I’ve absolutely had it.
Look, I’ve only owned three cars in my life, a 73 Superbeetle (which I drove until it was wrecked in ’84), a ’79 280Z and, in 2000, a newly purchased NewBeetle. The NewBeetle I got in the exact same colors as my old one. Even had the grey seats swapped for black ones as part of the purchase deal.
And I loved that car. How amazing, the technological changes twenty years make. The car seemed to drive itself. It was fun, it had a sun roof, it was a joy to drive. I even took it to Atlanta for a VW driving school and learned tricks from the Porsche team. What fun that was to take it out on a race track at 115 mph and really, really fly.
But let’s go forward to now.
Suddenly things are really starting to break. The chemicals in the plastic interior degraded, turning into a gooey sticky mess – it was like driving a tar ball. That problem solved itself when the interior of the door ripped free one night while closing it – a costly replacement. There were a lot of thises and thats, just one trip to the shop after the other. And now? The driver’s side window is sticking (not a safety issue? Drive into rain on the freeway and while your hands are full with everyone panic-slowing, try to bring your window up and have it bog, then bounce back open while the maelstrom swirls in). And then, two days ago, I noticed that the gas gauge was reading a quarter tank too high – yes, it’s showing that I’m carrying 120% of capacity – what’s that mean? Drop tanks? And also the motor occasionally hiccups – 60mph in freeway traffic today and – chunk! – the engine faults, the lights come on. Sure, it picked right back up, but it’s like Thirty seconds over Tokyo. In that movie, they knew the left engine would burble. And when did it fail? At low speed and altitude over a rocky Chinese coast. The captain had to get his leg sawn off after the resulting crash. Ugh.
Both my other cars lived long automotive lives well beyond 120k (the Z had 250k when I sold it). But this recapped VW Golf is coming apart. Replace it? Not with another bug. Nope, the new ones look stupid. And besides, my trust is gone. No, I’m seriously thinking of something else, maybe a diesel or a hybrid, or even one of those nifty Fiats (though they are an unknown as far as maintenance goes).
But this thing? Just over-engineered and over-cute. And I think I’m done with it.