Coming from a family of car enthusiasts, I pay attention. Not to engine details or cubic feet of cargo space- I'm an aesthetics girl. I like the way certain cars look. It's like moving architecture. The design and thought put into some models is mind blowing but other cars just seem to stand out in their simplicity.
The VW Beetle is one of those cars that happens to stand out. The "Escarabajo" really are everywhere down here. Sure, you'd see an original Bug now and then in MN, but due to the salt on the roads and the fact that they had not been sold in the US for so long, they were relatively rare. Not in Uruguay. I was really surprised when I started seeing so many here. Turns out that while most of the VW Beetle plants around the world closed in the 1970's, the plants in South America stayed open another 10 years or longer: The Uruguay plant closed in 1982 after a 20 year run, Peru shut down in 1987, and the Mexico plant was still producing the "original" Bug well into the 1990's (some sources say up until 2003). No wonder why you see them all over the streets here, and most in very good condition. When I was out walking the other day, I counted a total of 7.
Another story to come some day about the beloved MINI (we sold our 2002 MINI Cooper just before moving to MVD) and the rebirth of iconic small cars. Old MINIs are around in MVD, but even more prevalent are the gorgeous little original Fiat 500. Like the Bug, both the MINI Cooper and FIAT 500 have been redesigned and reintroduced, with much success. I'm partial to the old models though and that's what you see in Montevideo, so that's what shall be written!