Craft & Design Energy & Sustainability
VW Bug exploded view poster

Mark posted this on Boing Boing and it made my heart all a-flutter. It reminded me of both my first car, St. Francis the Wonder Car, a yellow, ’63 VW bug, and the John Muir book, How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive, that kept it going. The car was called St. Francis ’cause a lot of fervent praying was involved in keeping it alive and the Wonder Car ’cause it stayed alive for YEARS beyond its prime. It was the first car whose mechanics I knew intimately. It was the last car whose mechanics I knew intimately. I really loved working on it and I loved Muir’s book for making it so seemingly easy to do. And the illustrations of this man, the late Peter Aschwanden, had a lot to do with creating that air of accessibility and agency. I like Mark’s comment on the BB post:

His cover illustration for The Septic System Owner’s Manual almost makes me wish I had a septic tank.

Me too. And I just might just have to buy this Bug poster.

Peter Aschwanden

16 thoughts on “VW Bug exploded view poster

  1. I imagine that it reminded you of the ‘The Idiot’s Guide’ because the picture is in there!

    TONS of neat mechanical artwork in that tome…and different versions may have different pics. I have the collection of guides and remnants of guides I have found in VW’s over the years somewhere in my shop.

    Thanks for the memory jog… I really should ‘upgrade’ my spiral bound version to coffee table status.

    Sad to hear of Peter’s passing…hopefully he is cruzin’ in a 23 window with Jerry singing in the back :)

    1. And THAT’s why it reminded me of the car and the book!

      Re: Upgrading
      I’ve thought of getting a copy of the recent 19th edition, not ’cause I have a Bug anymore, just for nostalgia-sake. I don’t know what happened to my greased-up working copy. I assume I have it away with the car.

  2. That’s the actual title, god bless ’em.

    Great guide, although he did kinda drift off point from time to time, a great read anyway.

    I used to tune my 74 bug with a 10mm wrench, a Swiss army knife and a feeler gauge. Ran like a watch. Simple, fuel efficient and just wouldn’t die.

    On the down side it was a “heat on” bug. Great in winter, kinda harsh in summer. (Bugs were of two vintages, heat on or heat off). And the brakes were kinda pathetic being drums. “Drum brakes will slow ya down… Disc brakes will stop you.”

    And safety… well… who would hit a bug? Or so I repeated to myself while pockapocking down the road.

    1. The FULL title is “How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot”

      The first “idiot’s” guide, I believe.

      And I know what you mean about the drifting off point. I though that was kind of charming about his writing.

  3. I drive and maintain a 78 Super Beetle. I found three copies of How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive in a used book store. Two where in pretty good shape, but I got the one with bent covers and greasy finger prints. It was the only one spiral bound so it lies flat on the garage floor, always open to the right page. I’m often grateful for that, and I sometimes wish more books and manuals were spiral bound, like cook books and software development guides.

    Also, as the book points out, the illustrations are not full of cutter like photographs would be. The drawings show only the information that is important which makes them so much easier to understand, not to mention fun to look at.

  4. Way back when I was young and fit, we put a military radio in the back of one of these (and you thought hippies were anarchic?). If you field-stripped that, you’d end up with at least double the parts…

  5. A friend of mine (with a Kombi) had that on his office wall years ago.

    Having just (about) finished a 6 year, total restoration of a car (MGB not VW) I can say you really can get a car into that state and put back together again!

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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