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Carspotters' Challenge #58--Beetlemania

This week, we've set the WABAC Machine to March, 1964 and arrived in Elten, West Germany. Elten was one of several towns that were annexed by The Netherlands in 1949 as reparations for World War II. The territory was repurchased for 280 million Marks by West Germany in 1963.

Elten, West Germany, March, 1964From the presence of the uniformed officer talking to the driver of the Mercedes in the foreground, I'm guessing this photo was taken at one of the border crossings during rush hour.

This being West Germany in the early 1960s, there are of course a lot of VW Beetles. See anything else interesting?

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

(Photo obtained from the Station Wagon Forum's collection of vintage street scenes, contributed by member "OrthmannJ.")


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There's a Vee Dub near the upper left corner that seems to have black bumpers. I wonder if that was an early option or a custom job?

Ah....Beetles, Type 3s, Opels and at least one Renault. I owned a version of each of those in my youth. I'm also reminded of a butt-ugly '59 Opel wagon my uncle owned. He painted it orange and left the chrome rusty. Ugly. It replaced a classic Willlys wagon that had a flathead Mercury V8. It was also rusty, but so much cooler!

Although the original models seemed to be ever-present until the new Beetle emerged several years ago, I was never overly impressed with them. My former girlfriend (now wife) had two of them several years ago. They were OK. Except for being the icon of the counterculture in the '60's, what did they represent? The ultra-popular model was the microbus, and to a much lesser degree, the Kombi/delivery van. The only model I was really attracted to was the Karmann-Ghia, and I have heard that they were notorious rusters. Engine wise, they were the picture of simplicity, but I also heard that in servicing the exhaust manifold, the studs could break off in the cylinders, and they were very difficult to remove, due to the heating and cooling cycles.

To the right of the VW in the upper left with the black bumpers is a station wagon with the biggest hand I've ever seen waiving hello. Heheh! Looks like the computer pointer made it into the shot, too.

How about that Nash Metropolitan, eh?

I noticed how much the grill of the Opel echoed the Chevy Nova grill. There was a lot of homage to American cars going on at Opel and Ford of Europe.

It's interesting to me that I can't identify any BMWs. Not a single 1500, 700, Isetta, 600 or 502 seems to be in the shot. I do see a Borgward Isabella behind the 4 VWs in a row, a Renault R4, an R8, a Simca 1000, Fords, a Volvo, a pair of Mercedes-Benzes, an Austin(A40?), and LOTS of Opels.

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