Tuesday , May 11 2021

Bitten by Bug – Independent.ie

Rescued: Colm Jennings in 1997 with the Beetle he and his father lovingly restored and Colm with the car 20 years after it was first bought
Rescued: Colm Jennings in 1997 with the Beetle he and his father lovingly restored and Colm with the car 20 years after it was first bought

Geraldine Herbert

"Our 1971 Fusca 1971 has been in the family since my father and I rescued him along the banks of the Royal Canal," says Colm Jennings. "And since the first day of Halloween 1997 – bringing her back to our house – I became obsessed with the Beetles."

Colm, a Dublin musician, and his father, Paddy, spent the next 12 years restoring old Beetle until finally becoming one again in 2009.

"Although many parts of the car need to be replaced, such as the floor, we are proud to say that most of the car, including the original 1300cc engine and much of the bodywork, doors and windows remain original."

Today, the Colm Beetle is in regular demand from friends and family for weddings and other events.

The iconic Beetle dates back to the origins of Nazi Germany. It was commissioned by Adolf Hitler and designed by Ferdinand Porsche. Although unable to drive, Hitler was fascinated by cars and wanted a small and affordable family car. The first production-ready Beetle debuted at the 1939 Berlin Motor Show – in 2003, over 21 million Beetles with air-cooled rear engine were built.

Over the years, the owners have always been motivated by the passion for iconic cars and the desire to own something out of the ordinary; for them, it's like steer a piece of history.

"My first car was a Beetle," says Paddy Breslin, a UX designer from Galway. "At the time, I was working in Sydney and had this vague plan to buy a Beetle, since Australia's hot weather tends to keep them in much better condition than in Ireland.

"The car I finally found came with the first warranty book with the first-year service stamps given to him by the first owner who bought it. It was signed and dated August 20, 1968 and I sent this car back for Ireland in 2002 Despite being 50 this year, it looks and goes like a car that is 10 years old and I can not imagine ever selling it. "

Cathal O & # 39; Toole owns a 1973 Beetle Volkswagen Beetle, but that car is not enough.

At the last count, he had three more – a 1975 Beetle, a 1977 Cal Look Beetle and a 1979 Karmann Beetle – and does not deny his addiction. In Cathal's words, "I've never been able to get away from a Beetle in need."

And he is not alone.

Cathal recently set up a website called Beetle.ie with another VW enthusiast and intends to document Ireland's history with Beetle from the first made in 1950 at a former trolley depot in Ballsbridge to the large factory on the Naas road where the beetles were produced. until 1977. The overall goal of Beetle.ie is to produce a book with pictures of the factory, stories of those involved in the industry and, of course, stories and photos of people who owned and loved their beetles.

The mid-1970s signaled the end of the Beetle, as drivers demanded more modern, efficient and comfortable cars. In response, VW abandoned the Beetle in favor of Golf.

However, the history of the Beetle did not stop there and Volkswagen launched the New Beetle in 1998. Built on the Golf platform, it was stylized in the original Type 1 theme and honored the past with a vase of flowers, round headlights and instrument panel . .

And it did not take long for him to recapture part of his predecessor's novel and win new fans like Naomi Feely, whose relationship with the new Beetle dates back to his college days.

"The new Beetle was launched at the time I started college and since then I wanted to have one." Two residents of the University of Limerick campus had Beetles – one red and one yellow – and every time I walked by I searched luxuriously they, "she says.

"I finally decided to change my Golf last year and bought a new Beetle Sport model. Once I tested it, I knew it was for me."

The beetle still turns its head in ways that would be the envy of any sports car owner.

Brenda Dunne, communications manager at Newbridge, Co. Kildare, is constantly surprised by how many people are fixing their car.

"It's an initial conversation. I find myself standing at gas stations all the time," she says.

It may be the spiritual successor to the original, but the new Volkswagen Beetle is a completely different breed of Bug.

"The Classic Beetle was the first car I drove," recalls Brenda. "It was magnificent, although there was no power steering and no extravagant decorating apparatus.I always swore that it would be mine one day.but when the kids showed up, a Beetle seemed impractical, so it was put on the long finger again.

"The new Beetle can be retro and modern, but it captures this timeless notion of fun.

"While there's the fun side, it's also a very comfortable car." I do a lot of long journeys and feel safe and solid on the road, it works well and is really fuel-efficient, "adds Brenda.

The Fusca went into production 80 years ago and the last unit left the assembly line in Puebla, Mexico, at the end of July 2003 and, among the car, became an automotive icon, conquering hearts and changing lives around the world.

Relaunched in 1998, Volkswagen announced on 13 September the end of the road for the Beetle and production will cease next summer. It may be the end of a long and winding road to the Beetle, but the Bug will live through its fans.

In the words of Hinrich J. Woebcken, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, when he made the announcement: "Never say never."

Independent Sunday

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