Friday, January 22, 2010
The Volkswagen Disposal Yard, Raymond, Mississippi
Raymond is a handsome little town southwest of Jackson, Mississippi. It features an elegant courthouse, historical buildings, and Hinds Junior College. But northwest of town on state Highway 467 is something just as unique: the place where old Volkswagens come to rest (maybe forever). To find it, drive west out of town on Main Street, and just after the Raymond-Bolton Road leads off to the right, look to the right and you will see a field full of mid-century examples of the people's car.
I have never seen anyone there, but a coworker said he occasionally sees a gent fixing a car. Also, every now and then a slightly less beat-up example appears on the grass near the mobile home, so there clearly is some sort of flux of parts and bodies.
Volkswagen Beetles are fun and plenty of folks have a fondness for them. But I'm not sure how many of these examples will ever go to good homes. And this is a humid environment, so rust takes its toll.
Look at the Type 412 (the red body) in the third picture. I remember these things. They were introduced around 1973 and only came with automatic transmission for the US market. Volkswagen was ahead of its time with gauging the American public's ineptness to manage complex technology like a clutch pedal (or gauging its laziness). The 412s did not last long in the market.
In the fourth photograph you can see a US-made first generation Rabbit. I never knew why they changed the name from Golf, which was used in the European versions. The Rabbit was pretty crummy because it had been Americanized with a softer suspension, softer seats, and other compromises that took away the fun factor. Unreliability and a tendency to rust didn't help its reputation. But the diesels got 50 mpg in the 1980s.
Update: Please click the link to see a similar Volkswagen yard in Moab, Utah.