2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Get the Led Out
November 27, 2012
Maybe only nerd-level classic rock lovers (card-carrying member, I am) will appreciate the irony of jamming some Zeppelin over a Fender-branded audio system. Zep guitarist Jimmy Page became synonymous with Gibson Les Paul guitars once the band became a household name, and Gibson was Fender's primary rival among rock guitar gods.
But in the group's earliest days, Page actually forged Zeppelin's heavy blues template on a Fender Telecaster.
The Tele was, and still is, a versatile axe. But its pickup design ultimately couldn't deliver the heft that Page later found in a Les Paul fed through the amplifiers of the day.
The Beetle's Fender system -- which is really a Panasonic-designed and supplied system -- is surprisingly good. Crisp, clear highs, slightly biased bass and midrange. Nothing too audiophile about it, just clear with good volume. Then again this is only a cursory impression, 40-year-old bootlegs being only so useful in judging sound quality.
Anyway, the Zep/Fender/Beetle connection has a nice symmetry to it. I'm guessing the Beetle in all its incarnations has hosted more hazy Zeppelin listening parties than any other car in history.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor