I was first bitten by The Bug back in 1968. My father purchased a brand new red VW AutoStick Beetle for my mother. Although I’m sure it wasn’t intended for me, it just so happened that was the year I turned sixteen and got my drivers license. I put that Beetle through all the paces a young, new driver (foolishly) could. Like, seeing how fast I could make it go, cutting donuts in the snow, even taking a curve too fast and clipping a signpost. Ah, the follies of youth!
It wasn’t long and I wore it out, and the old man traded in for some American-made steel. But the die was cast and the Volkswagen brand had captured me.
About 1983, I bought a ’73 Bus, orange and white (sadly, I have no pictures of it). I was still pretty young, foolish and without the knowledge and tools necessary to properly maintaining a beast of its nature. A high-speed (as high as it would go) trip out to the Grand Canyon pretty much cooked the engine, and I let it go on the cheap to a fellow who probably scrapped it.
Time marched on, yet the desire for VW's continued to grow, if only subliminally.
Then, in 1998, I was casting about for a cool car to buy and happened upon a red 1970 standard Beetle that was being sold by a college girl, whose parents mandated the sale, feeling the car was too “unsafe” for her 250 mile commute between Kansas City and Wichita. It had recently had the Earl Scheib cheapo paint job, but it looked great when wax was applied. I used that car as my “daily driver” for twelve years before I sold it to a fellow VW enthusiast, who promised he would keep it alive. During the years I owned Sport (as I named the car) I gathered tools and manuals and taught myself the fine art of VW maintenance. I even rebuilt the engine!
Still, it was the Ancient One I lusted after. One day, I happened upon a gentleman who wanted to sell his aborted resto project, a 1956 Beetle. I went out to have a look. The body was off the pan. The motor sat in a corner. Boxes filled with interior parts (like seats, trim, etc.) were stacked around the pan. I bought the basket case. Read the story here (links open in new window).
In 2005, I purchased a 1974 Westfalia camper bus that was in pristine condition. It had been garaged for most of its life and only had 40k miles on it. I named it “Tullio”, in honor of T. Campagnolo, famous for bicycle parts. He has served my wanderlust well, taking annual trips out west to the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce and many other great places where I hike and camp. And I learned (from my previous Bus experience) that “the slow lane is your friend”. Read his story here.
After I sold Sport, there was a brief interlude when I owned a PT Loser, er, I mean Cruiser. While it served me well hauling my drums around, it lacked power. I think it did 0-60 in like 3 minutes.
Then I happened upon a 2009 VW Tiguan for sale by owner locally. I bought the car and named him Dubster. This car has zip, fitted with a 2.0 litre turbocharged motor. I like it a lot, even if it is an SUV! It’s still a Volkswagen!
So, now, my stable is once again all-VW. If that isn’t obssessive I don’t know what is!