April 12, 2002 11:00 pm
SEEING TRIPLE: Volkswagen Beetles line Fourth Street. (Observer photos/LAURA MACKIE-HANCOCK).
SEEING TRIPLE: Volkswagen Beetles line Fourth Street. (Observer photos/LAURA MACKIE-HANCOCK).

By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

This family loves Bugs.

But not the hard-shelled, multi-legged variety. The bright-colored, driveable variety of Beetles.

Tom Strandberg, an employee of the Oregon Department of Transportation, had a 1957 VW panel van as his first vehicle when he moved to La Grande. Hes seldom been without a Bug or three or four in the years since.

He confesses that there has been a Toyota Tercel in the mix, but the Volkswagens are his


I see them all over, and some look kind of sad, like lost puppies that need a home, he confesses to explain his feelings.

Thats when he looks at his wife with heartfelt pleading in his own eyes.

Can I give it a home?

And that, he says, in when his wife looks at him, with a much sterner look. And not much sympathy. Some of the current crop of Bugs need homes other than the Standbergs now. In fact, two are for sale.

Parked in the garage and not for sale is a 1967 deluxe VW microbus that Strandberg is trying to get running. Thats the last model, he notes, made with the split front windshield.

Hed like to sell two of the Beetles he has so he can finish up work on the microbus.

The cars are a family affair, he adds, since his oldest daughter, 19, is currently driving the dark green one all over La Grande.

The Strandbergs three Beetles are all 70s models, he notes, and that does mean that the family tries to keep them as in-town vehicles.

They are pretty reliable, Strandberg says, but we dont drive them out of town. They are old.

And one more detail. The Strandbergs are happy to see spring arrive, since, as rumored, old Bugs have notoriously unreliable heaters and are nowhere near as warm as a

well-fed puppy.

Reach T.L. Petersen at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it