In 1998, the world was gripped by Pokémon fever, and Nintendo was in the early stages of promoting this Game Freak creation in Western countries after its runaway success in Japan. As a quirky marketing gimmick, Nintendo decided to customize 20 Volkswagen Beetle cars into “Pikachu Cars” featuring the franchise’s iconic, electric yellow mouse—Pikachu. Now, years later, Pokémon archivist Grace Klich has embarked on a quest to preserve this fascinating yet forgotten slice of Pokémon history.
Rediscovering the Pokémon Legacy with @mewisme700
Known in the digital realm as @mewisme700 on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, Grace Klich has been a dedicated Pokémon merch collector since her high school days in 2010. While most fans were engrossed in video games and anime, Klich has always been more attached to the physical merchandise, viewing them as vital links to Pokémon’s bygone eras.
The Origin of the Pikachu Cars
Based on Klich’s extensive research, the 20 unique Pikachu cars were initially used at promotional events in various locations, including Topeka, Kansas. Each car was numbered, and Grace Klich is the proud owner of Pikabug #7. Eventually, the cars were repurposed to promote Pokémon 3: The Movie and given away in contests by Warner Bros. and AOL.
The Search and Acquisition
Klich had heard rumors that one of these unique Beetles was located in Virginia and went to great lengths to track it down. She eventually found it on a Facebook listing in 2019 and persuaded the owner to sell it to her, owing in part to her proximity and knowledge about the car.
Cost of Preservation
The car was in rough shape when Klich acquired it, leading her to invest around $6,000 in repairs and taxes. The focus of her spending has been mostly on bodywork and the iconic Pikachu tail protruding from the trunk.
Other Rare Finds
Beyond her Pikachu car, Klich also owns a Lugia PT Cruiser, another rare vehicle modeled after a Pokémon from the Gold and Silver series. Finding it through a Facebook group for New Beetle enthusiasts, she couldn’t resist adding it to her collection despite the financial strain.
The Role of Social Media
Social media platforms like TikTok have played a pivotal role in expanding her reach and building a community interested in vintage Pokémon merchandise. Her platform serves as a valuable archive, helping her and others to uncover lost media and artifacts that document the franchise’s rich history.
The Importance of Archiving
According to Klich, archiving is more of a waiting game, often requiring fans to digitize old VHS footage or unearth forgotten promotional materials. Klich is driven by a mission to preserve even the most obscure aspects of Pokémon’s history, from live-action pirate shows to forgotten Pikachu-emblazoned Colgate toothpaste.
Grace Klich’s passion for preserving the overlooked facets of Pokémon history serves as a reminder that every piece of the franchise—no matter how odd or obscure—has value and significance. As Pokémon continues to evolve, it’s crucial to remember and cherish its origins, something that dedicated fans and archivists like Klich work tirelessly to achieve.
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