Class: Der Self-satisfied Krautten Wagen
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Ed Bolian, VinWiki host and former CannonBall Run record holder, enters his $2000 S55 AMg
My son's first car after not being happy with the the like new 2007 Ford Escape we rescued from the junk yard for a friend who had transmission issues. A 1974 BMW 2002tii built in May so it still a roundie. Sat at the high school auto shop for 17 years and was tracked by the local community college auto shop 10 years before that.. Took a while to get it running but the shop teacher says it never ran better . Now all we have to do is make it street legal to drive it on the road.
Have you ever considered the tragedy on not having a german ute?
At the dawn of 2019, sometime in October, long before the present worries. I acquired a black e46 with 100,000 miles. After a few nights of staring at my newly acquired 330xi with some body damage, I was perplexed by the decision tree that I typically follow to a T when I acquire cheap cars on a whim. Oh one hand, it had body damage, so "send it to my shop to get repaired and flip it for profit," I thought. On the other, the damage was too great for me to make any money on the sale after the repairs were complete. On yet another hand, of this *apparently* handed decision tree, stood the newly acquired box of tools I was itching to try. I decided to bring back the vision of a brighter German future back from the dead.
On a cold November evening in 2018, I looked at my freshly wrecked 330i zhp, in a concussed slurry of object thoughts, I decided that it was time to "make things right" and proceeded to sketch out a plan for a build unlike the others. Completely ignoring the fact that this has been done multiple times before me and with very thorough build guides available online on how to proceed without erring on the side of really expensive for a project such as this.
I ignored all of that and shared my genius on instagram to 4 likes and lots of worrisome comments from my friends.
Fast forward to today, and the vision is coming to fruition in the form of an e46ute!
If you want to follow along, I would be thrilled to tell you my story on the instagram page where I collect a few of my scattered thoughts and ideas and manifest them into something you can judge in person. @ e46ute
Please enjoy the long, terrible tale of my absolute worst garbage son, the Dreaded Laramie of cars: a 1971 Volkswagen 411.
So few people bought a 411 in the United States that I want/need to learn German just so I can find better forums and more documentation for this thing. I rarely even see them at aircooled shows. Back when I was at Jalopnik full-time, most of the "Volkswagen 411" tag was pieces about my wretched, barely-running car. It is a forgotten gem, and mine is terrible. Later, I determined that "Cries for Help" was a better tag for this. Please, I beg of you. I can only bother the kind aircooled man in Bastrop so much.
The 411 was Volkswagen's last hurrah at aircooled engines, its first four-door family sedan and the most advanced aircooled car they ever made. It's a rear-wheel-drive, rear-engine sedan powered by the Type 4 engine that was later refined by Porsche to go into the Porsche 914. My 1.7-liter paperweight did not benefit from Hans Mezger's golden touch. My unknown quantity of an engine came out of a VW bus, which means that its dipstick hits the big air intake whenever I go to check the oil.
My car has a fine turd provenance, originally getting roasted in 2010 by saucy minx and Lemons nemesis Murilee Martin in the heyday of Jalopnik's Down on the Street column.
Seven years later, a 24 Hours of Lemons team found this very car, threw a roll cage in it, and took it racing—complete with a garbage three-speed automatic transmission and no cooling tins. It reached temperatures over 500 degrees during the race at times, thoroughly destroying some of its internal components. We won Index of Effluency. I drank out of my shoe in joy. A strong, hoppy IPA pairs nicely with Buttonwillow's sand and nomex-absorbed foot stank.
This team was done with the 411, so that's when I adopted my cursed Volkswagen son. They gave it away for free, so I towed it halfway across the country back home to Texas. I attempted to fix its problems before my next 24 Hours of Lemons race in Houston, but failed miserably. It took forever to track down the near-unobtanium engine cooling tins, plus the list of problems was simply too long. I think I almost killed Kevin, who is a better driver than I am. The Lemons judges awarded our team the "I Got Screwed" trophy, claiming that I overpaid for a truly wretched Volkswagen.
If this my 411 was a person, this despicable gutter boy would wear a shirt with "Porsche Owners Die Angry" with a photo of my face on the front. It is the worst car that will be submitted to this carnival of badness, and thank goodness I don't have to tow it to a physical car show. It would take four hundred and eleven days to arrive anywhere, even if it was just across San Marcos. Every time I've towed it anywhere, a hopeless oil leak out of the passenger side valve cover leaves a puddle that makes the Exxon Valdez feel inadequate.
My 411's current list of problems is still long and horrible. It has a top speed of maybe 30 mph if you push it downhill, which is good since a connector for the brake lines cracked (unless there is something at the bottom of the hill).
The engine still overheats. There is a single carburetor that tends to stick and flood the engine bay. I suspect that parts of the engine may be running lean and contributing to the overheating issue given that it originally came with fuel injection, and that many other Type 4 owners sans Einspritzung! have suggested running two carbs to get a more even distribution of fuel. At the very least, I need to rebuild that stupid carb.
It still poops oil out of the passenger side. I probably need to get that valve cover and head resurfaced. No new seal has been able to remedy the issue. It's probably warped, especially since the passenger side pistons were the ones that got extra melty in its first race.
The cooling tins are mostly on now, but there's one extra piece that I found that fits under the outside tins to push air more directly into the driver's side intake.
I should also install the seat and some fresh belts, take the four-speed manual out of the passenger side of the car and replace that awful automatic transmission, clean out the insect/varmint nests (bees seem to love this car), find a new side marker light and repaint the nice Empi exhaust before the surface rust turns to real rust. I also can't remember if the 944 tachometer we added works.
Alternately, WTB a working 914 engine, provided that we don't all die for the economy first.
I, Awful Cry Person, love my garbagest of garbage sons.
My stupid Volkswagen even broke the forums! I didn't mean to post my garbage Volkswagen son twice, but there was a glitch that nuked the first attempt to post it.
Sorry for party poopin'.
That's a ball buster, never seen anything like that before ! Might be a new model to German series line. Easy enough to be a race car hybrid with super light duty truck. Never done before engineering marvel ! 🙂
This car might not be a lemon from the factory but after being covered in s**t emojis and driven 7,000km across Australia from Perth to Sydney on only dirt roads, it surely is now.
Running in the local Sh*tBox Rally to raise money for Cancer Research this car apparently went well on the rally, didn't miss a beat and the dash only lights up like a Christmas tree on days ending in 'y'. I did raise a lot of eyebrows with the creative(?) livery. It was all for a good cause though, so most people just laughed and stared... then laughed some more although I must say, kids love it.
At the end of the rally (in Sydney) we bought it at the auction (we ran it in a local market Ford Falcon that I couldn't wait to get rid of) for $675 and drove it the 1500km home. Still covered in poo, then I drove it as a daily for a further 3 months still covered in poo. Living in a small town I think the everyone now knows me as 'That guy in the Merc, you know the one, with the emoji's, you know, the poos'.
I'll enter my original self driving car. My 1959 VW Herbie. Unlike the numerous clones out there, mine is a genuine documented Herbie used in the filming of The Love Bug. My car was originally built as a remote control (hence the self driving) stunt car. The technology worked, just not great. While filming a key scene on Big Bear Mountain, the controls jammed and Herbie crashed and rolled down a hillside. A ton of bondo, some plexiglass and a quick paint job and Herbie was back in action. My car was then reused in Herbie Rides Again. This time Herbie was painted again as a Dr. Herbie for a nightmare scene that was cut from the final release.
After the movie, Herbie was sold and ended up in the MovieWorld Cars of the Stars Museum in Buena Park, Ca. The museum was the stomping grounds for many Hollywood car guys including Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, Von Dutch and Steve McQueen. When the museum closed, Herbie ended up in Reno, NV as part of the famous Harrah's Collection. In the mid 80s, when the Harrah's Collection was auctioned off, Herbie was sold and ended up being parked next to a barn in the desert.
A VW collector from Florida found Herbie and knowing what the car was, despite not having the famous Herbie look purchased Herbie to restore for his personal collection. after changing hands a few more times I ended up with Herbie 1995. I have since performed mechanical restoration to make the car more driveable and not just move on and off a trailer. I have also since added the correct custom wide wheels, fresh graphics in the correct Love Bug colors and a few other bits. The car now runs and drives flawlessly. The beauty part of the restoration is that the car still retains all of it's original Sheetmetal, with the exception a few pieces that were purposely preserved to show the car's original finish. The damage to the roof along with the quick on set repair done 52 years ago is still present. So while there are lots of dings and what not in the body and the fact that no body panel lines up properly, the car represents exactly what it was, a stunt car.
Take a gander at my beautiful 1978 VW Super Beetle convertible. I originally bought this car as a quick fixer upper to gift to my wife. I no idea that the tin worm had gotten a hold of this thing long before I set eyes on it.
For my "German" submission, here's my 2005 VW Lupo, Made in Brazil.
I got this car in December last year, I traded a 2000 Nissan Xterra for it, I wanted out of that one because it had some stuff to get done, also smelled like wet dog and a faint tint of pee.
Well it wasn't any better, needed all 5 new tires, I changed the piston rings, all shocks, was an eternal electrical problem, the camshaft sensor wiring is bad, the gas gauge is bad, sometimes it goes down for no reason at all and returns to where it was, sometimes, the first thing I saw and it was really noticeable, it was in a crash, where it was most likely sandwiched between, since both sides look like they are terribly painted an I had to kick closed the driver's door the other day and the Bondo cracked.
Has crank windows, no AC AND EVEN THE HEATER HAS BEEN DISCONNECTED.
But still somehow my mom likes it so much as our grocery getter she didn't let me sell it yet, it's a small, nimble and practical car for the city, even fun sometimes, it's name is "huevito" or "small egg/eggy".
I may keep it for a while longer, I've planned to teach my GF how to drive in it and if she feels comfortable in it I'll let her keep it when I can replace it with another bad decision.
I humbly submit my absolute worst garbage son, the Dreaded Laramie of cars: a 1971 Volkswagen 411.
That is its name now. It has earned it.
So few people bought a 411 in the United States that I want/need to learn German just so I can find better forums and more documentation for this thing. I rarely even see them at aircooled shows. I feel like I would own Wörthersee and then die when my brakes failed coming down a mountain. Back when I was at Jalopnik full-time, most of the "Volkswagen 411" tag was pieces about my wretched, barely-running car. It is a forgotten gem, and mine is terrible. Later, I determined that "Cries for Help" was a better tag for this. Please, I beg of you. I can only bother the kind aircooled man in Bastrop so much.
I spent a disproportionate amount of time staring at the Type 4 in Volkswagen's collection at Autostadt trying to determine how it wasn't sitting in a giant puddle of its own fluids.
The engine still overheats. The carburetor sucks. There is a single carb that tends to stick and flood the engine bay. I suspect that parts of the engine may be running lean and contributing to the overheating issue given that it originally came with fuel injection, and that many other Type 4 owners sans Einspritzung! have suggested running two carbs to get a more even distribution of fuel. At the very least, I need to rebuild that stupid carb.
Alternately, WTB a working 914 engine, provided that we don't all die for the economy first.
I, Awful Cry Person, love my garbagest of garbage sons.
Look what I got underneath the tree for Christmas; 1975 Yesterday & Today 2020.
1958 Porsche 356A 1600/Type 2 Reutter Cabriolet Hard Top; "bath tub." Life Friend- Tim "bath tub."
In the spring of 2013 a vehicle was procured to be the Planet Express interstellar delivery ship. Our crew of misfits was prepared to slowly haul your precious cargo. The vehicle we found was being retired from daily use due to non-functioning air conditioning. Our crew does not deserve such luxury.
Tirelessly and without pay our crew began work preparing our ship for intergalactic travel. Many hours were spent attaching the necessary wings and rocket boosters for moderate speeds and acceptable maneuverability.Our team mascot, Dolly, nervously poses with the clattery ship just after it's paint job.
With the crew assembled we prepared for our first delivery to Kershaw, SC. The delivery went smoothly and we were awarded a contract for another delivery a few months later.
In the following years our crew made many deliveries to Kersahaw, SC, Birmingham, AL, and Sebring, FL. In total the Planet Express ship has flown 8 major delivery missions. The crew is also encouraged to take Planet Express on personal jobs where she has been up and down the eastern seaboard from Orlando, FL to Millville, NJ and many places in between.
In the fall of 2016 the rocket engine suffered a major melt down. This ended the ship's delivery career. A skeleton crew maintains the old girl now, mostly just to advertise our delivery business, as a we have a newer and faster ship to complete future missions.
The thousand-yard stare that came into the eyes of the seller when I asked why he was getting rid of this 2001 BMW 750iL Sport should have been a clue for me to run away without looking back. “I can’t own an E38,” he mumbled, then changed the subject to my bravery in attempting to drive this train wreck the 12 hours home, instead of having it shipped. Little did he know that I was only going to drive it the first 5 hours of the trip, having previously planned to dump it on my husband in St. Louis for the rest of the ride home to Omaha, while I took the family minivan back to our hometown to visit my mother. This was a fortuitous decision on my part, and would test my husband’s love for me to the utmost.
As he drove it the remaining 7 hours home through 92-degree heat, the car’s heater went rogue, determining of its own will to heat the interior and refusing to be shut down. Fortunately, the AC worked well and was able to fight the heater to a lukewarm draw. Adding to this amusement, the car refused to lock or unlock via the key fob. After a meal stop, at first it wouldn’t even unlock with the key, until brute force born of desperation opened the door with a herculean twist of the key in the lock. To add to the joy, the dash warned that the brake lights were inoperable. Later, a nonchalant switch to high beams almost caused the engine to stall at highway speeds. Low beams were used for the rest of the trip, and the car was left running and unlocked at all subsequent stops. To my husband’s disappointment, this hot mess was still in the parking lot when he returned, too unappealing even to steal.
Once home, I set about sorting it out. After all, I’d passed up a new car on the theory that if you threw enough money at it, an E38 could be as reliable as a new car. It’s so cute that I’m an optimist! Six months later, having built a strong relationship of mutual trust and respect with my mechanic, I accidentally mentioned to my husband what I had spent on this magical (some might say “possessed”) hoopty. After that, I didn’t get to take it to the mechanic any more, so I set about fixing what broke with chewing gum, JB Weld, and an assortment of products from Hobby Lobby.
It is imperative as an E38 owner to leave one or more things broken, so as to fool the car into not breaking more things. Currently my E38 has a stuck front cupholder, glovebox struts that have given up their gas, the driver’s side lumbar pump is shot, and the trim on a rear door panel has come unglued.
Despite all the pain and trouble, the juice of this lemon has almost been worth the squeeze. Self-satisfied? Nothing’s more so. As you waft past all the plebes in their newish entry-luxury sedans or Japanese appliances, you think to yourself, “You know, folks. For the same money you could have had a V12. You really must try it sometime.”
All four speeds and reverse.
Intake manifold inside valve cover?
a 1969 Porsche 912 badged the way it should be. Note the upper left medalion, a gift from Roger Barr (the beloved mechanic seen on Chasing Classic Cars) who had it on his car while in Germany in the late '50's
If a 356 had contined prooduction in 1966, they would have badged it this way. (note decal on rear window)
An architecural feature of a house, a front p- - - -.
Ever want a car, get it, and regret it all most immediately?
Meet Finn, The SmartTrooper
Finn was acquired in January, 2016, in central Illinois. Finn was designed to dart in and around little European villages. While there are little villages in Illinois, they tend to be separated by millions of acres of farm...Connected by miles and miles of roads maintained by the lowest bidder.
Sometimes, Illinois winters result in cars in the ditch. Sometimes the cars spin...backwards...in the ditch. I drove Finn home after my son pulled me out of the drift...
Sometimes, radiator fans fail. On Finn, his fan is buried under the radiator, which is buried in the nose of the car. Finn's engine is in the rear. When Mercedes wants $500 for a new factory fan, sometimes an Amazon $29.99 fan is made to work...
Also sometimes on marginally maintained Illinois highways, springs break. The very small gap between the tire and arch is not the result of the car being "stanced", as my son puts it, but the result of both coil springs being broken, thus contributing to the already kidney stone breaking ride quality...
Last but not least, cars have alternators that fail. Finn's alternator is located where many alternators are located, near the top front of the engine. Unfortunately, the top of this particular engine is nearly impossible to access without dropping the engine 6 inches with the rear wheels off.
Finn's final fate is to be a demo mule at the local community college automotive repair program, to help young men and women learn to repair modern European cars.
If you’ve every been to the train museum in Sacramento you’ve seen the technology that makes the Tinyvette the little yellow wonder that it is. No, not the trains, the buggies, specifically, the buggy suspensions. Transverse leaf with spindly anti-sway bars. Granted, the Tinyvette has enough motor to justify leaving the horse at home, but you still have to whip it to get it to go.
Seriously though, our $200 investment in a hantavirus infested heap, followed by another $150,000 investment in progressively more skilled labor, and provenance that includes nearly 30 Lemons races, one museum exhibit, invitations to the International Auto Show in Sacramento and San Francisco, one write-up in The San Francisco Chronicle, two trips to Bonneville (The Tinyvette is currently the World’s Fasted Lemon, only because no other Lemons cars have run at Bonneville.), a double-Cannonball Run (under 48 hours on the return trip), two scientific papers published in the Journal d'Lemons, two books no publisher will touch, and multiple fruitless trips to a certain car show in Seaside, CA, the car, as it sits now, is valued at $7,000, as far as Hagerty is concerned.
Eight engines, 12 transmissions, four wheel hubs, three control arms, and two rear ends after our saga began the Tinyvette is ready to race, if you can call it that. Our goal is to keep the car the same while improving enough as drivers to win class B, but between COVID-19, speed creep in Lemons, and the fact that I am flat broke, means that winning will likely forever be out of reach for us, which in Lemons, is kinda the point. Winning is for losers. We’re here to have fun, even if not racing.