Reader Question: The Indestructible Beetle?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

John asks: I remember VW Beetles.  It was not all that uncommon to see one with a bent roof, from going over on it.  It was quite common to see them pushed back onto their wheels and driven away–the doors even worked. Uncle Tom McKahill rolled a Renault Dauphene with about the same result.

My reply: The Beetle was small and light but its convex/rounded roof was quite structurally sturdy; as you say, it could be rolled and while it might end up dented, the roof would usually not compress/collapse.

But while the Beetle can be defended on several points as regards “safety,” the larger point is that our “safety” is no one else’s rightful business. Those who think it is think they are our parents – or that we are their property.

This is an exceptionally obnoxious doctrine. It amazes me that more people aren’t enraged by this business of busybodyness at gunpoint. Government, if it has any legitimate business at all, ought to protect our rights – including our right to weigh and take risks.

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. ***”rolled his Fiat “the little white matchbox” in the snow and it was basically undamaged.”****

    That’s amazing! You mean, rolling it actually improved it?! (Must have, if it was undamaged after the roll…’cause that’s not a Fiat’s normal condition, even as it’s coming off the assembly line!)

    • Well, it wasn’t any worse off anyway. This was about 1978 and his car I’m sure was far from new at that time but I have no clue what year it could have been. I did have a close friend who bought a brand new Fiat S/W while I lived there and it seemed to be okay but it was less than a year old when I left so who knows what happened after that. Life was sort of a mess; I was escaping a cult so I had no more contact with any of those folks since 1979.

  2. When she rolled her VW bug down a mountainside, it got beat up pretty bad but she was okay even without a seat belt (bugs are so small inside that there is no place much to go to get up the velocity to get hurt!). The glass that broke flew OUT of the car, but the body was squished and the doors wouldn’t open. I had to crawl through a window to get in and drive it home, after we tipped it back on its wheels and added some oil. Smoked like crazy at first from the oil running into the cylinders on one side.

    So a few days later, I took a pry bar and got the doors open and just took them off. I removed the surviving glass and even tore out the sun roof hatch because it was too twisted to open or close. Everything else was fine except the roof was a bit close to the driver’s head. We drove it as a dune buggy for the next three months on forest service roads, and took it up on jeep trails all around the valley. Got some strange looks from the folks from Denver in their new Blazers and Ramchargers in the back country – LOL

    I knew a kid up in Alaska who rolled his Fiat “the little white matchbox” in the snow and it was basically undamaged.


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