My First Car -- Trip Down Memory Lane

E Showell
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Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2016 10:36 am

My First Car -- Trip Down Memory Lane

Post by E Showell »

My first car was a 1968 Squareback purchased new from Bay Motors in Brunswick, Me. on summer vacation when the family's Rambler station wagon bit the bullet. The car was originally maroon, but got a bright red repaint later in its life. I bought the car from my parents in or around 1984 for $1 after reverse gear had gone out and it sat in the garage for a few years. I managed to get it running and had the transmission repaired. I replaced a few body panels on it, including getting the last Type 3 front passenger side fender in the U.S. from a dealer in Long Island City, N.Y. The original fender had rusted out around the headlight as they were known to do.

It was a great car. I learned to drive a stick on it, including having to hold my hand on the shift lever during my driving test to keep the car in reverse, to be able to execute my required K-turn. The transmission was very positive, if a bit notchy on the shifting and the clutch was easy to operate. In all a great car for learning to drive a stick. Of course, the car had gobs of storage space, with a factory roof rack and the cavernous front trunk and rear storage compartment.

Four kids and two adults made any number of summer vacation trips between NJ and Maine in that car. One feature I remember well was the windshield washer. I thought it was a tour de force of German engineering to have the windshield washer pump powered by compressed air from the front-mounted spare tire. An air hose went from the spare to the washer reservoir. When the pressure in the spare dropped down to a level at which the tire would no longer be useable as a spare, the windshield washer stopped working. Thus, you avoided a motorized pump for the washer reservoir and had a built-in check of your spare tire pressure if you weren't otherwise inclined to check the spare's inflation pressure every now and again. I thought that was truly brilliant. I ran the car for several years and sold it on for, if I recall $900, to a VW enthusiast. I was told it was spotted driving around in the area for some time after I sold it. I still miss that car.
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Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 8:26 pm

Re: My First Car -- Trip Down Memory Lane

Post by LudwigVan »

Classic VW story ...and indeed the air pressure driven w/s washer was very clever
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