Vintage & Classics

The Volkswagen Beetle's blumenvasen got its start as a high-end porcelain German accessory

The blumenvasen became standard on the New Beetle.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

It's safe to say that in the 1950s and 60s, the Volkswagen Beetle had more flower power than horsepower. The affordable runaround had hit its stride in both Europe and America by then and was coming into popularity with a growing hippie crowd.

A unique feature made its debut in the 1950s inside the cabin of the Beetle - a porcelain vase. Known in German as "blumenvasen", the vase was perfect to hold one single flower close to the driver, whether it was on the dashboard, speaker grille, or windshield. Many of those first bud vases were made by high-end German porcelain manufacturers.

Volkswagen Beetle vase New Beetle Volkswagen gave the New Beetle a standard acrylic vase while older models had porcelain versions of the accessory.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

According to Volkswagen,

"Beyond adding a little color and joy to daily car rides, the accessory was also a nod to the very early days of car driving. Automobile vases first started appearing in the late 1800s not as an interesting novelty, but out of necessity. The vases, often filled with fresh, fragrant flowers, were used as air fresheners to help cover engine odors and the scent of passengers themselves in pre-air conditioned interiors. The vases themselves quickly became decorative as well and were widely available in catalogs and hardware stores."

The era of the bud vase left the U.S. when Volkswagen ended Beetle sales in the country in 1978. However, 20 years later, when the Beetle made a comeback, so did they.

Known as the New Beetle, the fresh take on the classic car wasn't as simplistic as the original, nor as affordable, but did bring with it a design that was reminiscent of the years surrounding the Summer of Love. The New Beetle included a standard three-inch acrylic version of the Bug's signature vase.

The New Beetle was advertised with slogans such as, "The engine is in the front, but the heart is in the same place" and "A work of art with side air bags and a bud vase."

The bud vase was dropped when the Beetle was redesigned in 2011 but bud vases are still hot options for classic Volkswagen Beetles.

Volkswagen said goodbye to the Beetle at the end of 2019 with a poignant ad showcasing the history of the model.

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Interesting backstory

Volkswagen Bus part inspired popular dog toy

The classic VW Bus inspired one of the most popular dog toys of all time.

Volkswagen

Product designs sometimes take inspiration from the places we expect the least. Moments of genius are driven by finding solutions to unique problems, and as it turns out, that's exactly how we ended up with KONG. The beefy, durable dog chew toy is modeled after a Volkswagen Bus part.

Joe Markham's shop Markham needed a dog for security, but he unexpectedly got a chew-crazy pet.Volkswagen

KONG's inventor, Joe Markham, adopted a German Shepherd to help with security at his auto repair shop in downtown Denver, CO. The dog, while a great addition to the shop, came with a few bad habits. The dog's most worrisome hobby was chewing, which he would do with almost anything he could find, especially rocks. As you might imagine, chewing on rocks is not good for the dog's teeth. Markham needed a durable chew toy, but nothing seemed to work, from animal bones to radiator hoses.

The solution came from an unlikely place: While working on a 1960sVW Type 2 Bus, Markham discovered that the rubber axle stop made a perfect chew toy. The dog had gotten ahold of the rubber stop, and while he was chewing viciously, neither the stop nor his teeth were damaged.

The discovery led Markham to spend the next six years experimenting with various rubbers, sizes, and shapes for his dog toy. After working with rubber experts in Germany, the design was finalized and the KONG was born. The shape for the toy ended up being very close to that of the axle stop. The funky, bulbous design meant that the toy wouldn't bounce like a ball, and would instead flop around randomly, which is similar to the way that small animals run away from predators.

VW Bus axle stop The axle stop from a VW Bus inspired KONG's shape.Volkswagen

It's worth noting that you should not intentionally let your dog chew on any part of your vehicle. Even unused automotive parts can contain chemicals and other harmful materials that could make your dog sick or worse. This isn't a pitch to buy a KONG, just a warning about the hazards of car parts being used as dog toys.

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The new Tiguan sports an all-new front-end design.

Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Tiguan is an interesting compact SUV with a fun-to-drive personality and plenty of style. After 14 years on sale, the Tiguan is just in its second generation, but VW has given it a significant update for the 2022 model year that brings new tech, updated styling, and a refreshed interior.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan The rear has been massaged with new badging and standard LED taillights. Volkswagen

The restyled Tiguan is available in four trim levels: S, SE, and SE R-Line Black. All models get a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, but VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive can be optioned in.

Styling updates are the big story for the 2022 Tiguan. The front end is entirely new and carries design cues from the larger Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport. LED headlights are now standard, and an illuminated light line is available for the SUV's grille. On the rear liftgate, the Tiguan model name lettering also mirrors that of the Atlas, with the name spelled out underneath the VW logo.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan Most trims get an 8-inch touchscreen.Volkswagen

Inside, the Tiguan now comes standard with heated seats, while a heated steering wheel and ventilated seats are available. Cloth upholstery is standard, while mid-range trims get leatherette. The top SEL R-Line comes with leather and a perforated leather-wrapped sport steering wheel. Front-wheel drive models come standard with three rows of seating as well, making the Tiguan one of the more family-friendly vehicles in its class.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan The top trim gets upscale leather upholstery.Volkswagen

The base Tiguan S comes with a 6.5-inch touchscreen running Volkswagen's excellent MIB 2 software, but all others get MIB 3 infotainment software running on a glass-covered 8.0-inch touchscreen. The automaker notes that it's a capacitive touch system, which functions more like a smartphone than other infotainment systems, which sometimes require pressure to register a touch input. All Tiguans get a digital gauge cluster with an 8-inch display, while the top SEL R-Line upgrades to a 10.25-inch configurable gauge cluster that offers full-screen navigation and other views.

Pricing for the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan starts at $25,995 for the base S trim with front-wheel drive. Adding all-wheel drive pushes the prices to $27,495. All Tiguan models will see a $1,195 destination charge tacked on at the bottom line.

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