Smitten by the Beetle bug!
The Beetle is one of the most iconic cars in the world, and to pay tribute to this car, Beetle owners in Bangalore got together to form the Bangalore Beetle Club, which has over twenty members who regularly meet and take part in rallies.
We've seen this car in almost all the cartoons. Mr. Bean simply adores it and wouldn't give away his car for anything in the world. The Simpsons just can't do without their 'priced possession' wondering which car we are talking about? None other than the iconic Volkswagen Beetle.
The Beetle was an economy car produced by the German auto maker Volkswagen; they began to manufacture the Beetle in 1938 and rolled out nearly 21 million of the two-door ‘people's car' famously anthropomorphized in the ‘Herbie' series. One of the most iconic cars in the world, the Beetle was Volkswagen's top-selling car.
In the 1950s, it was more comfortable and powerful than most European small cars, having been designed for sustained high speed on the Autobahn, and ultimately became the longest-running and most-produced automobile of a single design. Its success owed much to its extremely high build quality, and innovative, eye-catching advertising.
M.V. Shyamsundar, a doctor at Malathi Manipal Hospital started the Bangalore Beetle Club along with two other members about three years ago. Initially the club had only three members but now there are about 25 – 30 member’s regularly taking part in rallies and other club activities.
“Beetles hold a special charm that no other car has, be it a Mercedes or a Rolls-Royce. Everybody acknowledges the ‘biggies’, but the Beetle is one car that brings a smile to the faces of all alike,” Says Shyamsundar, who owns a 73 model.
“I’ve always loved the Beetle; it’s an amazing car to own. Earlier there used to be problems in finding the spare parts for the car and maintenance was very high but now, it’s become relatively easier as there are a lot of dealers in Bangalore,” Explains Shyamsundar.
He adds “Members include a cross-section of people from various fields such as lawyers, doctors, real estate agents and even retired persons who share the passion. We held a meet about a month ago, took our cars for a spin, stopped over for breakfast and concluded the meet. That’s the norm, we don’t really have a fixed date to meet, and we just spontaneously decide and take off,”
The members either meet at Cubbon Park or Bidadi, to discuss about how to restore cars, how to source spares, repairs and other Beetle-matters. “The oldest Beetle in the city is a 1950 model and the newest is a 1975 model. People often come to us, to ask about how they can acquire a vintage model, but it’s quite tough. You really need to scout the market and even if you did, you’d only find cars from the 70’s to 80’s,” Explains Shyamsundar.
Shyamsundar bought his 1973 model - 1600cc Super Beetle, for way back in the 90’s for a meager amount of 60 - 80 thousand rupees, but now acquiring a vintage model and restoring would cost anywhere between 3 to 4 lakhs. He says “Beetle is a very expensive car to own, buying an old model and restoring would just be too expensive,”
In January, when the new Beetle rolled out, the Bangalore Beetle club members arranged a rally to welcome the new arrival. “The new car is amazing but now it’s become way too expensive but any product from Volkswagen will be great. Another Beetle is set to launch soon and I can’t wait to take it for a ride,” Says Shyamsundar excitedly.