Tag Archives: VW

Volkswagen – Everyone Had One ©

Volkswagen Stories by BOBB readers:  Peter, Alastair, Richard, Katie, & Cathe

VolkswagenPeter’s Volkswagen story I’m a certified VW fan-for-life.  I’ve had 13 VWs – three of which were Bugs. I think my Volkswagen love affair began when my parents brought me home in a square-back VW name Monk.

I bought my first VW from my roommate for $50 – I drove it for 2 years, and then gave it to my sister who had it for another three.  The only think I had to do to it was add a front bumper to pass Vermont inspection.  I didn’t have money for an actual VW bumper, so I bolted a 2 x 8 to the front.  Apparently they aren’t very strict about what constitutes a bumper in VT.

The next Bug I purchase at the Coliseum Flea Market in Oakland for $300.  It was a pristine ’73 Super Beetle in a very yellow, yellow.  Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that buying cars at a flea market might not be the best idea.  The guy who sold it was not the guy who owned it.  This make registration tricky … I drove it for about a year before the engine blew.

My final Bug was a ’68 that a friend gave me.  I had planed to build a Baja rig out of it, however, after leaving it a Todd’s warehouse for a while, it was stolen.  Todd later found it by Kelly’s Mission Rock – back when it was a less savory place.  We went to get it and found two guys underneath with wrenches, scavenging bits and pieces.  I asked if they getting any good stuff off “my” car.  The made them nervous and the stared apologizing and stammering.  So much of the car was already missing that we let them continue.  I pulled the plate and the VIN badge and we left.

Always loved the Bugs – Terrific in the VT snow and so simple.

Alastair’s Volkswagen story  – I never had a VW, but I always wanted one. It would’ve been black.

Richard’s Volkswagen story – I’m guessing just about everyone who was a teener in the 60′s and 70′s has a VW story, many of them love/hate.

 When I was 16 I played a practical joke on a friend and rolled his VW Bug around the corner and parked facing down a hill.  What I didn’t know was that the parking brake wasn’t actually working.  The Bug later slipped loose and smashed into a giant Chrysler.  I spent the rest of the summer painting houses to reimburse my friend. Ouch.  I have section in my store of VW replicas, vans and bugs, which jogs the memory of many customers, and they share their stories, and I would have to say in the collective VW consciousness, there is more Love.

 Katie‘s Volkswagen story – My first car was a blue ’68 Bug.  My dad brought it home in 1976 and told me “you owe me $900″.  He was not into collaborative decision-making. I barely knew how to shift and avoided hills and stops as much as possible in the beginning.  I had that car for about ten years.  It caught on fire TWICE.  The fuel line to the carburetor would rattle loose and poor gas on the engine.  Poof! It had a big black spot on the engine compartment so she became known as SPOT.

On a vacation she broke down one night on the free road.  We hitchhiked into town and came back the next day to find her stripped down to the axles.  They even stole my 8-track player.  Luckily my friend’s mom had a Volkswagen.  We ran home, took her tires and wheels off, ran back, put them on mine and towed her home.  Put his mom’s tires back on her car and she probably never knew.  Eventually I sold Spot to a VW guy who made her into a Baja Bug.  Wonder when she is now?

Cathe’s Volkswagen story – My boyfriend had a VW Bug for over 16 years until someone at the bank (where he parked), had issues and slammed his transmission into reverse, roared back and demolished it.  He would still have the Volkswagen if that had not happened.

photo by shinazy

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VW Beetle, aka, The Bug ©

VW owned by Shinazy

VW

It’s December 1969. I’m writing a check for $1,700, making me the proud owner of a Tan Volkswagen Beetle, equipped with a powerful 54 hp engine and an Automatic Stick Shift transmission. Yes, VW made automatics, actually semi-automatics, I still shifted through the gears, but no choreographing my feet, as there was no clutch pedal – Hallelujah. However, this improvement decreased the power, but it was easier to operate. And operate it I did, for the next thirty-eight years.

My VW reflected my personality, became my middle child, and a character in my history.  My daughter is a few years older than my VW and twelve years older than her brother, so most of my adult history involved undertakings with my three children.

One of my daughter’s birthdays, I hauled eleven pre-teen girls and my friend, Jean, to play miniature golf.  As I stood in the driveway staring at the Bug, then at the mob of girls, then the car . . . How was I going to get all these bodies into such a tiny space?  Could I use dad’s college-students-crammed-into-a-phone-booth technique to continue the birthday celebration?  What about everyone’s comfort and survival?  Like logs in a cord of wood I stacked the girls, they thought this was the best thing we did all day.

Creating childhood memories was as much fun for me as it was for my children.  Being mom gave me another chance to play, be silly, experience life.  I also wanted to create holiday traditions.  Every Christmas there was the excursion to the tree farm. Folks in the parking lot with their trucks and station wagons would stare as I lashed a tree, longer and wider than my Beetle, onto the roof and proceeded to secured it with lines and knots that would hold the Titanic to any dock.

The Bug was more than my tree toting truck. One Labor Day, returning from Volcano, CA, roasting in stop-n-go traffic, my son and I decided a water fight would be a welcomed activity.  While sitting inside the car – a plastic interior has its advantages – we splashed each other until we looked like it had rained.  There we sat, all wet and smiling and cool.  We stopped at every gas station to refill our bottles … and the battle continued.

Although there were many joyous experiences, the lack of power was always an issue.  When my son finally weighed 100 pounds I stopped parking the VW in the up hill direction. It’s hilly here so this parking technique was …if not impossible, at least, impractical. Whenever it was the two of us in the VW, I would have him walk to the corner and wait for me; I’d eventually get there, and then, there was the incident when his grandmother was a passenger and he had to give the VW a push to get the bug moving.

During the entire thirty-eight-Bug-driving years I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area where freeway on-ramps were driveway entrances to bumper-car traffic.  And, around here anywhere I went I encountered undulating streets. All this resulted in me driving in the slow lane watching cars flash by at the posted speed limit, while I visualize my car passing the slower car ahead.

Every few years, when I just could not take it any more, I’d decide to “buy a fast car.”  After a few months the urge would pass and I’d continued to be passed, but it all stopped in 2007. Oh, did it ever … zoom, zoom.

My sister wanted me to end this story with these words: “And my sister was soooo thrilled when she no longer had to ride with me in this classic car?”

Little does she know it was her visit that started the twenty-five year plan to go from zip to zoom. But that’s another story.

photo by shinazy

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