You like sex, right? (Come on, don't be shy. Just nod your
head if you don't wanna say it.) Okay!
So I guess that means you really enjoy changing those diapers,
right? Mixing up the formula? All those PTA meetings and
putting money aside for college... You're really hot for all
that stuff, right?
No??! Well... gee. I mean, that's the whole IDEA behind sex.
Ah! I see. You want the fun but not the responsibilities.
Ummm... okay. It's your life.
Unfortunately... (you knew that was coming, right? :-)
Unfortunately, old Volkswagens have a lot in common with sex.
The sexy part is roaring around, lotsa noise & chrome, a really
kewl ride ... or for geezers like me, driving off to the ends
of the earth, hitting rocks with hammers, catching fish, getting
chased by bears & stuff like that. It boils down to the same
thing: Having fun. Getting down & dirty. Like good sex.
But after you've had your fun you gotta face the
responsibilities -- the shitty diapers. That's the maintenance
and tune-ups and clutch-jobs and doing the brakes and all those
other unkewl things that YOU gotta do soz you can keep on
The reason I'm writing this is because a lot of folks out there
are in it strictly for the Fun & Games. They want sex without
babies and a kewl ride without getting grease under their
fingernails. The problem is, it don't work that way. Not
unless you are stinking rich... in which case you wouldn't be
reading this anyway :-) Most folks aren't rich but neither
are they dirt poor. They let somebody else raise the baby...
and do the brake jobs. But of course that gets expensive as
so you gotta scrimp here & there. Never on the polish, of
course. Or that ohsewkewl bud vase. But you let a lot of
'unimportant' details slide, such as keeping your wheels
aligned or your shift linkage tight or whatever, firstly
because you yourself haven't any idea in the blue-eyed world
how to do such things.. and aren't about to learn since you're
only in it for the fun anyway, and secondly because you can't
afford to pay someone to do them because you've pissed away any
money you do happen to get on 'having fun'.
I hate to tell you this but you can't have it both ways. Oh,
you can. But not for long. All those 'unimportant' things
start to pile and, eventually, so do you. (Darwin was right
you know :-)
The point is, when it comes to Volkswagens you can't have your
fun without accepting the responsibility that goes with it.
Not if you want the fun to last. How long will it last?
Statistically, based on the transfer of VW titles (ie, ownership)
here in California, about thirty months. Two and a half
years. (*) That's when all those 'unimportant' things finally
catch up to you and you sell your bug or bus to the next kiddie
waiting in line because you have neither the bread nor the
brains to fix it.
Over and over and over again. That's the 'churn' that spells
survival for the VW-specific magazines and all those VW after-
market suppliers (who are becoming fewer each year, in case
you hadn't noticed).
Don't believe it? Check the archives of this Newsgroup.(**)
Where are the kiddies of yesteryear?
So what's the answer? It depends on the question :-)
Wanna earn up to $400,000 in 'hidden' income during your life?
Then keep your car forever. (ask Consumer's Union for the
article on this subject) That's right; just keep repairing it
instead of throwing it away every couple of years. Fuel, oil,
tires and maintenance accounts for only 7% of the cost of
owning a NEW car.(*) The rest gets pissed away renting the
money to pay for the thing, which isn't worth what it cost
to begin with, for the insurance and taxes and license and
all that other crap the System demands you must have.
Average cost? Almost a buck a mile for a full size sedan,
more for an SUV, less for a rice box. (Sound too high?
Check with the AAA. You're in for a surprise.)
Or you can buy an old bug or bus, fix it up and keep it that
way, you'll end up driving for about three cents a mile.
(It doesn't have to be a Volkswagen... the Forever Car
Philosophy applies to any repairable vehicle.)
Of course, that kinda thing means buying tools instead of
those kewl chrome rims, and manuals instead of that bitchin'
bud vase and planning slightly farther ahead than where to
go for lunch... and the record shows most kiddies
don't have the Right Stuff to do that. (Because it's not kewl,
of course :-)
Volkswagens and sex have a lot in common, when you think about it.
But so does divorce and Volkswagens. The sad part is that the
record shows most VW owners are only interested in a joy ride
instead of a stable, long-term relationship.
* - The DMV data was for 1996. Vehicle cost data was 2000. This article first
appeared in 2002.
** - RAMVA