Classic Beetle Is Still King of One Neighborhood

'They say that it drives even just on the pure smell of gasoline'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2023 2:00 PM CST
Updated Dec 31, 2023 7:01 AM CST
VW Beetle Still Rules in Mexico CIty Neighborhood
A Volkswagen Beetle makes it to the top of a hill in a neighborhood of Mexico City known colloquially as "Vocholandia" for its love of the classic Beetle, Tuesday, July 9, 2019.   (AP Photo/Cristina Baussan)

The classic Volkswagen Beetle went out of production 20 years ago, but the beloved "Vocho" still rules the streets in one Mexico City neighborhood. The iconic car remains a common sight across Mexico's capital, but it's especially popular in Cuautepec, nicknamed "Vocholandia," where having the engine in the back helps it climb the area's steep hills, the New York Times reports. Uriel Mondragon, one of the neighborhood's many mechanics, estimates that 40% of his customers own a Beetle. "They say that it drives even just on the pure smell of gasoline," he says. "It is not like a new car. This car does not run out of gas."

Old Beetles are passed down through families—and with parts hard to come by, many of the Vochos on the streets of Cuautepec are made up of parts with mismatched colors. That's not their only quirky element: the Vochos here have names, bestowed by their owners and emblazoned atop the car's windshields or on its side. Mexico was the last place where classic Beetles were made. After 2003, the Puebla plant switched to making the newer version of the Beetle until 2019, when that was discontinued as well. Most of the Beetles in Cuautepec are classic ones. As one resident puts it, "The good ones are the old ones." (More Volkswagen Beetle stories.)

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