It's worth pointing out, as a preface to the below rant, that most Volkswagen Beetles produce about 37 horsepower from their tiny, air-cooled engines. That's it. If you've driven a Beetle this may not surprise you and, while the number is comically low by today's standards, it was enough to have a little fun. Think of all the fun you've seen someone have in a far more powerful New Beetle, then the fun this guy is having in his Beetle and then read geistkoenig's comment.

Hey, wanna know a really dark and crazy secret?

Power isn't everything.

There. I've said it. Please note for posterity.

Really. Excesses of power are not all there is to a car, especially for sports cars. Yes, really.

I know it's part of the national heritage, but there's more. Quick history lesson: Even before World War II, American cars had always been about power. V8 Fords, OHV conversions, hopped-up stovebolt Chevies, Duesenbergs, moonshiners, the dry lakes, the works.

After the war, enter the MG TC. Tiny little thing. Itty 1250cc four-banger that would barely crank a Cadillac's engine. People who bought big luxurious crusers didn't know what to make of them, unless they knew intuitively that it was a small sign of the Divine. It was simple, involving, direct, hugely fun and made its drivers feel twice as alive as they normally did. It was also dreadfully slow. So was the 356. So were a lot of other foreign cars. The first production Ferrari had a two-liter engine that put out about 120ish horsepower, enough to get it to scoot but laughable today.

It didn't matter. Those were the first mutants crawling out of the ooze that gave us the American sports-car scene that flourished through the Fifties and still matters to us all today.

More modern example, the obvious one: the Miata. Woo! Small! Weak! Girly! Also the single most popular racing car in the country. Hardly an inadequacy on display there.

Yes, sure, I get turned on by monster power. I also have a very deep fondness for the small and simple and slowish and fun. Even Beetles.

Bet the folks in that VW are enjoying themselves far, far more than 80% of the well-compensated technophiles who own GT-Rs will ever know is possible. That means a lot.


And this, I hope, ends the Beetle Mania around here for a while.

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