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The Automotive Chronicles

Monthly newsletter published by McLellan's Automotive History. Dedicated to literature collectors, restorers, museums, publishers, manufacturers and investors who collect and preserve automotive literature
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April 2004 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
Volkswagen As Art
By Robert McLellan
 

When the VW Model 1100 first arrived in the United States in 1949 Americans had only their "chrome plated barges" to compare to the strange looking miniature German car. Journalists initially used the name "ugly duckling" to excess until owners began referring to their cars as "beetles".

Recognizing that their cars were the butt of jokes, VW American dealers developed an aggressive and innovative promotion program incorporating the Beetle name and poked fun at themselves much to the chagrin of the German management. The Wolfsburg advertising staff preferred a much more subtle approach and hired Bernd Reuters to beautify their products.

Reuters, a press illustrator in Berlin in the 1920s, began achieving notoriety with automobile renderings in magazines and brochures of several German manufacturers.

In 1948 he was commissioned by German Ford as an illustrator and, from 1950 until his death in 1958, he apparently was entirely committed to Volkswagen for brochure renderings. He also contributed prominently to the interior styling department as a supervisor as well as outlining giant and elaborate VW exhibit display stands for major car shows.

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The Automotive Chronicles, April 2004
 
 
 
 
 
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