My Past Volkswagens

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1974 Beetle

Good Old BugMy first car was a red 1974 VW Beetle. I got it in 1985 when I was in high school. I used to drive that thing silly. I took a Swiss exchange student and a pair of Japenese exchange students to senior prom in it. My date's hoop skirt took up the whole front area! They all really loved the car; so did I. But I knew nothing about how to take care of it other than changing the oil. My step father started driving it when I joined the Coast Guard in 1986. He was neglecting it and not taking good care of it. His constant smoking in it had browned the clean white headliner. Why is it that smokers think their cigarettes don't affect the interior if their hand is outside the window? Anyway, he bought it from me in 1987 for what I paid. I think he had a guilty conscience. It eventually fell apart on him. Justice was served!

1989 Golf GL

My Poor Old Golf - R.I.P.My next VW was a 1989 Golf GL. I bought it second hand in 1995 from a doctor who had used it through medical school. It was lots of fun to drive, but his years of neglect really surfaced fast. I had already replaced the shocks, brakes, motor mounts, and the idle stabilizer; but other things kept creeping up faster than I could manage financially. The most annoying item was that just about every door and window leaked. I finally had to make a choice. My wife had been left stranded by each of my cars (both times I was at sea). I needed to know that she would have reliable transportation while I was deployed. We agreed that it was time to buy a NEW car. So I went to EDMUND'S ONLINE and investigated the 1998 VW Jetta TDI. By the time I traded the poor Golf in, it had no muffler (it fell off somewhere in Houston), water inside, and something ugly was about fall off in the front suspension area (in addition to the surface rust and poor paint that it had when I first got it). The car gave us what we really needed for a little while. But it was time to go!

2003 Passat GLS

Image of
                                our Passat. Click the image for more
                                information and photos...This was my wife's VW, a 2003 Passat GLS. My old Jetta TDI is a great car. But I didn't have children in mind when I purchased it. We had our eyes on minivans for a while. But we just couldn't justify the expense of a minivan when we'd only use two or three of the seven seats 99% of the time. Instead, we went with a VW Passat. The Passat is less expensive, quicker, more agile, and gets better fuel mileage than a minivan. It's longer and has more rear seat room than my Jetta. I couldn't get one in DIESEL flavor (B5 Passat TDIs only had a short stint in 2004-2005). So I settled for a 1.8T, a turbocharged four cylinder that puts out 170-hp and still nets 31-mpg on the highway. The fit, finish, and attention to detail on this car was amazing! One thing I didn't like about driving this car was that even my beloved Jetta felt old and worn out by comparison. I kept the miles on it low, selling it with 110,000 mile on it after 11 years. There were a lot of issues cropping that I simply grew tired of dealing with and paying for. Click the photo for more details about the car, written when I still owned it.

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