Beetle mania


A chara, – Reading Frank McNally’s history of the VW Beetle and its imminent demise (An Irishman’s Diary, September 15th), it reminded me of our introduction to a 1959 model DZA 540 which my late brother Ben bought from a pipe-smoking fisherman, Tom Hogan, who fished the Liffey at the Strawberry Beds and whose butcher shop is still in business on Wexford Street and run by his son Chris.

The pipe smoke did wonders for the interior, and the semaphore indicators proved difficult for friends exiting the passenger door.

Our colour choice was, of course, black, with a six-volt battery supply to the lights. There were no water worries with an air-cooled engine.

The absence of a fuel gauge was overcome by way of a reserve fuel switch near the clutch which one flicked with one’s left foot when the engine stuttered.

I sold our “classic” for £80 in 1969 with 120,000 miles on the clock, a replaced clutch cable and no other major expense. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 6W.

Sir, – My Beetle did have eyelashes! – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.

Sir, – Learning to drive in the old Beetle, I found it impossible to keep my heel on the floor while engaging the raised clutch pedal. One advantage was not having to get my shoes heeled so often. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 9.