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The True Measure Of A Volkswagen Owner

Nicholas Little

“Passion is the true measure of a Volkswagen Owner. If you are not passionate, then what kind of an owner are you?”

My story, like most other car stories, began at a young age. I believe I inherited my Volkswagen love from my Great-Grandfather. He would restore and rebuild Beetles as a hobby (one at a time, unlike me). He also had an eye for attention and a caring heart for the Volkswagen. One Beetle he finished working on was sold to a neighborhood 16-year-old in Bloomington, IL. My Great-Grandfather saw the passion in the teenager’s eyes and sold it to him for a great deal. That care and passion he had in his own restorations and the hobby was contagious. It seemed to make its way to me.

I always knew I liked cars. What child didn’t? My fondness for the Volkswagen was pretty apparent early on with all of the model toys and posters that decorated my room. But that, of course, was not enough. My first-ever car show was a Volkswagen show in South Carolina. I was 5 years old and even then I wanted a REAL Beetle instead of just the toys. I tried to get one that was for sale at the show but of course that didn’t happen. Hey I was 5, it was worth a shot!

Eleven years later I did finally get a real Beetle! A local auction about 15 miles from my old house in Illinois was selling a disassembled 1968 Beetle. The description was pretty accurate upon arrival. Every piece except the steering wheel was taken apart, put in boxes and then shoved back into the car that was sitting on a trailer two sizes too small. Even though it was very sad looking, I knew it had great potential!

After pulling it back home and digging though all of the parts, I knew I had a diamond in the rough. It was overwhelming and extremely exciting to finally have a real Volkswagen in my garage! Getting dirty and digging through random VW parts was way better that going to my School Prom that night.

I call him Charlie. Like most VW owners, I name my cars. It has nothing to do with Herbie, but that special bond an owner has with his vehicle and it seems only VW people truly get that. Our cars are not meant to go fast or look mean, but to be a simple piece of machinery that takes us to car shows and allows us to have a great time on the road. It is all about love for the car and love for what you do with your VW (for Bus owners it’s also about what you can do in your VW).

My purchase and restoration of Charlie did not stop there. A year and a half later, in 2008, I traveled to Minnesota and pulled a 1960 Ragtop Beetle out of a junkyard. What started as a trip to purchase an eBay 1966 Beetle quickly turned into the purchase of an earlier, more complete Beetle after I spoke to the owner. It was originally for his son, but he went away to school and then had a family, so it was time to let someone else work on it. After almost 30 years of sitting in that junkyard, I brought it home and had 2 VWs. My parents were not thrilled, but at least I was not out partying and doing drugs - my drug of choice was the Air Cooled Volkswagen!

Two years went by before I got the VW itch again. I was about to make a trip out to Colorado and thought it would be a good opportunity to check out the local VW scene to see what I could buy. Up in the Colorado Mountains, I found a 1964 Beetle Sedan and I traded a set of Split Window Bus Safari Windows for it. The owner acquired that Beetle and several other VWs from a neighbor and was selling them off or trading them one at a time.

Not only do I work on Volkswagens as a hobby, but I'm also fortunate enough to spend my days in the workplace focusing on VWs as well. To do what you love doing is the greatest achievement anyone can possibly have. I like Volkswagen’s and I work with the parts on a daily basis; how cool is that?!?

With each new Volkswagen comes a new adventure and challenge. No matter what the road brings, the people you meet along the way are some of the best people in the world. My Volkswagen family means more to me than anything. We have a flair of our own and are not afraid to share that with others. I love my three Beetles and cannot wait to buy more. Volkswagens are like potato chips, you can't have just one!

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