Sunday, September 24, 2000

Bug Fest to draw car fans

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SPRINGDALE — The engine was in the back, the radiator didn't exist, the design was mocked, and cramming people into it became something of a wannabe Olympic sport.

        Through it all, the Volkswagen Beetle, or Bug, kept chuggin' along, eventually breaking the 60-year-old record of the Ford Model T as the biggest-selling car of all time.

   • What: VW/Porsche Family Reunion Car Show.
   • Where: GE Park, at Ohio 747 and Crescentville Road in Springdale, near I-275.
   • When: Today, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
        Bug and Porsche aficionados will gather today at GE Park for Bug Fest 2000: The VW/Porsche Family Reunion Car Show.

        Dozens of vintage Bugs and Porsches, designs for which sprung from the mind of 1930s German engineer Ferdinand Porsche, will be on display.

        He envisioned the Bug as “the people's car,” given its low price, reliability, fuel efficiency and easy maintenance. It also was cooled by a fan, not water, and never froze up in the German winters.

        The event, sponsored by the Cincinnati Volkswagen Club, will feature a parts swap, door prizes, parts and accessory vendors, kids' activities, and a book signing by Paul Klebahn and Gabriella Jacobs, creators of Bug Tales, a collection of Bug-owners' memories.

        “The Beetle went against everything Madison Avenue advertisers and Detroit said it should be,” Mr. Klebahn, 36, of Cold Spring, Ky., said Saturday. “Bigger was better, faster was better, and this car wasn't. This was an innocent car. Some would say ugly, others would say cute — but it had a face.”

        A VW club member, he's owned 15 such faces, including a silver version of the new Bug, a model that made its debut Jan. 5, 1998.

        More than 21 million Bugs have been sold to date.

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