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The Good Old Days of a VW Bus

Aug 8, 2008
When they found the door to be sufficiently tall, they bought a bright red VW bus with an air cooled engine in the back and about a quarter of an inch of metal between the driver and the next car should there be a collision. It was a four cylinder car, but the size of the interior fooled us. As a result, we consistently overloaded it with people and things.

One time, in the untroubled days before seatbelt laws, we had fourteen high school kids in it from a field trip, sitting on the seats and on the floor and screaming out the windows. When you got to a hill, everyone in the car would hunch forward to 'help' the van make it. You had to get a good running start at the bottom of a hill if you wanted to be going faster than about 15 miles an hour at the top.

This was also the vehicle in which I learned to drive. Or attempted to. Standard shift eluded me at the time, so the bus and I spent many an hour lurching forward about ten feet and dying. I couldn't make it around the block! That might have been one reason why it had to have at least two clutch jobs during its tenure at our house.

Then there was the time we went to Maine from Kentucky. Oh, it's a big car, so throw in everything you want to take. But it died in Massachusetts and needed about a week for repairs, which necessitated renting a car. A small one. Our family was crammed in and difficult decisions had to be made about precious stuff. And winter, an air-cooled engine doesn't warm up very fast and a van has a lot of interior space. You had to bundle up.

Despite all the problems with the VW bus, I loved that car. It had that wonderful sound of the German airplane engine that VW used in its rear-engine cars. That was a great engine. It had plenty of space for three kids a middle seat, a back seat, and the way back space over the engine. There was no arguing about whose elbow was hitting whose side. And, it's really fun going on a trip with all your friends in the same vehicle (and a tolerant parent).

Also, it had a cool factor that our previous station wagons and later Dodge K-cars most definitely lacked. They make better cars now, and nicer vehicles and safer vehicles. But no vehicle that is cooler than a VW bus.
About the Author
Chris Jensen is a contributing author of Jetfly Blog. For more related articles and views visit Jetfly Automotive Blog now. Also, for the best up-to-date related online products, check out Jetfly Electric Scooter Shop for todays current online deals.
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