Volkswagen’s final farewell to the Beetle is enough to make your heart soar

Volkswagen has a long history of memorable advertisements, going back to the classic “Lemon” and “Think Small” campaigns. The plucky, fun-loving Beetle has often been at the center of Volkswagen’s marketing, and now the ol’ Bug is getting one last moment in the spotlight. The Last Mile, an animated short film Volkswagen has made to send the Beetle off, doesn’t so much tug at your heartstrings as it does yank your still-beating ticker clear out of your chest.

With a version of The Beatles’ Let it Be performed by the Pro Musica Youth Chorus as its soundtrack, the 90-second film tells the tale of a young boy whose key life moments are all punctuated by the ubiquitous presence of a white Beetle. Featured in the film are colorful cameos from Andy Warhol, Kevin Bacon’s character from Footloose, Andy Cohen, and Ren McCormick.

“The Beetle is easily one of the most recognizable cars in the history of automobiles,” said Saad Chehab, senior vice president, VW brand marketing, in a statement. “Honoring it properly required a medium with just as much versatility and universal appeal as the car itself.”

VW ended production of the most-recent Beetle over the summer, while 2003 marked the end of the line for the old-school air-cooled Bug’s run. Both vehicles met their demise at Volkswagen’s plant in Puebla, Mexico.

The film aired on network television on ABC’s Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020.

farewell beetle graphic

This one hits a personal note for me. I bought a Ruby Red 1967 Beetle sedan last year, and I’ve been savoring the experience of getting to know the car and the community of enthusiasts that feed the flames of its enduring cultural significance. So many people have Beetle memories. I took my Bug to a car show over the summer, and an older woman practically begged me to let her sit inside it. “I just want to smell that Beetle smell,” she said. Of course, I obliged without protest, and the smile on her face said it all.

When I think of how much joy my car has probably given its various owners over the last 50 years, it’s pretty moving. I do plan on installing a new exhaust over the winter, as well as replacing the valve cover gasket and hopefully tidying up the interior, too. I doubt my ham-fisted tinkering will make the car take off into the air like in the end of the film, but there’s no arguing with the fact that driving a Beetle on a sunny day with no firm plans is enough to make my heart soar.

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