Posted by: TomA | 30 August 2007

To wave or not to wave? The VW Beetle dilemna

I drive a 1975 VW Beetle. Much like bus drivers or those in MGBs, when two old Beetles pass each other on the road the drivers exchange a wave or a flash of the headlights to say hello. I have to say, I enjoy this, it never fails to put a smile on my face. This behaviour isn’t limited to VW Beetles, VW Campervans are included as well. I tend to find the wave I give more enthusiastic the older the van; especially for the original split screen vans (which are delicious!).

However, over the past week, several people in the New Beetle have waved at me as they past in the opposite direction. Three did this morning. I’ve not waved back to any of them.

Thing is, the New Beetle isn’t really a Beetle at all. It’s a VW Golf. I mean, it really is just a Golf, with a flabby body and a vase in the dashboard. And come on, its back to front! The engine and the driven wheels are at the wrong end! The New Beetle is just silly. So I don’t wave.

But am I right in not waving? They obviously believe they’re part of the club. For all I know, they like the old Beetle, just wanted modern car technology, like power steering, air-con or disc brakes. Yet I can’t bring myself to do it. They’re just not the same.

So does this make me a bigot? Am I discriminating for no substantial reason? What is the correct car etiquette? Please let me know…. Do the same rules apply for old/new Mini drivers, Fiat 500s, and so on?



  1. Hi

    You are gorgeously free to do or not do what you please and I respect that.

    But would ask you to reflect on whether another human being’s warm, happy acknowledgement of your existence and a shared moment is more important than a pile of metal, albeit a groovy pile of metal.

    We have a bog standard motorhome and it’s weird and culty how ones considerably smaller and ones considerably bigger don’t wave back. It’s a job sometimes to not say “small minded tosser” when it happens.

    Your choice, but the snub is what you leave in the world if you value the metal over a human. Personally, I think there’s enough alienation and carelessness in the world as it is. But it is your call.

    Hope if we ever pass each other in whatever mode of transport we’ll wave and smile.

    SPJ x

  2. I drive a low light Kombi. I too, love the little wave. But it’s not to be bandied about willy nilly. VW drives tend to fanatical about all those little things that make the VWs so close to our hearts; that little wave isn’t about a hunk of metal but a shared experience, a shared understanding about the cars. The drivers of the new beetles get only a part of that experince – the design of the body – so their wave seems a bit fake. However, I’m glad they do the wave because it means the vw vibe is still alive and strong. Let’s welcome them into the fold! (even if their machine isn’t air-cooled)

  3. went to bug-o-rama in CA yesterday. Funny thing.. I didnt see a single new beetle. have they all been run off? Or maybe they just arent as interested in the rows and rows of used parts as I am. 🙂

  4. I would say “bigot” might be pushing it…

    We live in a 78 Bus and I wave to all Vanagons, Buses and old Beetles every time. I’ve Ben turned around twice when I’ve missed someone just at a shot at maybe getting my wave in. It truly makes my day.

    That said, I used to wave to Eurovans, too, but they rarely waved back. I assumed this was because to them, they just had a mini-van. The time, love and devotion (and, of course, money) wasn’t put in, and they don’t feel that sense of Volkswagonism. I still wave to them but it doesn’t get me heart racing like waving to vintage VWs (Things included, of course).

    Today a women in a Vanagon (the 80’s/ early 90’s Buses) didn’t wave back to me, and I actually thought “What a b*tch!” to myself. She saw me, she was older, not some kid who just picked one up. I was offended, and more importantly, robbed of a rare wave in the east (we’re in NC and though there are a few around, it’s not like CO or OR).

    Anyway, in summation, my advice to you would be this: in life, whether in your Beetle or not, of someone waves to you, always wave back! The worst it can do is brighten someone else’s day.

  5. […] this isn't only a motorcycle problem. To wave or not to wave? The VW Beetle dilemna | Trying To Find The Perfect Match Between Pretentious… […]

  6. […] Further reading:  To wave or not to wave ? […]

  7. Just wave….

  8. I drive a New (2201) Beetle, If I could afford an original 1978 beetle I would have one. I wave as it is the spirit of love and peace, the joy of being in a beetle, old or new, is just that, pure joy. I have never known of beetle snobbery, as a hippy at heart, beetle snobbery has no place in my life, just wave and be happy that another beetle driver, old or new, is waving back at you. Peace, Love and Light x

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