Your VoPo is showing

In Germany, says Jack Baruth, the derisive term “VoPo” was applied to the Volkswagen-Porsche 914 in its four-cylinder form:

With just eighty horsepower, this was not a rapid car even by the standards of the day, and it cost plenty of money. The original cars turned a 19-second quarter-mile, and that got worse once the big bumpers and smog equipment of 1972 arrived. By 1974, the 914 2.0 cost $6000 in an era when a 911S cost twelve grand and the almighty Carrera cost $13,500. Put another way … a 1974 Z28 could be had with ALL the goodies for $4500, and it would smoke a seventy-six-horsepower emissions-compliant 914 six ways to Sunday.

The 914s were branded strictly as Porsches here in the States, so it was essential that they be priced like Porsches. A few 914/6 models with a six-cylinder engine emerged from the venture, and so did something even rarer:

A flared-fender, balls-out variant, the 916, exists mostly in myth. Six were produced and only two hundred of those survive today.

God bless those aftermarket parts suppliers.

Incidentally, “Vopo” could have meant something else:

“As West Germany debated last week whether it should have an army, East Germany was unmasking one.

“Five thousand jackbooted, blue-uniformed toughs swarmed into the border districts to put down disturbances by farmers trying to save their homes as the Reds bulldozed a three-mile-deep isolation corridor between East and West Germany. The blue-uniformed men, part of a 100,000-man force, are called the People’s Police (Volkspolizei, or Vopos, for short).”

About which, Baruth snarks:

Oh, just the tone of that article (from TIME) makes me nostalgic for the days when American journalists kind of, you know, liked baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and freedom. Nowadays, the Times would probably “embed” somebody with the Vopos and he would enthusiastically shoot farmers while talking about the need for social justice.

This seems a bit unfair. For all we know, the journalist might actually be reluctant to shoot farmers.

1 comment

  1. Mark Alger »

    4 August 2010 · 10:44 pm

    You’d be lucky if a modern journ-o-list would know which end of the tube the round comes out of.


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