Volkswagen

1970-73 Volkswagen 1600 Squareback

Looking back through the archives, it seems I hadn’t yet posted a 1600 Squareback. Which is surprising, really, since this is one of no fewer than 8(!) that I’ve shot over the years.

Squarebacks are sort of on that weird frontier of being too common to stop and take a picture of and too old to not stop and take the picture. I also think that outside of California (and maybe the PNW) they’re not nearly as common: I imagine rust has claimed quite a few of them by now. Still, in Los Angeles at least, there are still quite a few rear-engined Volkswagen fans for whom a Beetle will simply not do. Or maybe they just want something a bit more practical.

(Side note: if anybody knows how to narrow these down by year for the ’70-’73 models, please let me know: I have absolutely no clue of any distinguishing features between the years.)

Santa Monica, CA

Photos by The Professor

1984 Volkswagen Jetta

After a brief new-car interlude, we return to our specialty with this Jetta: cars that most people wouldn’t look twice at but ones that are rapidly disappearing from the US’s roads. This is an ’84, the last year of the first-generation Jetta: one of 36,636 sold that year and one of 110,281 first-generation models sold on our shores over five model years. For comparison, the modern-day Jetta has eclipsed that number every year since 2010.

With 110,000 Jettas sold you’d think they would still be relatively common, at least until you realize Chevrolet sold 811,540 Citations in one model year and there are approximately 3 left in the country. Most of these cars have long since been disposed of, and this is one of the very few still left.

Mar Vista, Los Angeles, CA

Photos by The Professor

1977 Volkswagen Beach Buggy

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The 1977 is an educated guess based on the license plate, but in all honesty I have no idea what year this (car?) is, nor do I know who manufactured it.

The beach buggy craze was ignited by the introduction of the Meyers Manx in 1965, which was created by Bruce Meyers and made by crafting a custom fiberglass body and placing it on a shortened Volkswagen Beetle chassis. Since Meyers’ design was ruled unpatentable, other companies jumped onto the bandwagon and started to churn out their own fiberglass buggies. It’s estimated that over 250,000 copies of the Manx were produced, including the one pictured here. This ultimately crippled Manx’s company, which folded in 1971.

This particular example was spotted in the California beach town of Venice, an appropriate location for the quintessential beach car.

Venice, CA

Photos by The Professor