Monday, July 7, 2008

Who is square now?

I am a big fan of the VW Squareback. As a variation, or "Variant" of the Type III, it was introduced in the US in 1965, about 4 years after its German debut as a notchback. During that time, they developed the Squareback (the name Variant was too close to Valiant) and the Fastback. 1968 saw the introduction of electronic fuel injection, a first for a production economy car inthe US. And around 1970 ushered in a slightly larger update.

Using the platform of the bug, this car brought a modern sensibility to the VW stable of cars. Providing 30 mpg, and 30 cubic feet of cargo space, it was cheap to use and versatile. While no letters were written home about blinding acceleration (this was the 60's and there were other cars for that) the Squareback surely gave over 800,000 owners practical and dependable transportation.

One of those owners was my brother. Around 1968 he came home with a white Squareback, which provided him the ability to haul equipment for his garage band gigs. He didn't seem to have it long before he traded it in on an Austin Healy, causing our father to be at no loss of words. The two cars were a Dr. Jeckle/Mr. Hyde thing, and I guess my brother had to go through both sides. Within a year, he had settled into an older Volvo sedan which led to a long line of practical and dependable vehicles.

While my brother undoubtably misses his Austin Healy, I am sure he also has a soft spot for his Squareback as well. The Squareback definitely belongs to the class of small wagons I hold dear, for being
modern before their time.

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