There was a time when you could hear your friends coming down the road in their Volkswagen. The old vans and Beetles were the quintessential cheap cars to get you around, even if they needed constant maintenance. And the vans were called home by many a free spirit- and they still are! Here are 15 vintage photographs showing these buggies in action.

Key West, 1975. Via/ Flickr
Volkswagen showroom, 1960s. Via/ Library of Congress
Via/ Flickr
Key West, 1975. Via/ Flickr
In 1957 the convertible model was brand new! Via/ Flickr
Florida, 1975. Via/ Flickr
Man “lifting” Volkswagen in Tallahassee, 1957. Via/ Flickr

The Volkswagen bug was first imported to the U.S. in 1948, and by the early ’50s many Americans owned this iconic and affordable little car. The microbus or hippie van soon followed, eventually becoming the transport of choice for the counterculture on the go. But, many people used them for family camping trips or for delivery vehicles as well. For the price they were an exceptional value!

Emissions inspection, 1970s. Via/ Flickr
Florida, 1975. Via/ Flickr
Richmond weights & measures inspector outside Stafford Self Service store, 1959. Via/ Flickr
Midway City, CA, 1965. Via/ Flickr
Long Key State Park, FL, 1975. Via/ Flickr
Emissions inspection, 1975. Via/ Flickr
Toronto, 1970. Via/ Flickr
Oakland, CA, 1960. Via/ Flickr

That’s it for these wonderful vintage photographs of Volkswagens. Click here to check out how riding in cars has changed over the years!