In one example, we completely dissected a Volkswagen Beetle, to the level of the smallest component, then organized all of these by their material and measured each group’s accumulated mass. These masses are represented in 42 pure material volumes that begin to tell a variety of stories. The automobile, from 1980, contained surprising amounts of horsehair, cotton, and cork, amongst other unexpected commodities. These relate a tale about availability, tradition, and the state of our technical and material knowledge almost four decades ago. The collection of cubes also hints at the tangle of military engagements and the persisting forms of mercantilism of that era.