1303, 1960, 1963, 1969, 1973, 1987, Beetle, Big Käfer, Cabrio, Classic, Eto’o, Golf, GTI, Herbie, Karmann, KdF-Wagen, Kübelwagen, Lemmertz, Love Bug, Messi, MK1, Polo, Porsche, Rosselló, Schwimmwagen, Volkswagen
My name is Pere and today I will talk about one of my hobbies: collect classic cars. Nowadays I have three of the branch Volkswagen: two Beetles and a Golf. One of the Beetles and the Golf are cabriolets made from the German manufacturer Karmann.
Perhaps you are asking why I like collecting these cars, or why all my old cars are Volkswagens? I do not know exactly why, but I have collected different kind of things since I was a teenager, for example coins, stamps or small cars. My first car was a Volkswagen Polo Classic and it was a very reliable car. When I was a child there was a film series of Walt Disney which protagonist was Herbie the Love Bug, a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle.
Do you know what does Beetle, Volkswagen, Karmann, and Herbie mean?
- A beetle is an insect belonging to the order Coleoptera and the first use of the nickname “Beetle” for the Volkswagen Type 1, its official name, were in a New York Times article in the year 1938. Considering the car’s shape, how could it be called anything else?
- Volkswagen is the junction of two German words, the first one is “volks” that means people and the second “wagen” that means car: all together it is the people’s car.
- Karmann was the surname of its founder Wilhelm Karmann, who in 1901 purchased Klases, a coachbuilder since 1874, and renamed the business.
- In the movie The Love Bug (1969) Tennessee Steinmetz, Jim’s friend and housemate, names the car “Herbie” after his uncle Herb, a professional boxer whose broken nose greatly resembled the hood of a Volkswagen Beetle. Jim Douglas was a race-driver and the last owner of the car in the film.
The Volkswagen was designed for Ferdinand Porsche, the founder of the Porsche car company. He received a contract from Adolf Hitler to design a “people’s car”. Hitler called the new car the “KdF-Wagen” (Kraft durch Freude Wagen), the “Strength Through Joy Car”, presented on May 26th, 1938 when the cornerstone was laid for a new factory to build the car in the new town of “KdF-Stadt” (called Wolfsburg now). The production officially began on July 11th, 1941 until August 7th, 1944, when production ceased under pressure of Allied bombing, practically only military cars were made: Kübelwagens and Schwimmwagens. The production restarted in December 1945 under the British military government by Major Ivan Hirst. The end of production was at Puebla, Mexico, on July 30th, 2003. With over 21 million manufactured, the Beetle is the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single design platform, worldwide. The Beetle Cabriolet Karmann began its production in 1949 by Karmann in Osnabruck. My “dream car” is other model developed by Karmann with the chassis and mechanicals of the Beetle and the design of the Italian carrozzeria Ghia, the Karmann Ghia.
I bought my first one in 2007 and it was a Beetle 1303s special edition Big Käfer. It’s the last and biggest Beetle model. This had more bulbous front bodywork than the preceding ones, rear “elephant foot tail” lights, and a more modern curved windscreen, which improved aerodynamics and interior space. It has a powerful 1600cc 50hp boxer air-cooled petrol engine located in the back, rear-wheel drive, Lemmertz GT wheels with 175 70 15 tires, and front disk brakes. When I bought it, it had the nickname “Eto’o” for the football RCD Mallorca and FC Barcelona’s player Samuel Eto’o. If you like this car, now I’m selling it on Milanuncios.com
Five years ago I purchase a Beetle Cabriolet Karmann 1961 model. At the end of 1969 it was bought in a public audition by a man who lived in Mallorca and made several modifications to update it. He changed its 1200cc engine for a more powerful 1600cc one, converted the front drum brakes to disc brakes, put a Lemmertz GT wheels, modernize its interior, etc. I made an overall restoration, painting and upholstering it in the actual two colours blue and cream, leaving it look the most original without loosing the security and engine improvements. Following the tradition I gave it the nickname “Messi” for the football Argentina national team and FC Barcelona’s player Lionel Messi. Can you guess why?
My last one is a Golf Cabriolet Karmann MK1 of 1987 with an 1800cc DX 16 valves K-Jetronic mechanical injection water-cooled petrol engine located in the front, the same as the famous Golf GTI. The Golf was a replacement for the Beetle. Historically, the Golf is Volkswagen’s best-selling model and the world’s second best-selling model, with more than 30 million built. Like the Beetle Cabriolet, this year I made an overall restoration, painting it including the wheels in its original alpine white and resolving its mechanical problems. It does not have a nickname yet. Which do you think will be a good one?
Nowadays I’m a member of the Board of Directors and Community Manager of the air-cooled club in Mallorca “Amics dels Escarabats de ses Illes Balears”. If you like those cars and you want to come with us on our tours, visit our Webpage: http://aeib.info/.