On this day in history 30th July 2003

Last classic VW Beetle rolls off the line

On this day in 2003, the last of 21,529,464 Volkswagen Beetles built since World War II rolls off the production line at Volkswagen’s plant in Puebla, Mexico. One of a 3,000-unit final edition, the baby-blue vehicle was sent to a museum in Wolfsburg, Germany, where Volkswagen is headquartered.

The car produced in Puebla that day was the last so-called “classic” VW Beetle, which is not to be confused with the redesigned new Beetle that Volkswagen introduced in 1998. (The new Beetle resembles the classic version but is based on the VW Golf.) The roots of the classic Beetle stretch back to the mid-1930s, when the famed Austrian automotive engineer Dr. Ferdinand Porsche met German leader Adolf Hitler’s request for a small, affordable passenger car to satisfy the transportation needs of the German people Hitler called the result the KdF (Kraft-durch-Freude)-Wagen (or “Strength-Through-Joy” car) after a Nazi-led movement ostensibly aimed at helping the working people of Germany; it would later be known by the name Porsche preferred: Volkswagen, or “people’s car.”

The first production-ready Kdf-Wagen debuted at the Berlin Motor Show in 1939; the international press soon dubbed it the “Beetle” for its distinctive rounded shape. During World War II, the factory in Kdf-stat (later renamed Wolfsburg) continued to make Beetles, though it was largely dedicated to production of war vehicles. Production was halted under threat of Allied bombing in August 1944 and did not resume until after the war, under British control. Though VW sales were initially slower in the United States compared with the rest of the world, by 1960 the Beetle was the top-selling import in America, thanks to an iconic ad campaign by the firm Doyle Dane Bernbach. In 1972, the Beetle surpassed the longstanding worldwide production record of 15 million vehicles, set by Ford Motor Company’s legendary Model T between 1908 and 1927. It also became a worldwide cultural icon, featuring prominently in the hit 1969 movie “The Love Bug” (which starred a Beetle named Herbie) and on the cover of the Beatles album “Abbey Road.”  

In 1977, however, the Beetle, with its rear-mounted, air-cooled-engine, was banned in America for failing to meet safety and emission standards. Worldwide sales of the car shrank by the late 1970s and by 1988, the classic Beetle was sold only in Mexico. Due to increased competition from other manufacturers of inexpensive compact cars, and a Mexican decision to phase out two-door taxis, Volkswagen decided to discontinue production of the classic bug in 2003. The final count of 21,529,464, incidentally, did not include the original 600 cars built by the Nazis prior to World War II.

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Political Jokes – but I repeat Myself (from my resident comedian Bill)

About a King and a Donkey

Once upon a time there was a king who wanted to go fishing. He called the royal weather forecaster and inquired as to the weather forecast for the next few hours. The weatherman assured him that there was no chance of rain in the coming days.
So the king went fishing with his wife, the queen.

On the way he met a farmer on his donkey. Upon seeing the king the farmer said, “Your Majesty, you should return to the palace at once because in just a short time I expect a huge amount of rain to fall in this area”.

The king was polite and considerate, he replied: “I hold the palace meteorologist in high regard. He is an extensively educated and experienced professional, and I pay him very high wages. He gave me a very different forecast. I trust him and I will continue on my way.” So they did.

However, a short time later a torrential rain fell from the sky. The King and Queen were totally soaked and their entourage chuckled upon seeing them in such a shameful condition.

Furious, the king returned to the palace and gave the order to fire the weatherman at once! Then he summoned the farmer and offered him the prestigious and high paying role of royal forecaster.

The farmer said, “Your Majesty, I do not know anything about forecasting. I obtain my information from my donkey. If I see my donkey’s ears drooping, it means with certainty that it will rain.” So instead, the King hired the donkey on the spot.

Thus began the ancient-old practice of hiring asses to work in the government and occupy its highest and most influential positions…

Learning About Politics

A little boy goes to see his Dad and asks, “Dad, What is politics?”
His Dad says: “Well son, let me try to explain it this way:
I’m the breadwinner of the family, so let’s call me the Treasury.
Your Mum, she’s the administrator of the money, so we’ll call her the Government.
We’re here to take care of your needs, so we’ll call you The People.
The nanny, we’ll consider her the Working Class.
And your baby brother, we’ll call him the Future.

Now, think about that and see if that makes sense.”

So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what Dad had said.
Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his nappy. So the little boy goes to his parents’ room and finds his mother sound asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny’s room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed.
The next morning, the little boy says to his father, “Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now!”

The father says, “That’s great son! Tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about.”

The little boy replies:
“Well, while the Treasury is screwing the Working class, the Government is sound asleep the People are being ignored and the Future is in deep shit.”

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