Wilt Chamberlain Volkswagen
1966 Volkswagen Ad

In a previous blog, I questioned whether Shaquille O’Neal truly had enough legroom to fit in that Buick LaCrosse—you know, the one in the commercial that has aired incessantly for more than a year. Today, I stumbled upon this ad, which shows the late basketball legend Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain (who, like Shaq, was 7-foot-1) trying to get into a Volkswagen Beetle back in the late 1960s.

Model-Year Madness! 10 Classic Ads From 1968

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8s4BAB5fEY]

Could he do it? Not quite.

“They said it couldn’t be done,” the ad’s headline said. “It couldn’t.”

The ad continued: “We tried. Lord knows we tried. But no amount of pivoting or faking could squeeze the Philadelphia 76ers’ Wilt Chamberlain into the front seat of a Volkswagen.”

But, the ad went on to say, maybe you could if you were a “mere 6’7″. . . . There’s more headroom than you’d expect. (Over 37 1/2″ from seat to roof.) And there’s more legroom in front that you’d get in a limousine.”

I’ve never been in one of these original VW bugs, but I’m sure that many of you have. So let me ask you: Do you think a 6-foot-7 man, such as fellow Sixers legend Julius Erving, could have fit inside an old Beetle?

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Wilt Chamberlain Volkswagen

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