I amaze myself. But please don't think
me conceited. No, the reason for this
marveling at myself is the fact that
a few years ago I became something
I never thought I ever would: the
owner of a water-cooled Volkswagen.
I know I've written about this phenomenon
before but I still find it incredible.
My like for this car is turning into
something deeper.........could it
The first 18 months had been great
- but it was also an adjustment for
me, owning a "new" VW. I
like to think it's been an adjustment
for him too, since it's been over
3 years and he still doesn't like
any name I've tried to hang on him.
I think this has to do with the fact
that he's still used to thinking of
himself as a CAR. It is also obvious
that my little red friend and I are
still getting used to each other.
He did not spend the first 7 years
of his life with someone who babied
him, exclaimed proudly over his achievements,
or treated him as if he were special
in any way. His original owner thought
he was buying a brand new Golf GTi.
He didn't know he was adopting a friend.
I forgive him that as not everyone
can be as enlightened at we VW people.
So, my obsessive behavior is probably
a bit confusing to the little guy.
just not used to my cars being CARS
- they become like pets to me and
are treated that way. I always thank
my "boys" after a trip out,
for bringing me home safely; the first
time I did this to the Golf he seemed
to pull up into our driveway, thinking
to himself "Thanks? What's that
for? I just did what I was supposed
to do". I got out and peered
curiously at his blunt, red face.
His oversized, headlight eyes stared
back at me, trying not to let his
personality shine back at me. (it
didn't work) Shortly after this, he
found he could get quite a bit more
attention from me (and various service-oriented
people) if he just broke something
now and again (I think this was just
the way he was used to living his
life). For the first few months I
had him, various and sundry things
would merely cease to function, causing
all sorts of various reactions by
me. The items ranged from the sublime
(the first entirely MATCHED set of
4 Michelin radials the car had ever
had - I've got a thing for fresh rubber)
to the ridiculous (a perfectly good,
barely-used, only-7-years-old, $825
"airbox" which of course
the car could not function without
and also cost more than the INSURANCE
on my two vintage VWs for a year..............).
And through each mechanical failure
of this "wear cycle", I
happily (more or less) motored on
(when he was willing) and gave him
the best possible care. I told myself
that these little "flukes"
were due to the fact that he hadn't
gotten the very best of care and he
was due. My hunch proved correct -
once all the "little stuff"
was taken care of, he has become totally
charming, as expected.
All of you water-cooled VW drivers
out there are probably - right now
- thinking to yourself what an idiot
I am. You already know the joys of
these cars. I grew up with Volkswagens,
and believe me; in my family no REAL
VW ever had a radiator! My father
later saw the error of those ways
and added two brand new VW diesels
to his garage. With the peppy demeanor
of my new GTi, my better half thought
it was perfectly ridiculous for me
to want to add more horsepower to
the already-respectable pep that the
car had. I say the more, the merrier!
This car was already fun, couldn't
it be MORE fun if I added just a touch
more zoom? And so it was: after hanging
on the new manifolds and the new downpipe
and the new exhaust, it WAS more fun.
With a few more horses under the hood,
my appreciation for this car grew
even more. With the addition
of the extra zoom, additional stopping
power was in order so I added a set
of vented rotors up front. I figured
it might be a good investment someday,
should I ever decide to actually stop
driving this car. For now, these improvements
will do just fine. I could, however,
be talked into any other little goodie
I can find that might appeal to me
AND the GTi.
For the first time since buying my
car, I had occasion today to fold
the rear seat down. This is not a
big deal, but the amount of space
back there IS a big deal. The cargo
area created by folding the seat down
is immense. I had a friend comment
once that you could probably carry
a bathtub in the trunk if you wanted
to. With the seat folded down you
could not only haul a bathtub, but
probably the sink and toilet to go
with it, if you had a mind to. I put
4 VW wheels (with radial tires attached)
back there, and had room to spare.
I could probably have fit another
4 tires and wheels in if it had been
necessary. (Remember, I am first and
foremost a VW PICKUP owner, and have
gotten used to enormous cargo areas,
say, about nine feet by 5 feet)
I think my car is finally warming
up to me too. Every single attempt
I made to name him went down in flames.
Every name with reference to the fact
that he was bright red sounded silly,
hung on such a tailored little man.
I gave up trying to pick a name for
him, and waited for him to suggest
something he could live with. Meanwhile,
I kept thinking he needed a small,
uncomplicated name to match himself
and his quite abbreviated rear end
styling. I had been calling
him Buzz since he was such a buzzy
little guy, but it soon became only
another temporary name. Then, this
past week I went out and he looked
at me and said GUS. For some reason,
Gus has stuck. Short and abbreviated,
just like him. Poor little fella,
had to wait 3 years to get a name.
But I still say it's his own fault
for not telling me sooner.
so on it goes, life with Gus. Some
people I know couldn't wait till they
grew up and got a real car. While
I am very glad that I can say that
I am now a grownup, I am also equally
glad to be able to say that I haven't
completely grown out of VWs, no matter
what some misguided car people say.
And, now that I have grown up
I am finding I have a space in my
heart for ALL VWs. Even small, red,