But someone was willing to spend another ten years working on the VW. He did the right thing always. But some things he couldn't do. Time had caught up. Heck, I couldn't do them either! How do you make 6 volt wiper motors work on 12 volt systems? Voltage regulators? Yes, but not very well.... I can tell many stories of cold stormy nights when I switched on the wipers and everyone in car hoped that the wipers would get over the 12 o'clock position and not stop, damming us all to a journey without any wipers at all. Good times, man....
But the most recent time that I took my Beetle to the shop for service, I was horrified that what my Dad had mentioned a couple of times on the phone was true. "Where is M------? Have you heard from him lately?" Since I was seeing him more often than he ever was since the 1980s, I thought they'd just been missing each other. But no. He wasn't running the shop anymore. Some other guy was. Who charged through the roof, and didn't do most of what I told him to do. To be fair, he did fix one thing which M----- had never been able to. That was a valve adjustment issue. I was happy for that. But the overall cost was phenomenal. And saying "oh, man, that car of yours is worth so much, you could sell it for an amazing price....". means I'll never go back there. You're there to fix my car. All that crap is for me to say, I if I choose to. Not for you to put an extra 0 on the price....
So, what does that lead us to today? A) Lean to do the mechanical work on your VW yourself. This was hinted to me in the late '90s by an apprentice mechanic who I'd grown up with. "Like, a moron can do anything but the timing themselves!" Lesson learned.... a while too late. B) (And this a lot more interesting and enjoyable than the previous lesson) The Internet has given us access to so much. A community of people willing to help with advice, and accurate knowledge to give us the ability to do our own work. And the ability to source parts (literature too) from all over the world. What was once all down to rumour and "he said" is now open to wider knowledge. I've benefited greatly.
tldr.... the internet is great!
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!
But to have room for it meant that I needed to get rid of my first car. And that happened a while before the Karmann Ghia came along. It was hard for us all. That 1956 Beetle held memories for the whole family. My Grandfather taught me to drive in it. As most of us did, I turned up to highschool in it and parked next to others 50s cars (Morris Minors) and we all had a good look. I went on to University in it, when 50s cars were what so many of us had. (Why?) My rivalry with the guy in the grey '55 Vauxhall Wyvern, looking down my nose at the other guy in the '62 Beetle as it was soooooo new! And that dent in his hubcap... I was truly impressed by the crew that had the nice black Wolseley though. Piling out in their long back trenchcoats. That had me beat... Driving in the fog and the rain in that car, making proposals, having them accepted, rejected, as we all do. So much of our lives are lived in our cars. But she had to go. Not being driven, rusting to hell and back in what seemed like 6 months from a shiny black paint job to rust everywhere. So she went to a bricklayer who saw her in the garage and just had to have her. And I had to have brickwork... An honest exchange to someone who had that glint in their eye. And no idea as to how badly she was rusted, how unoriginal she was and how she'd only run for 2 hours in the last 5 years. It needed someone like that to get her up and running. But really,he'd be better off to break her up for parts. :OP
So the spot in the garage was filled by the Ghia. A beauty. And it makes me think that my lifelong interest in Volkswagens, which came from my family can be satisfied with the two I have now. A 1962 1/2 Beetle, and the 1961 Ghia. One made in Australia, the other delivered to Australia within a year of each other. At the beginning of Australian production of the Volkswagen, a time when the future looked bright for Volkswagen (Australasia) Pty Ltd. When the Ghia was imported in its greatest numbers.
That brief, stupid window when the decisions and promises of the Menzies government and their Labor predecessors meant than tariffs on imported cars (VW had concessions on the fully imported Karmann Ghia commensurate on local Beetle production) could make local manufacture "economic". Investment was huge. Tens of millions of 1950s/60s pounds. A factory was established that still operates today as part of GM, making high performance vehicles. Still with a VW logo on top covered in concealing plastic. But VW began to offload it to Datsun beginning in 1967. 5 years of "local" production at phenomenal expense.
So today... Ford is to shut down Australian production in 2016 (iirc) GM (Holden, it Oztraaalian, honest!) will surely be put out of its misery in the next two years. Toyota too. No one wants their tax dollars appropriated to support someone's job. I wish museum curators ( ie. me) had their jobs guaranteed and supported as an endangered species and so important as a relic worthy of the industrial museum. When what VW did of its own accord without begging for a taxpayer's dollar in 1967 happens to Ford, GM, and Toyota in the next year or so, all of the owners of those makes in Australia can do what I do in my 1962 Beetle.
We can sit happily in our cars as relics of an immediate post war economic disaster with that wonderful little round sticker in our back windows proudly proclaiming "MADE IN AUSTRALIA" as relics of a bygone age.
I wrote this up last week at work and I thought I may as well upload it here so I can feel that I'm posting something, at least. It's in response to the City of Fremantle's plan to engage with business to redevelop a very tired area of the town.
It’s a long needed attempt to undo the damage done to the city in the 10 years from 1983-1993 after which all so-called development stopped. Driving out businesses, as aided by the early 80s credit squeeze started the process and it’s good to see them putting business at the forefront for a change. It’s taken Fremantle nearly 30 years to realise that one point. Like Freo, Cuba’s a great place to visit but not a nice place to live. Lots of decaying heritage and culture but no economic development which means you have lots of rotting Victorian buildings. So keep those, of course, but use business to revitalise them.
Soulless developments like Queensgate and the earlier ones were never fully realised after the mythical ‘post-cup boom’ never eventuated because businesses would not invest.
Another great piece of damage were the horrific things done in that decade by a Mayor who hated grass. Look at King’s Square, which was once a living breathing heart of Fremantle but which caught a classic case of that era’s RBP disease. In this case grey concrete rather than Perth’s Red Brick Paving. Now you can’t move through King’s Square quick enough. It’s the worst public space in WA in my opinion. So yay for a plan to revitalise Fremantle, we’ve been waiting 20 years
But whoever may join, they will be known the universe over as....... THE COUNCIL OF WISDOM!