I wanted to write this up as a bit of a lesson to a ton of naysayers I've seen - I owned this car for a whole year. I drove it almost every day. I did most of the custom work in about three weekends in May. I attended Eurohangar 2013, I cruised Woodward, I went to numerous smaller gatherings and outings, and did a few business trips to places like Chicago and all over west michigan with it and some rolls of fabrics or chemical samples in it. Probably 50+ trips to grocery stores and doing the shopping. A few mishaps here and there. Those times it ejected its brake pads by eating a caliper guide pin? Not cool. However, this car is a testament to the fact that you can intelligently build and modify a car for everyday use. And I mean EVERY. DAY.
I dare say I had more fun working on, and cruising, this car than I did autocrossing other metal. Why? It was so much more than just what it looked like. This journey of modifying and maintaining a total shitbox became almost a celebration of car culture. I remember earlier this "spring" there was a warm day where the other custom Vdubs started coming out of the woodwork. I had to chuckle since mine was never put away to begin with. Sure it rode like there were wood blocks for suspension and maybe the ABA motor could've warmed up faster but it didn't matter to me at the time. Nothing makes freezing your nuts off because your car can't heat up too well like people in volvos and toyotas giving you the thumbs up or looking at you in a mix of confusion and a hint of fear. As if there is no way on earth anyone with a semblance of sanity would have the stones to drive such a vehicle through lake effect snow.
I think what I'll miss most about being in some crappy rustbucket with 200k+ miles that I worked on is the honesty of the beast. I love my new Fiesta ST but a part of me won't feel right until I deck it out with a rally liveried vinyl wrap and some extra lights on the front. Why? I think that as a car enthusiast, I should have my ride be an extension of myself. Love it, hate it, burn it, immortalize it, think whatever you want about my car - At the end of the day, it is MY work you're looking at and is on display. Not someone else's vision or simply the badges that it carries on the hood and trunk.
We all may have different tastes in cars but at the end of the day we all love the automobile and what it stands for. So I ask all of you - what good is that passion if you can't express it? With that in mind, I raise my glass in honor of my former car. Here's to Das Bierwagen! You were a rusty and crusty bastard that tried to kill me multiple times (You almost succeeded) and yet brought smiles and grins to everyone in the downtown area. Total build, buy, and maintenance cost of about 3500$ and you drove through one of the harshest winters on record as a lowered Mk3 Jetta with the 100hp four banger. I hope your next owner gets to experience the joys of exploring his own tastes in cars through you and that you continue to represent all that is right with car culture. But this isn't the end of this article. Not by a longshot. I've still got to deal with YOU sorry lot. Yes, YOU the readers.