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Will Volkswagen Make The Beetle Cool Again?

I was proud of my first vehicle.

by
Chris Queen

Bio

January 14, 2014 - 2:00 pm

02-vw-beetle-dune-concept-detroit-1

My first car was a 1969 Volkswagen Beetle, a semi-automatic in a sort of blue I called “electric powder blue” (clearly not a factory color). It was far from the perfect car – the heat ran constantly, so I had to disconnect it during warmer months and reconnect it when the weather turned cold. The parking brake didn’t work, so I had to carry a chock block with me everywhere I went. When it finally died, it left me stranded on a pretty remote stretch of Highway 78, and I had to hitchhike to the nearest pay phone. But it was a Beetle, and I was proud of that car and look back on it fondly even now.

When Volkswagen introduced the New Beetle in 1997, the company brought out a car that was funky and fun, but it just didn’t exude the same cool as the original Beetle that became an institution. (I honestly thought the car was a bit girly.) The 2011 reintroduction came closer, but it still wasn’t the same.

Now it looks like Volkswagen may be ready to make the Beetle cool again. This week VW has unveiled a concept car they’re calling the “Beetle Dune.”

VW calls the Beetle Dune Concept a “Baja Bug for the 21st century”.  Of course, real Baja bugs were heavily modified rear-wheel-drive Type 1 Beetles, fortified for desert racing in Mexico’s Baja California. The front-wheel-drive Dune Concept is an aesthetic statement only, with no desert-strafing aspirations.

The car on the show stand wears a desert-hued paint VW calls Arizona – a yellow-orange metallic – with matte-finished two-part fender cladding on the wheel arches intended to convey a bolder stance than the base Beetle musters. The larger, 19in wheels have increased offset to visually fill the fender openings and push the wheels to the corners of the car, while a custom raised hood and rear spoiler that doubles as a ski rack round out the appearance changes. The Dune does sit two inches higher than the 210-horsepower Beetle R-Line, on which the concept car was based.

Unsurprisingly, VW says the Dune “looks production ready”, since it is basically an appearance package, but the overt hint suggests a production version may come along.

Doesn’t that car just scream “badass”? The Beetle Dune looks muscular, edgy, and much less feminine than the late 90s Beetles, yet it retains that distinctive funkiness that’s always been appealing. This is a new Beetle I could get excited about, and I bet plenty of other Beetle enthusiasts could too.

All Chris Queen wanted to be growing up was a game show host, a weather man, or James Bond. But his writing talent won out. By day, Chris is a somewhat mild-mannered office manager for an IT managed services provider, but by night, he keeps his finger on the pulse of pop culture and writes about it. In addition to his Disney obsession (as evidenced by his posts on this website), Chris's interests include college sports -- especially his beloved Georgia Bulldogs -- and a wide variety of music. A native of Marietta, GA, Chris moved with his family as a child to nearby Covington, GA, where he still makes his home. He is an active charter member of Eastridge Community Church and enjoys spending time with family and friends. In addition to his work at PJ Media, Chris spent nearly a year as a contributor to NewsReal Blog. He has also written for Celebrations Magazine and two newspapers in Metro Atlanta. Check out his website, www.chrisqueen.net.

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All Comments   (4)
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No they will never be able to make another Beetle that would please you. People love their first car even though they are usually crappy because of the memories and because when you are young you don't have so many responsibilities so breaking down and being left stranded can be an adventure rather than a big hassle. Similarly the lack of safety features and comfort amenities are things that, having survived them, are fun to brag about. There are plenty of cars that are closer to a Beetle than the cars people actually buy, but who remembers fondly the Beetle of their youth by buying a Chevy Spark with a manual tranny?
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
My first car was a blue 1959 Beetle. I loved it, although it's coolness didn't stack up against the Mini Minors my friends had. I drove it so hard I blew the engine.
I now drive a VW Eos that I consider even cooler than the equivalent Audi A5 convertible. I love it and will probably drive it forever.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your Beetle had heat?
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Was this meant as satire?

"...the heat ran constantly"

You had me until I read that!
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
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