04:35 AM • permalink


    1. #54
      And if I recall correctly, Mad Magazine alleged VW stood for Very Worst (place to be in an accident).
      the dumbest idea ever actually put into practice by German engineers.
      I don’t know.  When they insist on using submarine batteries, it is a handy spot.
      I think they remember their fathers’ stories of frozen batteries on the Ostfront and want to be prepared for the next time it’s necessary to march on Moscow.

      Posted by lotocoti on 2006 12 28 at 05:25 AM • permalink


    1. […] having received a United Nations award from Nelson Mandela […]

      So how does Nelson Mandela give out United Nations awards?  Don’t you have to be a somewhat high muckety-muck in the UN to do so?

      Posted by Richard Cranium on 2006 12 28 at 05:33 AM • permalink


    1. I remember saying in a recent post about the cars I’ve had, I think I mentioned a VW Beetle amongst them.  Had a 1500 Beetle once, tried to convert it to a beach buggy.  I also drove an Army Combi Van several times in the early Eighties.  What a great drive, the motor sounded like a loud racing car (Ferrari?), but going nowhere fast.  The gear shift was like stirring porridge.  The Beetles were quite innovative in their day, they had a lot of good points, and OK, we’ve already discussed their bad points.  I’m disappointed that this thread hates Beetles.  BTW, one of my fav films in the 60s was Herbie the Love Bug!
      Can someone come up with the emissions (usually Nitrous Oxides and Carbon Monoxide) from both cars?  Should solve this point.

      Posted by Stevo on 2006 12 28 at 06:40 AM • permalink


    1. Jack: I’ve seen at least three VW Bugs on fire on the expressway in my lifetime. Maybe more—one gets used to the sight. I figure they couldn’t take the Florida heat and just spontaneously combusted.

      Confession: in my youth, I wanted to own one of the things. They were “cute,” see. Fortunately one never came my way. My first car was the equally misbegotten Chevy Vega, a ‘74 model, but at least that one lasted 6 months without catching on fire.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2006 12 28 at 06:45 AM • permalink


    1. Andrea … wasn’t that the car in Wayne’s World? … cool … back to V Dubs … I subscribed to the this magazine for most of the 80s … Hot VWs and Dune Buggies …

      Posted by Stevo on 2006 12 28 at 07:05 AM • permalink


    1. #70 – I’ve seen at least three VW Bugs on fire on the expressway in my lifetime. Maybe more—one gets used to the sight. I figure they couldn’t take the Florida heat and just spontaneously combusted.

      Especially the Kombi van. They regularly spontaneously combust. My brother-in-law-to-be two decades ago – his caught fire in the drive at home.

      When I was in high school in Perth a beetle-driving teacher told us Port Hedland was a Kombi graveyard.  It was customary thing of those days for surfers and retirees to kit them out as campervans and set off around Australia. Apparently they were OK if driven at a steady 50mph (this was the mid-60s) but the optimists insisted on observing the 60mph speed limit.  In the heat they just couldn’t take it, After 1,600km they were clapped by the time they got to Pt Hedland, so that’s where they were laid to rest.

      Posted by walterplinge on 2006 12 28 at 07:11 AM • permalink


    1. Stevo: no, that was an AMC Pacer.

      Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2006 12 28 at 07:49 AM • permalink


    1. They regularly spontaneously combust-

      i thought that only happened when someone dropped the factory spec bong, but if fuhrerwagens really do spontaneously combust because of the heat it’s no wonder leftards are so terrified of global warming

      Posted by eeniemeenie on 2006 12 28 at 08:18 AM • permalink


    1. Wasn’t the VW proof that Hitler really cared about people in meaningful ways by inventing the concept of an affordable, mass produced auto for “the masses”? You know, kind of like what Henry Ford had done with the Model T?

      Posted by Grimmy on 2006 12 28 at 09:44 AM • permalink


    1. My sister and her family had a VW van (circa 1973 model).  Very disconcerting to ride in the front passenger seat; felt the need to constantly be ready to jump out the door every time we were coming up on a slower car ahead.

      “fuhrerwagens”, heheh – good one, eeniemeenie…

      Posted by Tex Lovera on 2006 12 28 at 09:45 AM • permalink


    1. #59 ah the trabi – a wonderful little car neatly encapsulating all the glories of communism

      why oh why can’t paco industries build on the trabi tradition & produce a People’s Auto COracle now that proper boating’s not possible in the 3 inches of water left in victoria’s lakes?

      Posted by KK on 2006 12 28 at 10:09 AM • permalink


    1. #70 Andrea.  I learned to drive in a Bug and the first car I ever owned was a Vega. Other than a lack of power, both cars performed well for me and were easy to work on. The only major repair on the Vega was replacing a burned out clutch at about 100,000 miles.

      There’s no question the Bug was unsafe in an accident, though – especially the models with the spare gas tank mounted near the front of the car.  But considering the Bug first went into production in 1938 as an affordable people’s car, they were a remarkably simple and well-designed car – much better than such later atrocities as the Trabi and the 2CV.

      Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 2006 12 28 at 11:40 AM • permalink


    1. #57, That was done in one of those cobblestoned mews-de-sacs in South Kensington UK.

      That was you?  If only I’d known, I’d have said hi, but I was too busy looking at all the Arabs, especially the women in their jangly-bangly veils and belly-dancer outfits.  (This was before they got all fundamental and went black).

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2006 12 28 at 11:46 AM • permalink


    1. If I ever buy a Toyota, I’m definitely going to get the Exciting Version.

      Posted by David Crawford on 2006 12 28 at 05:05 PM • permalink


    1. #80, David Crawford:

      Reminds me of a Japanese advertising campaign for a perfume. The product was named “Kewpee Doll”. The slogan, wanting to capitalize on the new trendy “American speek” and combined that with the Japanese tendency to shorten words in new slang came out with: “My Pee smells good!”

      Posted by Grimmy on 2006 12 28 at 05:29 PM • permalink


    1. #81, you can see all kinds of amusing “Engrish” in Japan, from incomprehensible tee shirts to amazing logos and legends on cars.

      Honda makes a tiny two seater named The Beat.  The very first one I saw had the legend “Midship Amusement.”

      Posted by Steve Skubinna on 2006 12 28 at 07:08 PM • permalink


    1. #81- obviously hasn’t been eating asparagus then. when I do, my piss smells like burning tractor tyres.

      Posted by Habib on 2006 12 28 at 07:45 PM • permalink


    1. From Australian Yahoo, someone into DIY science, tetonic plates and angry giant squid:

      ‘and with the amount of movement in the plates in the pacific, the ring of fire” indonesia andsomalia and those countries are feeling the impact on a monthly basis, with the ocean warming up and the land mass moving earthquakes etc are abound. this all adds to the tetonic disruption and the changes equate to not being good.
      the ring of fire in the pacific will eventually cause mass eathequakes like the san andreas fault line and then the earth just may settle to next “age”.
      the fact that the movie is already here about the perfect “10 ” earthquake and what it could possibly do and the seperation of the continents back to the original land masses.
      with the warming of the ocean bed from the tetonic movement you will see more deep sea living animals(giant squid etc) evolve to be able to handle the warmer oceans.
      with friction you have the heat and heat disperses upwards doesnt it ?
      im just stunned because since kimil jong tested his nuke there has been several earthquakes and movemnets in the plates to set off underwater earthquakes to flood bandaaceh and indo and somalia etc again . this area is affecting us as well with the water currents and the warmer water moving to our shores.’

      Posted by boxofmatches on 2006 12 28 at 09:23 PM • permalink


    1. My first car was the equally misbegotten Chevy Vega …

      Ahhhh.  First cars.  Mine was a Mercury Gran Marquis, aka ‘the land yacht.’  I loved that car.  Ironically, it was killed by a VW—in this case a VW Golf traveling at about 60MPH down a city street, with a drunken fool behind the wheel.  On the plus side, my passenger and I were fine and his already-small car was 2’ shorter after the experience.

      On the other hand, I learned to drive stick on a loaner Corvair.

      Posted by Achillea on 2006 12 29 at 03:50 PM • permalink


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