Why Did Bundy Drive A VW Bug?

What can you say about a 1968 Volkswagon Bug? You could say it was a tiny car with hardly any leg room, it wasn’t a particularly flashy car, and its engine was in the back. VW Bugs had pretty good gas mileage, but nothing to write home about. You could also say that hardly any authority would think to find a serial killer behind the wheel of a VW Bug. Whether Ted Bundy knew that or he just preferred the Bug with its stick shift and small backseat, it was certainly a car he preferred.

Me with Bundy's 68 Bug
Me with Bundy’s 1968 VW Bug at the now defunct Washington D.C. “Crime and Punishment Museum.”

One of the main reasons Bundy preferred driving a Bug was because he could easily remove the passenger seat to easily control his victims once they were unconscious. He could quickly handcuff a young woman to the passenger door, ensuring she couldn’t escape until they arrived at their destination. To avoid anyone noticing his unconscious passenger, all he had to do was cover her up with a blanket. Bundy was never pulled over with a victim in the car, leaving one to wonder if cops looked right past his “ordinary” car.

Registration for Bundy's car
Registration for Bundy’s car

Bundy didn’t just drive his own VW Bug while racking up thousands of miles on the odometer. His fiancée, Liz, also had a light blue VW Bug. In fact, it was her car he was driving when he abducted and murdered two women at Lake Sammamish in July, 1974. He later mentioned stealing a Volkswagon while on the run from police in 1977 and really digging driving it.Overall, Ted was a Volkswagon man, zipping here and there in his tiny, indistinct death machine. Never one to stay still, he killed women in at least eight states during the 1970’s skirting the law in his beige 1968 VW Bug. For a time, he was truly a terror on the highway.

Published by

E.J. Hammon

I live in North Carolina and I'm fascinated by all things "murder." Ted Bundy is the first serial killer I ever studied and I have always felt very drawn to him. Find me on Twitter @rosedysfunction. Hope to see you at CrimeCon 2020 in Orlando!

6 thoughts on “Why Did Bundy Drive A VW Bug?

  1. Some people stick to owning cars similar to the first car they’ve driven or owned. I think Bundy could have found features useful for his purposes in just about any car made.

    My first car was a VW Bug because my father owned one at one point and I thought is was unique despite it being so ubiquitous at the time.

    I later had a VW Karmann Ghia, a 1968-1/2, the 1/2 due to a mid-year change.

    Were I to own another VW, it would likely be a Bug or a Ghia although I’ve long switched to classic Jaguars mainly because I like working on cars and Jaguars offer PLENTY of opportunities to work on them. LOL

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  2. Good article, noticed the the rust on the hood, which looks like old dried blood, has a sinister looking clown on the top rust spot. I feel the Beetle combined w his charismatic, humanities professor vibe, makes him extra creepy in a “you really never know who you can trust” kinda way. Oh, I think the “banality of evil” also applies to his preferred automobile.

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  3. I was a young Airman in the USAF in late August or maybe the first few days of September of 1970 I was stationed in Spain but returned to the US on leave to be present for the birth of my daughter. On the way back I made it to Upper State NY taking military flights. I learned there was a flight at Westover AFB leaving that evening for my base in Spain. The only option I had to be there on time was to hitch a ride so I went to the nearby freeway. After a short time a man in a VW Beetle stopped and offered me a ride although his route would not take me directly to Westover. We chatted and after a while he suggested we stop for sidewalk pizza at a location he knew of. We grabbed our pizza and drove off. He had breezed through a couple of stop signs and was pulled over and cited. The officer required him to appear in court immediately. I believe he was fined $25 for the offense. We then continued on and he complained about the fine and being low on money. I told him I could give him $25 if he would alter his route to get me to Westover on time. He replied “I will make it sporting, if I don’t get you there on time you don’t need to pay me”. I told him I would give him the money anyway. We managed to be there about one hour early but the crew bus was loading and the plane left early. I made it there paid the guy, expressed my gratitude and the man in the VW drove away. I never gave that encounter another thought until years later when Ted Bundy was in the news. I didn’t remember the name of the fellow who gave me the ride but I do remember he was the right age to possibly have been Bundy. Some other observations: The VW had the rear seat bottom removed. He had been in Canada and was transporting several cases of beer which was stacked in the back. He blew through 2 stop signs similarly to Bundy’s Utah apprehension in 1975 . I remember he said he was on his way to Florida. I have often wondered if that guy who befriended me for a short time in NY was indeed Ted Bundy. I wish I had access to Bundy’s DMV report. I suppose I will never know for sure.

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    1. As far as I can tell, Ted was in Washington state throughout the year of 1970. He restarted his education at Univ of Washington as a psychology major. Though I can’t discount your experience as a Ted sighting entirely, it seems unlikely he was out giving men (not his chosen victim type) rides. The closest to NY he was known to be was in New Jersey and NYC. Do you remember the color of his car? How tall was he? It would be interesting to know more about the individual’s travels.

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