03.10.2022
to design or not to design: the long journey of the vws - from carburetor to failure

"Ha ha ha. In the back it is in."

Part 1: the history of the "lemon"

In the beginning – well, maybe not totally from at the beginning of it all, from the complete beginning, on – but nevertheless sometime quite at the beginning of the history of the people’s car in america stood – the word. The one word. It read: "lemon."

Back then, in 1961, it wasn’t even a foregone conclusion that one in ten of the good burgersleut, who at that time were the country’s magazines, "life", "saturday evening post", "redbook" etc., could do anything with this slang word. But there it stood. It was part of an advertising campaign that, from today’s point of view, is known as "classic" applies. It is even considered to be the most crude american advertising campaign of the 20th century. Century par excellence.

design or not to be: the long journey of the vws - from carburetor to failure

Vw advertising, usa, 1961: "lemon" – an early steve jobs? Or like

At that time, the good daughter and sons and also the good wives still asked their family board: "daddy, why is this car called a lemon?" and the good pappis answered possibly, "i don’t know, sugar. Maybe it’s sour because it’s a kraut car. A-ha-ha."

From today’s point of view, you can use the word without cultural tutoring again not understand. "Lemon" has taken on other meanings since then, it can z.B. Be a sexually explicit tale, so in a way a porno for teenage girls. Why then "lemon"? Because the juice runs when you print them. Don’t act so innocent, we live in the age of mass porn after all. That’s why "lemon" today also a lesbian, for comparable reasons.

Only in the third place one remembers the meaning of "scrap mobile", means a car that does not drive. In the vw commercials at that time you could see this strange old car with the ratselike signature, "mistkubel".

It was the "art" into the realm of pure commerce, an advertisement that behaved as if it were a painting by renee magritte. "Ceci n’est pas une pomme" did it hit with him or "… Une pipe", as you can look it up in hundreds of variations at google.

Here now instead of the sentence "this is not a car", the set, "with this car we have done everything wrong." shortly: "lemon". And the courtly american middle class burger, who very soon would want to buy this soap cistern, said betulich, "ooch, but it is not soooo bad at all."

In fact, the american didn’t realize that he was looking at a luxury export version of the vw, suitable for america, which the average german burgher in west germany would never have seen never the gdr anyway, but we have never seen anything like it. I refer once briefly to three differences: (a) the tires, (b) the indicators on the fenders and (c) the beautiful garden fence, vulgo stobstange, which surrounded the car front and rear.

The american also saw here a modern german advertising graphic, dominated by a then modern typeface, which was about to conquer the entire globe. This type was called helvetica, it was a sans-serif font that spawned hundreds of amusing graphic creations in america, and, for example, also in telepolis dominates the typeface to this day. (btw, without appreciable reading facilitation – try you once to distinguish in a helvetica text whether there is "illi" or "lili" but, as said before, it is a graphic designer-creation. And graphic artists are known not to read. But they are the most loyal servants of their masters – in advertising.)

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