Stretching the truth: A ’71 Volkswagen Beetle as U.S. Army staff car

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California car culture expresses wit as well as beauty.

One cultural subspecies, the rat rod, is perfectly suited for humor, as we see in this ’71 Beetle, in Yucca Valley, California.

In distortion, the Bug reflects reality. Its parody accentuates truth.

There’s plenty of the above with this faded, pockmarked peanut.

Olive drab and white-stenciled, the Beetle crosses lines as a U.S. Army staff car. It would be the motor pool’s bon vivant.

With torches and tools, the fabricator strips away fenders, bumpers, and handles. He flattens, elongates, and squeezes the body.

By adding implausible ornamentation, he suggests a finishing course onstage at the Improv. Exaggerated rear tires fatten up the punchline.

Much skill required in this job, but even more imagination.

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