Main Question or Discussion Point
Something like 23 million sold, all over the world, during the years they were manufactured.
It's not simple to explain why they were so popular. They weren't particularly good cars, though they had their quirky strengths: good in snow, being the one I've seen most often mentioned. They got good gas mileage for the times, in contrast to the big gas guzzlers around them, but, speaking of gas, they were also prone to engine fires due to bad engineering on the fuel lines. They weren't sturdy, safe cars, and if you looked at the engines cross-eyed, they'd start leaking oil.
What really surprises me is how popular they still are. I'm not talking about the new version, I'm talking about the 1978 and older ones. I've been paying attention lately and I see them still out there being driven, all over the place. Every week I seem to see about 4 of them I've never seen before. People won't let them die. Many, many companies are still manufacturing replacement parts for them, even brand new engines. Search Craigslist in your area and see how many are up for sale. My impression is there are more of these than any other "classic" car, being revived and restored, and driven as people's primary vehicles. I would love to find out how many made between '46 and '78 are currently registered in the U.S.
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