Learning always has a cost
Mar 11, 2019 4:37 PM - 106 Views
Purchase price: $750
Total invested: $3,000
Sale price: $1,350
The Baja Bug was created by taking a regular VW Beetle and customizing it for off-road use. You couldn’t simply walk into a VW dealer and buy one. Independent shops and owners did the conversions. As a 17-year-old living in California, I wanted a car that could romp around beaches and deserts. I found a Bug with nice paint and body stripes, and most importantly, it fit my small budget.
My dad and I picked up the car together, but he had to drive it home. I wasn’t good at working a manual transmission. That old Baja Bug made the 45-minute trip back to our house, then promptly died. It wouldn’t start, no matter what I did. A mechanic told me the engine was shot. So it sat in the driveway for a year while I scraped together the money to have the engine rebuilt.
Once it was running again, I drove to my girlfriend’s house on a sunny Saturday morning to take her to breakfast. As we pulled out of the driveway, her seat flipped over and she tumbled into the back seat. That’s when I discovered the passenger seat wasn’t bolted to the floor. (She married me anyway.)
A few months went by and the rebuilt engine started knocking and sputtering. I decided to throw in the towel, and I sold it to a guy who was very knowledgeable about VW Bugs. He figured out the problem was electrical and fixed it himself — no fat repair bill for him. The engine was fine all along.
The Baja made me realize I should buy vehicles I’m familiar with, like the guy who bought the car from me. He knew enough to diagnose the real cause of the Bug’s problems and how to get it running properly. He didn’t waste money on expensive repairs looking for a cure, which is what I did. Willie Moore StreetRodding.com
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