One of the most notable things about the Volkswagen Beetle is how immune it seemed to be to the passage of time. From 1938 to 2003, while it went through significant changes, it stayed pretty much the same looking, really. So when VW decides to do a brochure about The Future, it’s fun to see the way they show what’s futuristic. And, based on what they do show, the budget must have been somewhat limited, because the future shown is oddly lonely and minimal. But the Beetle is still the Beetle. And this brochure starts with a reminder of just that:
VW was always proud of how little they changed Beetle styling. And, it seems, they intended to lock things down at the 1970 look (I mean, they pretty much did) even in the distant future when all cars must be enclosed in atmo-bubbles:
I guess you need these to have clean air as you roll over the vast wastelands between the likely domed cities? That must be it. I hope that smooth bubble gives enough traction over those rocks?
Other parts of the future seems to suggest that you can drive your Beetle on the surface of Hoth, which I suppose we’ve finally colonized. That’s exciting! Let’s get tauntaun burgers!
This gas station of the future is also fascinating; it’s pretty minimal, a clever, partial-tube design, and still has an attendant, perhaps because the harsh environment requires the special suit he’s wearing. Lots of glossy white, which was very futuristic in the wood-paneled 1970s.
This must have been taken inside a domed city, with its white pavement and black markings, and in this future, people drive cars like the Fitch Phoenix (Peter our Social Guy figured it out!), as you can see in the upper left. That car is really interesting – a Chevy Corvair-based sports car with an emphasis on safety that was intended for production, but the project was cancelled, leaving just the one car. Those two humps behind the fenders are for a pair of spare tires!
This Fitch seems to be related to the Fitch behind Abercrombie & Fitch, where you could have bought one of these, along with Chevy dealers, if all went according to plan. I think it had Fiat taillights, too. This thing is fascinating! Glad to see it made it into the future! Well, now that I look, the Hemmings article mentions the A&F store angle, but A&F’s own site mentions a different Fitch as a founder. Maybe John Cooper Fitch was just a relative? How else would that deal have worked?
Man, what a future! Bubbles and Beetles and Phoenixes and wastelands! If only.