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Vintage VW cross-country trips

I saw the “Links we Like” section on this homepage and clicked on “California or Bust”. Totally cool! A girl is driving from Penn to Calif in her 1966 vw bug. I signed up for her blog.

I always wanted to do that, while I was in college, but didn’t. Regret. (I had an orange Super Beetle)

Does anyone else have good stories of driving cross country in a vintage VW? It would be fun to read any stories.

No, but Brock Yates has a pretty good story about a cross country trip he took in Ferrari Daytona. Trip didn’t take that long either.

Yes, the NYC to LA Cannonball runs during the 1970’s. Record time was set in 1979 at 32 hours 51 minutes in a Jaguar XJS. Much more fun than in a VW bus. I doubt today’s faster cars could match that coast-to-coast time due to traffic, cops and road construction. Most of the mid-west is best seen at night, driving fast.


I did that drive (from Columbus Ohio) and back in my VW back in the early 1970’s. They kids were young, but they still remember it.

When I was growing up, we had a family friend that would drive from west central Illinois to Reno, Nevada in a 1956 VW Beetle in the late 1950’s. His wife, 10 year old daughter, and mother-in-law along with all their luggage made the trip. They claimed that the trip in the 1956 VW Beetle was more comfortable than when they made the trip in their 1953 Pontiac.

On the other hand, when I was in graduate school in 1970, one of my fellow graduate students rode to California from Bloomington, Indiana with two other students in a VW Beetle. My friend had hit a horse on the highway in his 1968 Oldsmobile and he couldn’t replace the car for the amount the insurance paid him, so he decided to try doing without a car. At any rate, his assessment of the trip to California in the VW was that during the first 50 miles, he didn’t think he could stand it. However, after 50 miles, he said he was so numb that it didn’t make any difference. When he came back, he sprung for a plane ticket rather than make the reutrn trip in the VW.

In 1981 I left columbus ga going to cadillac mi where ma and dad lived and where I grew up.
I had a 1965 dune buggie manx style,ET mags,60s on back 70s on front,diamond tuck black and yellow pinto seats,hurst shifter,roller gas pedal,stock 40hp with headers,rag top,no doors and it was painted canary yellow.
Had 17 days off and went out in the woods,crossing creeks, just having a blast with my old friends.
On flat land with no wind after 2.6 miles it would get up to 62 mph so when I was going down a long hill in Indiana and got pulled over for doing 65 I was suprised!
In ga plates go with car and I did not know it but 1st owner switched plates in the past and I never got it inspected, UT O
The state police man was saying BOY we can impound car and take you to jail because you do not have no proof this is your car.
I had service manual and it showed where motor number was but it was not there. OH NO It showed where frame number was but fiberglass body covered it up.
The 2 cops went to there car and I am thinking $43 in my pocket in Indiana, not looking good.
They took my parents,sisters,cousins,uncles and work history going back 2 jobs ago and then let me go with a warning.
One of the BEST road trips ever. True story
I sent 1 box and what I could fit on my 1973 500 tr5 trophy trail and moved from mi to ga, cannot figure out witch trip was best

I Bought A 71 Super Beetle Volkswagen Brand New.

During the 200,000 miles I put on it I made several trips from out east to the Rockies to go skiing. The skis rode in a little rack that held the skis inside the rear bumper on one end and a rack attached to the air intake grille below the rear window.

My friend is 6’3" and will attest that it was the most comfortable of many cars and vans of that era that we drove on such a trip. The seats went back really far if you didn’t have to worry about anybody in back and the tall seats and tall roof were good for a tall person.

Triedaq must be referring to being “numb” from lack of heat, I’m guessing. That would have been the case in my former 64 beetle, but not so with the 71. I had plenty of heat, but I maintained the heater cables and heat exchanger lever/flaps and it was comfortable on trips in the winter and had good defrosters, too.


P.S. Austin, if you want a story, take a look at this. Click this link:

My friend was riding in the back seat of the VW and he was numb from the noise.

Never took a cross-country trip in a VW although I’ve owned half a dozen of them. Most of my trips were about 2-300 miles, which I guess seems like an eternity when you’re chugging along in hill country with a 40 Horse.

My wife (girlfriend at the time) and I went to Tulsa OK one Sat. night to see a concert: Black Oak Arkansas and Styx.
The temp was in the low 20s, 30 MPH wind out of the North, and the '61 Bug I had then had the most porous junction boxes of any VW I’ve ever owned.
Roughly 250 miles round trip with both windows cracked, heat (?) on full blast, and head rested against the glass the entire trip while trying to obtain some fresh air along with wiping the CO induced tears from my eyes now and then.

It seemed like a cross-country trip anyway. :wink: