Recently, a kind reader possibly seeking to avoid the grim self-made prison of a hoarder, sent me about a hundred or so pounds of prime, uncut ’70s and ’80s-era car brochures. There’s so much good stuff in there, and it’ll take me forever to go through it all, but as I find interesting things, I’ll share them with you. Like this strange bit of copy in this 1978 Volkswagen Rabbit brochure.
The brochure itself is nicely done, and makes me kind of want a first-gen Rabbit in some bright candy color like that fantastic green. They’re such crisp, rational little cars! Anyway, here’s the page that caught my attention:
...and on that page, it’s this paragraph specifically:
“To let you see where you’re going and where you’ve been, Rabbit has 25.9 square feet of glass—more than you’ll find on a Cadillac Seville. And the sloped hood actually enables you to see an egg on the road just 10 feet ahead.”
First, I can’t ever remember seeing “square feet of glass” used as a metric when deciding what car to buy. Did people in the late ’70s walk up to cars, emit a low whistle and say, “Damn! Sweet ride! How many square feet of glass is this baby packin’?”
The Cadillac Seville thing is also interesting because it’s actually the second time a comparison to a Seville has come up on this very page. Was Volkswagen thinking people would be cross-shopping Rabbits and Sevilles? And making decisions based on trunk volume and glass area?
Then, of course, is the egg business.
I’ve seen plenty of car literature that praises good visibility, but I’ve never encountered it described in terms of how well you could see an egg perched on the road ten feet in front of you.
I guess that was a big deal back then—all those road-eggs, nearly invisible in most cars with non-sloping hoods and minimal glass square footage. It’s good to know that the savvy car-shopper looking for the maximum amount of transparent panels and a bold assurance that no errant tarmac ova would get past them had such a great option here in the Volkswagen Rabbit.
Incredibly most modern carmakers aren’t even aware how far away you can spot an egg from behind the wheel. Just let that sink in.