Gee whiz I wished I had kept it.

Yes, I loved my 1958 Volkswagen Beetle. I bought it off a used car lot in Inglewood California back in 1968 for about $300. Just basic transportation to and from school.

The Volkswagen featured an air-cooled rear engine and the most manual auto of its time. Roll-down windows, four speed stick shift, small oval rear window, no fuel gage, and a foot shift over reserve gas tank. You would get a sense of real driving. Just you, the gear shift, and a funky sounding motor. But anyway, there was no fuel gage. You had a reserve gas tank with about a gallon of gas left. The trick was to find the lever with your right foot and flip it over while the Beetle was sputtering and coughing before it ran out of gas. Sometimes I had to reach down and shift the reserve tank lever with my right hand and try not to crash into something or somebody. If I had battery problems, I had to remove the back seat to get to it. A very manual and arduous exercise. The gas tank was in the front under the hood along with the spare tire leaving very little room for a brief case or travel bag. To heat the cockpit, the heater in the VW was a plastic twist knob down between the two front seats. Twist it one way and it begins to release non-exhaust air heat from the air-cooled engine. But the AM radio did work. No pre-sets. Just two knobs. On-off volume and dial knob. The small oval rear window is what distinguished the 1958 ‘Bug’ from newer VWs. However, the tiny window was most problematic. Just enough viewing space to notice other cars riding on your bumper. I wish I had kept that car. It could easily fetch a five figure dollar amount today. You just felt you were really driving something. Maybe wearing something. Oh so manual. Oh so humble. It was the undergrad’s car of choice. The most iconic car after Henry Ford’s Model A.

Published by OkieMan

I come from a family who migrated from the parched red dirt Plaines of southern rural Oklahoma. Migrating to blue collar working class community of East Los Angeles. There is where I was born. I am Mr. Writermelon. I can only write what my grammar and spell checker allows. I am neither profound nor profane. Boy howdy! Send comment to:

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