Chicago Sun Times writes
If the stockings aren't full yet, here's some stuff
BY CHRIS WHITEHEAD STAFF REPORTER
Baby you can drive my car
This is one of the most fun things to come to the office all year: "The Beetles: Greatest Sounds of the '60s and '70s." No, not John, Paul, George and Ringo. VW Beetles.
Somebody recorded engine and horn sounds from a bunch of vintage Bugs and put 30 tracks on a CD you can get from www.beetlesounds.com. One editor here liked it so much his computer now honks every time he gets e-mail.
You probably won't want to put it on your iPod, but roll down the windows and play it while you drive.
Contributing: Michael Gillis, AP
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Cleveland Plain Dealer writes
Bug your fellow drivers: Pop in a Beetles CD
Plain Dealer Columnist
Apparently there are no boundaries in the quest to indulge our selves in memories of motoring in what has tragically become - for many of us - the good old days.
For example, nobody ever accused the '60s-era Volkswagen Beetle's scrappy little engine and exhaust system of having a melodic sound. The attraction was that the engine sounded lots better than the slower- motion patter of putting one foot ahead of the other while humming "The Times They Are A-Changin."
Nevertheless, in a four-cylinder tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit, we now have a new compact disc titled "The Beetles. Greatest Sounds of the '60s and '70s."
"The Beetle . . . sounds like a lawnmower coming down the street. You can't beat the sound of an old Volkswagen," said R. Charles Gilfix, a Massachusetts man who helped create the CD.
The engine sounds on the disc are the 1960 1,100 cubic centimeter, the 1973 1600 cc and the 1978 1600 cc fuel-injected. The 30 tracks have irresistible titles, such as:
"Idle with engine revs."
"3rd gear at 35 mph."
"Turn off, handbrake"
The recordings were made by Gilfix's sound engineer in California, where owners of perfect-condition Beetles agreed to help.
First, they tried recording in a garage with the vehicles on a lift. But that didn't sound right. So, in the middle of the night, without interference from the sounds of more-sophisticated vehicular creations, they drove around with the sound equipment in the back seat and a microphone outside the vehicle, just above the engine compartment.
Gilfix recommends that the appropriate track be played at the appropriate time, ideally with the windows down.
Imagine, there you are in your Lexus at a traffic light with the super- duper stereo cranked up, making Toyota's finest luxury car sound like a 1960 1100 cc Volkswagen engine being revved.
While the four-cylinder sound is more amusing than titillating, Gilfix argues that the attraction isn't so much about the sound as the memory.
"Nobody has bad memories of a Volkswagen. It always evokes fond memories of a place or a time," he said in a telephone interview.
Well, people who experienced the token heaters of the early Beetles may have bad memories of hypothermia.
But Gilfix contends that even people who never owned a Volkswagen are part of the VW world because there is a kind of several-degrees-of- separation rule. That means even if you didn't own a Beetle, you probably were close to somebody who did.
This rule neatly covers Gilfix and keeps him from merely being a shameless exploiter of nostalgic Baby Boomers: His sister owned a Beetle.
The only problem is how do you hum along with a tune called "Downshift, 3-2?"
The disc is $12.99, and more information is available at www.BeetleSounds.com or by calling 978-536-9144.
To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:
© 2004 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.
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