Mexico's Volkswagen Beetles Don't Know When To Quit

It’s been about six years since old-school Volkswagen Beetle taxis were made illegal in Mexico City, it’s been about 15 years since the last air-cooled Beetle rolled off the line, and a staggering 80 years since the basic design of the car was set. These cars shouldn’t still be doing anything, by any conventional, rational measure. But the Beetle’s never been all that conventional or even always rational, so it’s still going, doing real work for real people.

We’ve written (and video’d) before about Beetle (or Vocho, as they say in Mexico) taxis holding on to some very specific niches in Mexico, and it appears we’ve found one more: the labyrinthine village of Taxco.

Advertisement

Taxco is a very old town, settled in 1529, and the tiny, hilly winding streets and remarkable density have made the old town oddly tailor-made to the Beetle’s strengths: it needs small, cheap, tough, nimble cars with good traction: essentially, a quick list of some of the venerable Beetle’s strengths.

I want to go to there
I want to go to there

I’m sure at some point, these old Vochos will have to retire from active duty, and a town teeming with Beetles will be just a memory.

Still, it’s 2018, and they’re not gone yet. That’s far later than I think anyone would have guessed, so I’m making no predictions for how much longer they can go, preferring to enjoy the tart, happy slap of gleeful surprise when I find they’re still around.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

Paullubbock
Paullubbock

My 85 year old parents still refer to VW Beetles as Topolinos. I have never heard them called Vocho?