Time to give Beetles the boot?


Sir, – Frank McNally’s piece on the Volkswagen Beetle (An Irishman’s Diary, September 15th) brought back many memories of the lived experience of owning one.

The tiny boot under that curved front bonnet meant that anyone travelling with children had to load up a roof rack with the necessary baggage. The earliest models featured a reserve petrol tank which held a gallon. You would be driving along and suddenly the car would start to judder and you had to flip over the lever which was beside the clutch, with your foot, and pray that it worked.

At a time when cars were not as trustworthy as they are now, the Beetle had almost a mystical reputation for reliability. The story was told of a farmer who was selling a model that had 150,000 miles on the clock. The prospective buyer asked, “Does she burn oil?” The farmer answered, “She would if she got it!” – Yours, etc,


Dublin 16.

Sir, – As one who was taught to drive a Beetle, I remember that the lighting system required the driver to have exceptional night vision and that some sort of periscope would have been useful for an unobstructed view of the road ahead. Good riddance, I say. – Yours, etc,


Donnybrook, Dublin 4.