Volkswagen Beetles in Mexico City – the last of the beloved vocho

If you’re looking for an excuse to go to Mexico City, there are plenty. Although there are no beaches around for hundreds of miles, North American’s largest metropolis claims to have more museums than any other city in the world. The region is renowned for amazing food and I proved that, eating more tacos than I should probably admit.

Distrito Federal is also a goldmine for architecture lovers, highlighted by art deco apartment buildings, and intriguing 20th century landmarks like Torre Latinoamericano, Museo Nacional de Antropologia and the art nouveau Palacio de Bellas Artes.

But the sprawling city is also home to a piece of automotive history that is slowly fading away – Mexico’s beloved vocho, the Volkswagen Beetle.

Lime Beetle in front of a lemon building in the colonial town of Puebla.

vocho-roma-mexico-cityVolkswagen first set up shop in Mexico to produce Beetles in the 1960s and in 1967 the German manufacturer opened a major plant in Puebla, not far from the nation’s capital. That factory became the last one to manufacture the original Beetle, with the final car rolling off the assembly line in 2003.

The vocho was an unofficial symbol of Mexico for many years. At one point they made up a third of all cars sold in the country. Now, their numbers are quickly dwindling as residents and taxi drivers move on to more modern cars, which are safer, cleaner and more comfortable.

It’s no longer possible to get into the white and green Beetle taxis that ruled Mexico City’s streets for many years. But thankfully, if you spend any time exploring the metropolis, you’re still bound to encounter Beetles in their natural habitat. You won’t just see punch buggies either. On my trip in February 2016, I saw many vintage Volkswagen buses and a wide array of oddball vintage jalopies that sometimes had me wondering exactly what I was looking at.

I hope you enjoy the photos of just a few of the Beetles I encountered in Mexico City, as well as a smattering of other cars I came across!

A VW Bus and a few empties on a steet in the Coyoacan neighbourhood.
A late-1940s Mercury alongside a typical vocho in Colonial Roma.
An International Travelall outside a restaurant in Condesa.
A cute little VW Bus outside the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan.

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