Artist William Burge has found a way to artfully reattach all of the little pieces that have fallen off his 1968 Volkswagen Beetle. The results are far more impressive than the Bug's original and once-ubiquitous countenance. Actually, we counted all 21,000 gigashards of metal, and that's more metal than a '68 Type 1 contained, and even the steady diet of replacement parts doesn't account for the amount of cold-rolled whatever comprising this bodyshell. The car's exhibition at the Essen Motor Show is apropos on a whole bunch of levels.

The gargoyle-themed Volkswagen will fit right in among the cathedrals and castles in the city, which is a future European Capital of Culture for 2010. Being a cultural hub, the intricate suit of armor worn by Burge's once-humble Beetle will be understood for the masterpiece that it is, and the painstaking metal work that went into the car will not be lost on the home of the Krupp Iron Works. There's not much information to be found about the car, which Burge has named "Phantoms," though it's been on display in Essen from November 26th, and will be at the Motor Show until the 9th of December. We're dying for details, particularly how it was put together? What's the interior look like? Is it still being pushed around by a 1500? Can I borrow it to discourage parking in front of my house? One of you astute commenters out there must have more information; please share!

[Source: Winding Road, Photo: Martin Meissner/AP]