1975 Volkswagen Beetle

This is the 1975 Beetle I used to own. The weird-looking guy posing is me, when I was about 16. I was even less fashion conscious that day than normal. I bought it for $1400, though knowing what I know now, it was worth somewhat less. The body was in great shape, but there was a nice rust hole underneath the battery and another teeny one in the floorpan on the driver's side, but that didn't pose any problems. The engine was originally fuel injected, but a previous owner had it converted to a Solex carburetor. The thing had no engine seal and had some holes in the tin. Then I was young and stupid and didn't know better, so I left it that way. I drove it hard, too. I'm surprised, knowing what I know now, that the thing just didn't melt down.

I learned a lot from working on that car and it was a great car, if not excessively reliable. My '78 bus has been much more reliable, but I think that it has also received better care in the past. That makes all the difference. Eventually, graduation from high school came around, and I was briefly lured away from Volkswagens by my parents donating their 1989 Toyota 4Runner to me (they got a new car). In my sophomore year of college, I got my '78 bus.