Not Dead But Sleeper
Not Dead But Sleeper
By:, Categories: Words & Images, 2 comments



There’s a great scene in Woody Allen’s 1973 time travel movie Sleeper, where Allen finds a dusty old VW Beetle that has been parked in a cave for 200 years. After looking round it, he climbs inside and it starts first time. “Sheesh,” Allen says, “they really built these things, didn’t they?” That says it all.


It was German Chancellor Adolf Hitler who launched the VW in 1933 when he called on the legendary Ferdinand Porsche to design a low-cost “People’s Car,” or Volkswagen. However his needs for a “People’s Tank,” or Panzer became a more urgent order of the day, so only about 600 were produced before 1945 (and most of these went to Nazi officials), and large-scale production didn’t begin until after World War II, and world-wide success was a while in coming.


And with Disney casting the Beetle as the star of the Herbie films, the little car went on to become a cult-classic. Even John Lennon’s white Beetle featured behind the Beatles on the cover of Abbey Road. The last of the original-design Beetles rolled off the assembly line in Mexico in 2003 (with over 21 million produced), five years after the debut of a newer and more futuristic Beetle, which has just rolled into model year 2014.


But the original Bug is much-loved and much-restored. And this one in today’s photo, like the dusty Bug found in a cave by Woody Allen, is not dead but sleeping, being in the first stages of a major restoration that will see it coming back from the dead with new life long after its original glory years.


Leica M3 & 50mm Summicron

B+W Yellow Filter

Sekonic L308-S

Ilford Delta 100

HC-110 (Dil.H – 1:63 @ 10 minutes)

Plustek 7600i & Vuescan




  • Tanya and I bought a 1972 Super Bug. It was Orange with a black interior. It had a defroster with a fan, nice stereo and we drove the wheels off of it.

    Nice story.

  • I learned to drive on a 1968 Bug on Riverside Drive in New York City. I was already 23, way past the learner permit age, and newly arrived from Wisconsin. So glad I learned to drive a stick shift, and a year or two later Lenny and I went to Germany and bought a (Texas) yellow Squareback off the factory floor. It lived to be over 100,000 and later transported three small children and their carseats all over Seattle. Sorry it didn't live longer. If I'd known what a collectors' item it would become, I would have put it on life support. I kind of like the new model, but it's so hard to tell whether they are coming or going.