Adios, Vochos!

Jude Brosnan shares some photographs that show that the motorcar is perhaps no longer the symbol of progress it once was, down Mexico way.

 

In the 1960s a Volkswagen Beetle factory opened in Mexico and they soon became the country’s standard box-car. VW Beetles, or ‘Vochos’ as they are lovingly nicknamed, were a symbol of modernity and Mexico’s economic growth. Green and white Beetles (vocho verdes) even became the official taxi.

On my first visit to Mexico in 2000 as a student on a gap year, I was struck by how many of these cars were on the roads. Over the years I returned to Mexico quite a few times and each time I saw fewer of this make of car. Working as a travel guide writer in Mexico City I cycled around everywhere using the city’s cycle hire scheme Ecobici and each time I visited the city I experienced the improvements in cycling infrastructure. Cycle lanes were appearing, more Ecobici docks were cropping up they even close down a main road that runs through the city and open it for bikes every Sunday so families can all ride safely together.

I thought it was interesting how over the years the VW Beetles have begun disappearing while cycling has taken off. I started taking pictures wherever I saw a bike and a Beetle together. The car usually represents modernity while the bike is seen as traditional. These pictures prove that here, the opposite is true.

These pictures were taken in DF and Chiapas and exhibited at venues in London and Birmingham in 2013.

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