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AUTO EMBARRASSMENT
Story by Lois Grace



You may not realize it, but your Volkswagen embarrasses easily. VW's are humbled by silly and useless gadgets and accessories - a humiliation made worse by the fact that the poor thing has to drive around in public carrying the folly of his owners around for all to see. Of course, your VW will never TELL you these things, but then again they don't think you're going to embarrass them this way either. Public humiliation seems the goal of such owners, although if you ask me they don't have a clue they are doing this.

So, in the interest of VDubs everywhere, made to bear the burden of such embarrassment daily, I have compiled the following list to help VW owners avoid such things and in so doing, create happier and more content Volkswagens. Here is my list of accessories and gadgets to avoid:

CURB FEELERS: Never a good idea in my opinion (if you are driving a VW, you should not have to rely on a device to tell you where the curbs are), this addition gets even worse when it's installed on the DRIVER'S side of your Volkswagen. If you need curb feelers on the driver's side, perhaps your biggest problem is not finding the curb........it's probably the fact that your guide dog is riding in the back seat and obscuring your vision.

CUTE HORNS: Imagine your poor VW's humiliation when you hit the horn button to blast some moron who's cut you off in traffic, and your Volkswagen bleats out a chorus of "Dixie". Who could possibly take you seriously? Your Dub has no more wish to be "in the land of cotton" than it has to be beaten soundly around the fenders by someone intent on having your head on a platter. Real horns should sound like HORNS: deep, with a throaty, authoritative blast. Have the ever-popular "Town and Country" style if you must, but leave the cutesy tunes to music boxes and retired guys with giant motor homes. No one takes them seriously anyway.

RUBBER ANTENNAE: OK, what's up with THIS? We've all seen them: about a foot long, they are black and rubbery and usually look as if they've been through a car wash backwards. You know, BENT. Why on earth would anyone take off the perfectly good, generally chrome antenna their car was born with and substitute one of these stubby rubber jokes instead? They look ridiculous and I doubt they work any better than they look. The one notable exception to this opinion is the Golf GTi and the Jetta GLi: both of these autos come factory equipped with stubby black rubber antennae, but the difference here is that they have a rakish, sporty-looking slant to them and are roof-mounted. Anything roof-mounted is way cooler than if it's mounted elsewhere, everyone knows that. If you still don't see the difference between this major distinction between the two, just take my word for it.

GOLD WIRE WHEELS: Unless you are a Person of Major Importance in an illegal business, these have no place on a self-respecting VW. Enough said?

SKINNY TIRES ON FAT RIMS: This phenomenon is not only hideously ugly, it looks downright dangerous. You know what I mean: the people who favor this look take the widest wheel they can find (and I mean that literally since no one would buy these things, would they?) and then they stick a tiny, narrow tire on it. The result is that the tire stretches sideways more than the Hindenburg would stretch a pair of Levis. This produces a sidewall bulge that is truly alarming. Pity the poor VW that must wear these because not only does it look stupid, it hinders the natural ability to perform basic driving maneuvers, such as STEERING. Sheesh, do I really need to tell you this?

TATTERED CONVERTIBLE TOPS: There is a car I meet on the street here fairly often, recognizable immediately in this city of nearly 1 million because of its shredded convertible top. Or more correctly, this car has a sturdy metal frame with a few strips of some sort of fabric attached to it. I have never understood this. You paid good money for your Volkswagen, right? So when the top wears out, why do you begrudge the car a measly thousand for a new one?? You wouldn't let your Uncle Sid wear a bad toupee, would you? It's the same thing! Oh. Maybe you would.

TACKY LICENSE FRAMES: OK, you're saying, who decides what's tacky? I do, and here's my embarrassing favorites. Any license frame that is LIT. Sequential lights going around the outside edge, little spotlights, what-have-you: they are all uselessly embarrassing to your poor VW's rear end. Your Volkswagen came equipped with a light to illuminate the license numbers: anything more than that and it begins to look like the Strip in Las Vegas back there. Also, "witty sayings" such as "My Grandkids are Cuter Than Yours". YUCK. If your grandkids look anything like YOU, then...........oh never mind. And, finally, anything with snakes and/or 8-balls. I'm not saying anything more about these because they are too tasteless for words.

"LEATHERETTE" TOPS ON SEDANS: The other day I saw a perfectly good Beetle with one of these hideous additions plastered on top. Why do people do this? Maybe they're tired of waxing their car and this cuts down on the surface area. I suppose it could be worse: they could cover the entire vehicle in this stuff. Imagine all the Naugas that lost their lives needlessly to feed this strange habit. See rules for "Tattered Convertible Tops", especially the one about toupees.

GIANT CHROME EXHAUST TIPS: (Or, Exhausts on Steroids) This is a gray area, because my own GTi sports a larger-then-stock tip due to the installation of a tuned exhaust. If you are going to do this, keep the exhaust tip a believable SIZE, please. These ridiculously huge things look like padded, chromed coffee cans. And, the glare from this thing on a sunny day could blind a horse.

GOLD ACCENTS: Body moulding, exhaust tips, little scrolly names or marques, you know what I mean. Goes great with the aforementioned Gold Wire Wheels, but who wants to drive around looking like a piece of cheap costume jewelry? Think how the poor VW feels, decked out in this stuff.

ANYTHING WITH GLITTER: This applies to highly "glitterized" metal flake paint jobs, racing stripes and stickers. Glitter looks great on Halloween costumes and ruby slippers. On your VW it makes it look like you just drove through a cloud of Fairy Dust.

You can be sure this is by no means the end of my list, but I'm stopping here for reasons of space and sanity. Next time you've got the urge to weld, paint, bolt, stick, or otherwise apply anything to your Volkswagen, think how YOU'D feel if you had to walk around all day long with the item stuck on you. If you're OK with that, chances are your VW will be too. Remember, they are sensitive creatures! If you humiliate them, then they might try to humiliate you in return. After all, it's pretty humbling to sit beside the freeway waiting for a tow truck.

VolksWoman

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