- By Herschel D. -



1.      Q: Name three of the earliest VW dealerships in Memphis?

A: They were Jimmy Payne, Dewey Motors and Shaeffer. Payne and Dewey are older still. As a teen, I went over to “automobile row” -Union Avenue to get sales brochures for various car makes including stopping at Dewey in the late ‘50’s.  So, so far as I know, Dewey came first.

2.     Q: Which model manufacture came out with the very first 1/18th scale New Beetle?

A: In the late 1990’s Bburago (of Italy and, yes, there are two B’s) came out with the first one in that scale.

3.   Q: For that matter, which one did the first 1/8th scale old Beetle?

A: Solido came out with a 1949 Beetle around 1990. It didn’t have engine detail, but its larger size allowed better interior and bottom detail than the smaller ones being made at the time. However, eventual model detail advances from their competition such as engine detail had led to it having been discontinued around 2000.

4.   Q: What was the last year that the early U.S. Beetle came set up for being able to hand crank the engine?

     A: The, then, new Deluxe (Export) model was introduced in 1949 without the provision for a hand crank. The Standard (home market) model kept the crank for years after that.

5.   Q: From when to when, has VW’s model year (as opposed to the calendar year) run since the 1956 model year?

A: After making running changes all year long for years and dating the cars by calendar year only, they established a model year in late 1955 that still runs, in the present, from August 1st until July 31st. I believe that they have a month long shopwide vacation in August every year, although cars apparently still get assembled during that time, too.

6. Q: When the New Beetle’s original “Concept One” show cars came out in 1994, they talked about several different types of propulsion that the car could have such as a diesel or a hybrid using new long lasting lighter weight batteries. Meanwhile, what sort of motor was moving the Concept One sedan and Cabriolet around?

A: They were given Golf cart motors so that they could easily be moved from car carrier to show stage. I have a 1994 introduction video that shows the Concept One running around in a bank of dry ice.


1.       For those of you who were not at the February meeting: name a club member other than the one announced below in the Factiods section, whose car has also been in one of the national VW magazines. His car will be seen in an upcoming movie, made here in Memphis, about the life of Johnny Cash, too?

2.       VW has a new luxury sedan called the “Phaeton.” That term “Phaeton” like “Cabriolet” is an old automobile term but is not being used by VW to refer to the same body styles that they used to mean in the U.S.A. What were those earlier body styles?

3.       Where and when in North America did VW first set up an official headquarters?

4.       OK, here’s a question for you early VW buffs: up until what year did the Beetle use lever action shock absorbers on the rear?

5.       What was the first year that you had to fasten your seat belt in a Beetle in order to be able to start the engine?

6.       The 3rd generation Passat was the first one that was not Audi based, It seemed styled in the “Ford Taurus” school of thought. In what year was it first introduced in Europe?

Answers next month, along with new questions.

VW Factoids

Wow, it really is a small world sometimes. The 1961 Beetle on the cover of the very last issue ever (March) of VW Trends, is a Memphis car, now! New club member, Roger F., bought the car from its Colorado restorer and joined our club a few days after he received it!  He says that the fellow he bought it from was shocked that they wanted his car in the magazine, but I’d say it was because of the way the car was restored with meticulously correct 1961 only parts.           

I got my own 1965 Beetle in 1982 from the, now gone, VW dealer, Plantation Motors, that was on Lamar. I’m curious about how long they were around. Anybody know?

In case you didn’t already know, Gossett has a branch VW dealership over on Winchester, now, too. It is located little east of Hickory Ridge Mall (near 385).