Old Cars, Photography

Captured: Bug light

Bug light

I’ve adored the original Volkswagen Beetle ever since I saw the movie Herbie the Love Bug as a small boy. I’ve always wanted one! They were common as pennies until about 20 years ago, which was about the time I came close to buying a Karmann Ghia – a Beetle with an Italian body. I couldn’t scrape together the cash at the time. I wouldn’t have that trouble today, but the supply of these cars has all but dried up.

I had loaded my Minolta Hi-Matic 7 with some Fujicolor 200 last autumn and was out wandering the parking lot at work looking for things to shoot when I came upon this Beetle. I liked how the shadow curved with the fender. The tail light’s size and shape dates this car to 1968-1972.

I photographed another green Beetle earlier in the year. Check it out, along with all the other old cars I shot in 2011.

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21 thoughts on “Captured: Bug light

  1. I passed a “kit car” the other day and shuddered because it reminded me how many Beetles were sacrificed in the 70s and 80s to make fake antique roadsters.

    • Yeah, back when Beetles were disposable. And anything you made out of a Beetle never looked like anything other than a tarted-up Beetle.

  2. Love this shot, Jim. The shadows are so sharp, and lines are fantastic. Good eye for composition, and the graininess of the old film makes this look like an ad photo from an old magazine.

  3. Mark says:

    Jim, no comment on Beetles per se, but wished I could email you(couldn’t find a way to do that). I have an incredible story involving roads, God, the Saulk Trail, Indiana, roads no longer there, and a film being made about how roads are a metaphor for life.

  4. There’s a light blue one for sale down the road from me. I had a friend who owned a red one. It was her first car in ’79. I remember it being loud and feeling like I was right up against the windshield. But it was a fun little car!

    Dad had two VW’s. But they were Golfs.

    It’s a great picture! You could sell that to a VW enthusiast.

    • I’ve ridden in a few Beetles and remember the semi-cramped feeling. I remember the back seat having good leg room, though, but I was a boy when I last rode in the back!

  5. Lone Primate says:

    Those were classic cars! I always liked them. I was buoyed when I heard VW was bringing back “the Beetle”, till that awful candy-a$$ed version with the flower in the dashboard (can I barf now?) debuted. Especially at the eye-water price they were asking… they should have just pumped up their chests, declared it the “iCar”, and been done with it; talk about trading on a name. Why didn’t they bring back THE BEETLE? A small, efficient, compact car, perhaps updated a bit in technology over the past 20 years, but the classic shape? Something inexpensive to get kids into V-Dubs so that in 10 years they graduate to Gulfs and Foxes? Rant rant rant!

    • Beetles were loud and slow, but they somehow never lacked charm!

      I have to admit, I fell for the new Beetle at first. So glad I didn’t buy one now. Same goes for the PT Cruiser.

  6. Wonderful color and detail. I have gained some new respect for Fujicolor 200 in looking at your photos. I have to admit that in my youth I defaced a Beetle. My brother and I bought a 1963 version for $50 in the early 70’s and turned it into a dune buggy. There was supposed to be something about their suspension, that I now forget, which made a Beetle good for such a conversion. We did have a lot of fun driving along dirt roads and across the farm fields once the crops were cleared.

    • I use Fujicolor 200 because I can pick it up cheap at Wal-Mart and Meijer. I always have some in the fridge, ready to pop into a new old camera to see how it performs.

      Seems like so many people have Beetle stories! Especially in the 70s, used ones were essentially disposable cars.

      • I have been doing the same thing. I think it is the best price for a good color film. I also have got to like their 800 ISO film. Around here is is the only brand of film in the stores. It is funny to think that not that long ago you could could buy a full range of film and the chemicals to develop film even in stores like Kmart.

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