Phar Warner (pharwarner) wrote,
Phar Warner

More automotive philosophy

This was written in response to someone who was asking if they should by a 1963 Beetle as a first car for their daughter...

When I was 15 I wanted a Beetle, nothing else would do. The oldest one I could get. A 1956, as it turned out. My Mother's family accepted this as normal being the family of a former VW dealer. My Father, former parts manager for that same dealership told me of the many woes which buying the '56 would bring me. I'd die in it, be left by the side of the road when it breaks down, be unable to get parts... He walked off waving his hands in the air. Hrumph.... Some faith in the product from someone who still works as a parts manager...

At that age I was aware of the difference in safety between an old car and a new one. Duh! I drove it carefully. Got called a pussy by my friends. (Except that one in the '56 Morris Minor, he understood!) I did what my grandfather taught me, the same thing that he taught his daughter learning on her 1968 model. "Don't just drive for yourself, drive for the person in front of you. And the person in front of them!"

I drove that '56 daily for 10 years. I had two accidents. The first was a dented left fender on the third day, pulling out of a parking space. The second was three years later, low speed at an intersection, my fault, totally smashed the right fender resulting in a concussion. Now that says a lot as to what happens when you DO have an accident! Taught me to be even more careful. Never had another accident in a VW since.

When I get a VW the first thing I do is remove the seatbelts and radial tyres if they've been installed. Never had anything post 1962 so in my state there is no requirement for belts. I've always wanted my driving experience to be period, without compromise.

You know how those people who die skydiving always have a relative say "They died doing something they loved"? ie. Hurtling to the ground screaming at terminal velocity? I want my Volkswagen family to say the same thing about me if it happens. Only I'll die screaming as a steering column hurtles towards my face. But at least I'll have died doing something that I love!
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