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It wasn’t just any car that rolled off the assembly line Wednesday in Puebla, Mexico; It was the last of its kind. The Beetle is an unlikely automotive classic spanning eight decades with sales totaling more than $23 million.
Few cars enjoy the amount of affection this one gets. There was a time when it was rare to not see a Volkswagen Beetle on the road. Now it’s rare if you do.
It was conceived by Adolf Hitler and designed by Ferdinand Porsche as the Volkswagen, or “people’s car,” to reinvigorate Nazi Germany’s economy and make the country mobile. The Type 1, it’s official name, became famous for its durability, ease of maintenance, and, well, there’s no other way to put it — cuteness.
Chris Vallone of Congers, New York, runs perhaps the last shop in the world dedicated solely to restoring Beetles.
“It’s got a face when you look at it, right? It’s got the little smile, that bumper there,” he said.
In the 1960s, the Beetle became a symbol for the counterculture. Over the years, Volkswagen embraced the car’s quirkiness in a series of ads touting its diminutive size.
With only two redesigns over its lifetime, which is unheard of in the car industry, the Beetle never lost its personality, starring in movies and even recent TV shows.
The end of the Beetle marks a turning-point for Volkswagen, which now sees its future in electric cars. So for many who grew up loving this car, it is with a sense of melancholy to say, they just don’t make ’em like that anymore.
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