A Car for People
Short story about a much loved vehicle
The car for People
When the heavy bombers flew back to their bases in England they turned a modern factory into a smoking ruin.
Wolfsburg was selected by the National Socialist to build a people’s car and it was called Volkswagen . Mainly designed by Porsche , in 1931 he was a leading vehicle engineer of the day . Incidentally the rest of the German car industry were not in favour of expanding car ownership to the working class . If there was anything that you could say in favour of this authoritarian regime it was the dismantling of the class structures, not unlike what was happening in Soviet Russia .( funny thing is that as I understand history , it’s the oppressive Authoritive regimes that often use the class struggle to oppress everyone) So this factory was built especially to produce a simple reliable people’s car . The Government introduced a Save for your Car Scheme for the Hard working Germans to put aside some marks and eventually they would be the proud owners of their very own car . This was all part of the Strength through Joy , which included many other rewards for the Hard Working Germans
. But no hard working worker ever got to drive their dream , as the war took over and the factory abandoned the Beetle as it was later to be called and the workers spent more time in air raid shelters , their dreams became nightmares.
When the war was finally over a British car enthusiast called Major Hurst got the factory working again with an order for 20:thousand cars for the British army of the Rhine
Then in the early 50s a transporter appeared , apparently this was a design by a Dutchman ,as transporter was initially a vehicle based on the car but to be used by commercial companies. It was produced in many guises
and one was called the Samba , my story is about a 1968 model
When Samba was born it had seats to carry nine and a full length sun roof with small curved windows in the roof it was indeed .handsome . After a few years as this people carrier it was bought by youngish couple for £600 a very reasonable sum for its condition and at the time anonymity.
They ran a small vegetarian cafe and also did outside catering , all night rock concerts at the local university and one year positioned itself at the top of the Ditching Beacon to serve refreshments to the cyclist on the London to Brighton annual rally.
By this time the seats had been removed and a carpenter had been employed to create a camper that could still be used for these catering functions.
When they could get away for a few days it could be found in a quiet corner of England in the early dawn with the gentle sounds of Beethoven’s Pastoral symphony issuing from a recently installed stereo sound system. With the roof open and the early summer sun streaming in life was good.
Attached to one of the side doors was a very neat stove and this foody couple prepared quite elaborate meals to satisfy a hungry body when they returned after a long days hiking .
Pretty soon their peaceful idyll was disturbed by the arrival of a very active boy child who was accommodated in a travel cot along the front seats which could hold 3 adults and often , as this was a people carriage stopped for the occasional hitch hiker who would squeeze up with the happy couple and share the delights of the open road.
But it wasn’t just in England that this growing family travelled they were to be seen in Denmark visiting Legoland to suffice the insatiable demands of their child’s need to add to his growing pile of bricks..
They even. took the risky chance of taking along their parents for a gite holiday in France .
After a few more years another boy child took up residence in Samba and the vehicle acted as a hospital when the little one had an attack of croup . The wonderful stove came into action to boil water to creat a steamy environment to ease the coughing infant.
Another duty that this increasingly popular mechanical home was called upon, was to transport excitable children of the radical youth group that the idealistic couple had joined.
But I’m afraid this idealistic life was nearing its end as one of the couple went off with another band member, yes Samba also played a minor role in a folk band as a roady.
As the family split up, the cafe had been sold off a long time ago, Samba was in many ways redundant and more practical considerations raised their ugly heads . And this rather warn piece of metal was replaced by a rather cheeky French bird a 2cv . But market forces had intervened and the resale value had skyrocketed. A Samba in prime condition could fetch up to £30000 .
So I’ve reached the end of my bitter sweet tale . I hope you’ve enjoyed my road trip as I certainly did.