Back in 1969, while I was living in a dorm at Emerson College (it would be unfair to Emerson to claim I was attending school), I bought a car. It cost $400, a big investment for me.
Today, I was pulling into the parking lot at Dunkin’ Donuts when I spied this 1960 oxidized green VW Beetle. That’s exactly what I owned!
OK – it wasn’t originally oxidized green, but that’s what it evolved to.
The 1960 Volkswagen was a tiny death trap with no safety features. There are no seat belts. The dashboard is metal. The gas tank is under the hood in the front, where the crumple zone is today. With thin tires, any wind pushed it back and forth across the road.
Its six volt positive electrical system (today’s cars are 12 volt negative) made getting parts a chore. It also had headlights with the power of birthday candles and a three speed manual transmission.
With no radiator (it was air cooled) the heating and defrosting systems were pretty close to worthless. Air conditioning… you rolled down the window – by hand.
I loved this car. You just have no idea. It was liberating.
I once got my VW to 62 mph, but that was on a long, flat, deserted stretch of Military Trail in West Palm Beach. Going up hills, it often had trouble sustaining 50 mph.
The owner of the car pictured below runs a garage restoring old VWs. I have seen him driving around in classic Beetles before, but never in my car.
The back story is, this particular car was owned by a woman who kept it in storage for thirty years.
It will be its old self soon. This guy knows what he’s doing.