Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The problem with polishing...

I've been into cars ever since I can remember. My mum tells me my first full sentence was...

"Look mum, a car"

Really ever since then I've been doomed. Course I follow in my grandfather's shoes in that regard too. He was a petrolhead as well, even though I never met him.

So I've been playing with cars on and off for about 20 years now along with keeping up with a number of cars forums and getting involved in club motorsport at a grassroots level.

I love cars.

For most of that time, I've been playing with or around VWs, specifically beetles. Yeah I know, hopeless eh? But beetles have lots of advantages;

1. There were millions made.
2. They're a cheap classic
3. Rear wheel drive
4. Light
5. Not particularly given to rusting
6. Easy to work on, like lego in fact
7. Parts are cheap and plentiful
8. They're German
9. People love em
10. The most modified car in history
11. Have a proud motorsport history in almost every type of racing
12. Look cool
13. They are the older, slower cousin of the 356 and 911 Porsches
14. A huge aftermarket industry

There are a few disadvantages too;

1. They're a cheap classic
2. Easy to work on, so everyone works on em
3. The most modified car in history
4. They still rust some
5. Swingaxle suspension
6. Limited factory power options
7. Old

So, picking up a straight, unmodded example is a bit of a challenge. Still, all is not bad and kits for all sorts of things can be bought off the shelf and installed with ease.

The other weird thing that has happened to aircooled VWs in the last 10 years or so is that they've gained this weird following that is both helpful, but kind of dumb too.

They're considered rarities...

Seriously. Every ebay add for an old part has the word "rare" in the title or description somewhere. I've not exactly figured out why this is. I'm sure it's a perception thing, but let's set it straight.

There were over 23 million beetles made. They are NOT rare.

The upshot of this misconception is that people stop using their cars for what they were designed for. So the most capable car of the 20th century becomes the most pampered show queens of the 21st century.

Pretty disappointing.

I've owned three early beetles. A 66', a 60' deluxe (which became a dune buggy) and now a 56' deluxe. All had the same chassis as it were (although I changed the 60' over to IRS). All of them were dailies to some extent. All of them also had goes at club motorsport. Here is the important thing... All of them were driven and driven properly.

None of the cars got a wash more than once or twice a year. Polishing, even rarer. I didn't thrash them, but I did give them a good go. So don't expect to see shiny stuff here.

What you'll find is real drivin'. Real upgrades. Race racing. Real usage and none of the fancy 'I went to this show and sat there' business... not that there's anything wrong with that, but you get the idea.

This blog is about drivin'.

Coz as they say in the classics, 'Chrome won't get you home'.

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