The Value of a Bug

What is it about old VW Bugs that people just love? For me, it’s a love/hate relationship. Way back when they were newer, the Bug was the car of choice to fit the thin wallet. Now they are classic and just plain cool.

In my later teen years, I felt I was cursed with Bugs. My first experience was with a boyfriend that thought he was a mechanic/body person, so his Buggy was always breaking down and was multiple colors (kinda green but mostly primer gray and bondo). Well, guess who had to learn how to kickstart a car?! At least I was the one in the driver’s seat popping the clutch, not the one pushing. The boys had to be macho after all…but, hey, at least we had wheels and we didn’t have to walk!

After that, the next two guys weren’t mechanical at all, so life got a little easier. Their Buggies ran pretty well, although there was a time my Dad had to come rescue us between Kona and Hilo and tow us home. Being somewhat mechanical is definitely a prerequisite to owning a Bug.

While serving in the Air Force, it appeared the Buggy curse was over. It could be that it was too doggone cold in the UP of Michigan for a Buggy heater to handle. In fact, I married the guy with the Pontiac Grand Am. His heater worked fine. That car is long gone, but still got the guy. He’s pretty classic and cool.

After the Air Force, the government sent me back to my home of record with my husband and his VW Dune Buggy. He pictured himself jumping sand dunes in Hawaii. There are only lava dunes on the Big Island; so much for that. We needed to get a real car that somewhat protected us from the rain, so along comes a ’74 VW Bug! The curse is back! It didn’t rain on our heads, but dumped water on our feet! What were we thinking…? Actually the thin wallet was talking to us! So much for a real car.

As the wallet got a little fatter, we couldn’t wait to get rid of the Bug and get a real car. We sold it to a guy who gave it to a church, that gave it to another guy…that’s another story that spans a few years. Last we heard, that Buggy is still going. We finally moved from Buggydom and were normal for quite a while.

Then the relapse.

We were driving one day from Waikoloa to Hilo and saw a cute little Buggy on the side of the road with a “For Sale” sign on it. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a backup car for when the family van was in the shop? Something cheap to run, cheap insurance, something that wouldn’t cost a whole lot to sit in the driveway…

Yes, it was a temporary memory lapse. There must be a medical term for it; if not, there should be. Incureable Buggyitis.

The first time I drove Buggy a mile down the road, I felt like I just ran a marathon! What were we thinking? We brought him with us to Oahu from the Big Island. Every few years when the muffler starts to rust out, the neighbor’s car alarm will go off as Buggy goes by. When Buggy goes past a bus stop, people start punching each other on the arm (blue punch Buggy from Lilo and Stitch). People always turn and look when he comes down the road. Could be the orange color, the distinctive (loud) Buggy roar…whatever it is, Buggy is a person with his own personality.

Our two older children learned to drive a stick shift in Buggy. If you can drive Buggy, any other stick shift is super easy. Every time we talk about selling him, the kids whine. They are adults, by the way.

Maybe when the satellite system locks all of us out of our electronic cars, Buggy will be the only one on the road. We should keep him just for that. After all, Buggyitis may lay dormant for awhile; but it is incurable. It’s useless to fight it.

Funny thing about Bugs – they still sell for about the same price or more as when they were new; even when they are over 40 years old, and the condition isn’t that great. Not many things keep their value like that; except maybe real estate.

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