Monday, February 08, 2010

Reflections on the VW Bug - Greatest Car Ever

We called them Beetles, or more often, a Bug. I know I really miss the real beetles (greatest car Everrrr!). So many memories. It was one of my first cars, and in the end I drove 3 or 4, although I may have only owned 1 or 2 outright. When I was a tween, my mom drove a '69 Beetle and it had the coolest back bumper. The stock bumper was cooler than anything you might fabricate. It was tubular, man. As a newbie driver (newbie LEGAL driver, since I started sneaking a bug out onto the back roads of Gilmanton NH at 14), I wrapped one around a tree, which moved the passenger front tire back several feet. While I sustained a sprained wrist and bloody nose, it was my parent's car (oops). I custom painted one lime green with long, black "eyes" on front hood (they came with two long indents in hood, for support I guess, seperated by 3 or 4 inch band of metal). My best bud Sheldon had an international orange Carmen Gia, the only thing as cool (maybe cooler, Buddy) as my lime green bug. For whatever reason, most of my beetles were green and two were lime green, including the one I painted myself. My last bug was fuel-injected and I replaced the injectors myself. 

On all the bugs, you had to have a learned touch to route the foil & cardboard pipes inside engine compartment without crushing or destroying ends to get heat. Great in the snow, great on gas, made a wonderfully unmistakeable put-put sort of sound like no other engine on planet (I'd love an mp3 of THAT!).

I taught at least one of my older sisters to drive stick in a bug. Like a Sensei , I worked them through progressively harder steps. They were ready to solo when they could stop on a steep hill, and take off from that position. Made the mistake of putting my gf in drivers seat once - she had never driven stick and she just took right off - at least until she needed to shift into second! Very drunk from Oktober Fest had to direct my designated driver so we could get home and she had never driven stick. My last bug was retired when the under-front got so rusted that no one would fix it for me.

I think I'm going to go out and find me one to fix up.

1 comment:

  1. My last VW was a 67 Cal Bug. Definitely the most fun car I've ever owned. But "the best" was the 71 VW Transporter which provided me with both adventure and shelter.

    The Karmann Ghia was OK. A friend of mine had one. It was way too small to be of any practical use. Plus, it had the dreaded "autostick" - sort of a cross between a manual and standard tranny. Diagnosing problems with that was like doing mental gymnastics.