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Auto blogTue, 31 Dec 2013 09:45:00 EST
Brazil: the country of carnivals, indescribable beauty adjacent to abject poverty, Ayrton Senna and old Volkswagen models. Only they're not old - they're new, they're just based on old designs. The original Beetle continued production there long after it had been phased out elsewhere, but the original Kombi van has lasted much longer. That ends today, however, with the iconic VW Microbus ambling out of production on the last day of 2013.
VW kept making the van in Brazil with the original air-cooled 1.2-liter boxer four until 2005, after which the original design was updated with a 1.4-liter water-cooled engine. Today, however, it ultimately falls prey to safety regulations that mandate that all vehicles - no matter how old their design - need to have airbags and ABS, forcing Volkswagen do Brasil to cease production of the Microbus after a 56-year production run. But the latest word is that the Kombi (as it's presently known) could get a stay of execution - or at least a resurrection in short order.
According to reports, the Brazilian government is looking into granting the Type 2 Microbus an exemption from said safety regulations, reasoning that the van was designed long before the advent of airbags and ABS. If the measure goes through, the Kombi Last Edition (pictured above) could prove not to be the last at all. So what do you think, should the Microbus get an exemption from Brazilian safety regulations for nostalgia's sake? Vote in our poll below, then have your say in Comments.
Convertibles make you do funny things. Ask someone if they'd drive a hardtop in near freezing temperatures with all the windows down and they might not even answer, thinking the question so ridiculous. Give that same person a convertible they love and you might just have to ask them to please put the top up even when snow is on the ground.
That guy has to take precautions to enjoy his proclivities, and as this new ad for the Volkswagen Beetle Convertible shows, not everyone understands. Have a watch below, and note that there's just one woman in the minute-long spot, and she's nowhere near the car. Seriously, why didn't VW run this commercial during the Super Bowl?
We record Episode #299 of the Autoblog Podcast tonight, and you can drop us your questions and comments via our Q&A module below. Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so, and if you want to take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.
Discussion Topics for Autoblog Podcast Episode #299
2013 Honda Accord