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Looks like I'm opening up the VW forum! Let's start at our beginning. Whether is was air-cooled, water-cooled, or a toy, what was your first Volkswagen?
My first VW is a toy. My father was a mechanic at a Volkswagen dealership in the 1960's. VW ran a promotion which gave away a Bus toy box to families who took a test drive. I think the promotion was in '64 or '65. Dad brought home three of the Bus-boxes for me. I still have them.
I bought my first New VW in 1966, a Lotus White 1967 Beetle. Since then I have had a 1958, a 1969 I rebuilt and won some awards at VW show, and finally 18 months ago I found a 1967 Beetle that I just finished restoring to be a replica of my first VW.
Always glad to network with other VW enthusiasts, and glad to join the forum.
A story to share.
An old VW can take you to places and let you meet people you did not expect. This is one of those stories.
A few years ago I was attending the NHRA race at Z-Max Dragway in Charlotte, NC. (I was not driving a VW at the race. Racing is another story.) Drag racing allows for ample time to move through the pits and on occasion, interact with crews or a driver. There is always a break between the top tier classes and during one of these breaks, it was announced that Don Garlits was signing books as parts of a fund raiser. I immediately told my wife we were going to buy a book. I rushed out of the bleachers and found one of my racing heroes standing under a awning surrounded by stacks of books. No one else was there. I bought a book and got two autographs. And then the story gets good.
In the mid-1980s I toured the Don Garlits museum in Ocala, Florida. I had read about two air-cooled cars he owned in HotVW's magazine and they were on display during my visit. When I met him in Charlotte, I asked the one question I really wanted to know. It was almost one of those you-only-get-one question moments. I asked, "Do you still have that Ghia with 26 miles on it?" His eyes lit up! He pointed a 300 mph finger at me and said, "It's got 28 now, we had to move it around some!" For at least the next ten minutes I had an exclusive audience with the man most responsible for modern top-fuel drag racing. We didn't talk about 5000 hp record setters. We talked about the least powerful cars in his collection. The excitement with which he told how he came to own the cars was evident. It was if I had asked the magic question. Or maybe I was the first person in a long time to ask about something other than supercharged hemi dragsters. We only spoke about his Ghia and split-window Bug. The whole conversation was amazing! Eventually someone wondered up to the tent and my wife made me leave so they could buy a book too. I will always appreciate his time and enthusiasm.
So, what interesting people have you met because of your passion for VW's?
Although I have moved up the food chain to BMW's as Porsches, my day-to-day driver for work is a 2019 VW GTi. It convinced me to sell my BMW M235i as it has less turbo lag and way better steering feel. Up to this point, I've owned two Sciroccos, three GTi's, two Corrados, two Passat wagons, a Golf TDI wagon, and the VW I miss the most- a 1989 limited-edition Jetta GLI. Wish I still had that one!
Not really knowing it until later in life, I am a VW nut, but only recently really diving into the hobby. My family never owned a VW but I always loved the look of them. Eventually when I had the chance when I lived in Alberta i purchased my first VW, a 1969 camper bus. I knew next to nothing about them and relied heavily on a local VW shop in Banff to do most of the work. I was too busy partying and skiing and climbing mountains to really take interest in the mechanical workings of it. Too bad because the bus I bought had a crack in the engine case unknown to me, but known by the previous owner so the shop told me, when I had to have the blown engine rebuilt. While having my bus rebuilt i found a beautiful 1979 California Bug convertible for sale and snatched it up. This ran great because of the fuel injection and having regular maintenance now being done to it, still by the shop. Before leaving Alberta in 1991 to head back home to Ontario i sold both for a song (kicking myself everyday) and didn't get back into VW's until 2000 when I purchased my first VW Golf TDI. I dove into the maintenance on this vehicle and loved the community behind it, wanting to help each other out. Once this one hit 400+K km i moved onto another but it being the Jetta Wagon TDI and then trading that with 400+km for the newest Golf Wagon TDI. Then it happened, the diesel scandle, and after only owning the car for 2 years I sold it back to VW, it only cost me $1,500 per year to have the car so I thought why not. The only thing was what to buy now? Ended up being a 2017 Volvo V60 T5 which I do enjoy but longed for the VW feel again. Then I saw it, my mid-life crisis was in the Kijiji ad's "VW SPLIT WINDOW BUS FOR SALE". Mind you it was a 1970 from Brazil, but hey, they had a factory down in Sau Paulo for years pumping out all kinds of VW's. MY enthusiasm was too much and I dove in head first both feet and started stripping the thing down to its core wanting to do a complete rebuild on it. Well how many people have done this and where is it now or what state of completeness is it in? Probably the same as mine, in pieces all over my shop LOL. So after a year of it sitting like this I came across another bus, this one a 1975 Panel which was already 90% restored and driveable. I scooped it up and this became my VW daily driver, but still wanting to have more and starting to really get into the mechanical happenings i was buying every tool I thought I would need for any type of repair on the VWs. Oh and did I forget to mention I bought another 1970 Single Cab pickup, which ended up being a mistake on my part as the underside was way too rusty for any skills I had, its important to know your strengths! I ended up selling that pretty quickly and using that money to purchase a 1965 Beetle from Quebec. Its almost ready for the road after re-doing all the brakes, rebuilding form spindles with 2" drop, rebuilding a 1600 motor (My first) and getting all electrical figured out. I am so happy with this wonderful hobby I have found and the friends I am making along the way. Thanks for the new community here on Hagerty