I was researching something else when I fell down this particular rabbit hole, but I’m pretty intrigued by what I found here: it’s from a 1953 Beetle luggage accessories flyer, but what I’m most curious about is that wireframe luggage tester thing there. Did that exist outside of a drawing?

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This flyer is clearly an illustration, but it’s not unlikely it was based on a photograph of some kind. That white bent-tubing Beetle shaped thing there in the foreground appears to be an automotive version of those little bins they have at airports so you can confirm your carry-on (or carrion, if you’re a vulture flying commercial) bag will fit in the overhead compartment.

Here, it looks like there’s two mesh basket-like things that simulate the volume of a Beetle’s front trunk and rear luggage well. This thing looks way too specific to be some artists’s contrivance; if it was just imagined, why have all the limitations of reality, like the little metal stands under the wheels?

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I suspect there was at least one of these VW luggage-scale testers built, but I haven’t been able to find any evidence of them yet. I’d sort of love one for my house. I’d ditch my dresser and use this for all my clothes, at least until it just ended up draped in laundry.

The same rabbit hole also branched into some pictures of Beetle customized luggage, like this incredibly satisfying bowed-top suitcase designed to conform to the curved space under the hood:

For comparison, I included that pic of other VW fitted luggage without the bowed top. Tell me there’s not something weirdly and deeply gratifying about that bowed luggage that really conforms to that little volume.

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I have a problem.


Contact the author at jason@jalopnik.com.