Beetles masquerading as cars (dung beetles)
As I lay awake during my interminably long and depressing periods of insomnia I get to reminisce. How the hell did we survive (though sadly many didn't) that awful period in the 1960s when we were obliged to drive such atrocious abominations from BMC's Cowley, Oxfordshire car factory? The much vaunted at the time, and later even bizarrely, masochistically celebrated Morris 1000 for example. With its hopelessly unreliable and under powered A Series engine, downright dangerous handling, life threatening front wheel shedding wishbone suspension, fragile rear cart springs, last a fortnight Armstrong shock absorbers, three thousand mile life Dunlop C41 cross ply tyres, Acceleration from 0 to 60 in 'probably does'. Indifferent drum brakes all round, gearbox oil consumption almost equal to that of its vaguely attached engine. Inconveniently snapping half-shafts, bodywork already perforated by first signs of rust even as it limped from the showroom. It was said the curiously hideous timber clad 'Traveller' version only stayed intact marginally longer than its siblings because the woodworms all held hands. How, what for and why for God's sake did we suffer them; and for so long?
The German offering of the ugliest vehicle on the planet, the Adolf Hitler inspired Volkswagen Beetle was no better. (image concealed to limit reader stress) I can only conclude that its owners all suffered some form of collective myopia, to mask feeling uncomfortable with their poor purchase decisions. Waxing lyrical about its mythical reliability and robustness. Choosing to ignore the fact none lasted more than ten years before the tub's 'air tight' body floor pan rotted out. With its whirling tin foil in a bucket air (almost) cooled engine and its contortion demanding, agonisingly uncomfortable driving position, complete with offset pedals and steering Ferris wheel. You accepted the challenging adventure of risking taking a VW Beetle out onto a motorway, more in hope of reaching your destination, rather than expectation. Auto magazine journalists of the day had to add extra pages to accommodate lists of the monstrosity's failures, weaknesses and repair advice. Britain's Automobile Association breakdown rescue organisation were obliged to double their fleet of recovery trucks. The Beetle's only legacy redemption being that in less than ten years following cessation of production none were ever seen on the road again. Why? Because none had survived. Is it any wonder Britain handed the reins over to Japanese Datsun, Honda and Toyota in order to stay mobile?