A Beetle owner reunites with her first car after 22 years

By iworks | Posted in Uncategorized on Friday, March 15th, 2019 at 10:22 PM

If you’ve ever wondered what happened to your first car, or considered trying to track down the one that got away, Amanda Dorset can tell you what it feels like to chase down a memory.

Two decades ago as a teenager, Dorset bought, restored and sold her first car, a 1975 Volkswagen La Grande Bug. A few months ago, Dorset was able to reunite with her Beetle thanks to a little help from the Internet.

“It’s the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me,” Dorset says.

Raised in Victoria, Virginia, Dorset had wanted a Beetle for as long as she could remember. Her dream car was likely inspired by her parents, who each owned a Beetle in their youth.

In 1996, she heard a classmate of hers was selling an old Beetle and pounced at the chance to see it. The La Grande Bug, marketed as a luxury model and one of the last Super Beetle sedans, was one of a line of limited-edition models with colorful names like the Sports Bug, Sun Bug and Champagne Bug, offering upscale touches like a wood-grain dash and a fuel-injected engine.

By the time Dorset laid eyes on it, the La Grande was not so grand. It still had its original Ancona-metallic blue paint and just 48,000 miles, but otherwise the Beetle was in desperate need of restoration. “It was a hunk of junk,” Dorset recalls. “It had trees growing from the floorboard!”

But Dorset was up to the challenge. Her stepfather even agreed to pay for the car, if she was able to rev up its engine. Thankfully – and much to their surprise – she was. “The dang thing had a little juice in her,” Dorset said. They bought it on the spot for $125.

Despite the car’s outward appearance, she painted her with a punchy coat of Plum Crazy purple and optimistically nicknamed the car “Pretty Purple Penny.” For months, she diligently worked with her mother and stepfather on fixing Penny part-by-part, replacing the car’s engine, floor pans, fender and seats.

“That car defined me because of the color,” Dorset recalls. “When I go down to Virginia, I say, ‘Hey, do you remember me? I used to drive the purple Beetle.’”

Dorset’s time with Penny was short-lived, but memorable. She drove her for eight or nine months before moving to New Jersey in 1999. During that time, she fondly recalls stories of getting lost, braving the weather and, once, thinking on her feet when she needed an unscheduled repair. “My defrost stopped working, so a repairman offered to bring it to his shop so he could fix it with beer cans,” she said.

Years passed, and Dorset wondered what happened to Penny. In the interim, she married a fellow VW enthusiast, and the two went on to own five other Volkswagens.

Late last year an old high school friend texted her a photo of a retired, purple Beetle in Meherrin, Va. Spotted in a Facebook ad, the plum Beetle was up for sale in a town seven miles from Dorset’s hometown. Was it her old Bug?

Although it was far from pretty – the car’s color had faded, and her wheels rotted – Dorset immediately recognized her long-lost bug. Yes, it was Penny, and she was looking for a new owner.

Right away, Dorset reached out to the seller and offered to buy the car on the spot for $525. Funny enough, Penny hadn’t forgotten her either. A custom decal, reading “Amanda” was still stuck on the car’s back windshield. When the seller “realized it was really my car, he says, ‘Oh my, your name is still on the back window,’” she said.

Today, Penny sits at Dorset’s father’s house in Green Bay, Va., awaiting their next adventure. Whether that’s on the road or as a static piece of history remains to be seen. “I don’t care,” says Dorset, “as long as it’s mine again.”

 

 

VW’s Super Secret Wolfsburg Car Collection (Tracy Volkswagen) www.vwtracy.com

By iworks | Posted in Uncategorized on Friday, March 15th, 2019 at 8:21 PM

Gallery: Visiting VW’s Super Secret Wolfsburg Car Collection

 

 By: www.vwvortex.com

This is the stuff of dreams. I’ve spent my whole career searching for hidden cars and on a Saturday afternoon in Wolfsburg, Germany, I’ve hit pay dirt. Not only has the location of a secret storage facility been revealed to me, I’ve been invited to visit it on Sunday morning. Somebody pinch me.

Volkswagen has a pretty big classic car collection. The most public of which are displayed in the brand’s flagship Zeithaus museum in the Autostadt, Wolfsburg. That’s also where the Stiftung AutoMuseum is. The former is six stories tall and is a thoroughly modern celebration of everything automotive. The latter is of an older school and is packed tighter with historical and interesting vehicles from the brand.

VW also has a healthy stable of cars being used for marketing or P.R. events, or whatever else a manufacturer does with the hundreds of cars they’ve collected over the years. But what about the extras?

Those that are being worked on, or awaiting transportation, or simply the overflow? Well, I’ve heard rumors of a special storage facility over the years. I was even invited to it a decade ago, but travel plans couldn’t be changed, and I’ve feared ever since that another invitation would never come.

Then, at the second ever Coming Home car show in Wolfsburg, it happened. I’d just finished presenting a little base model 1992 Volkswagen Golf at the Wolfsburg Football Stadium and had mentioned to some friends that I was looking for a trucking company to take the car from Wolfsburg to the Volkswagen factory in Emden. From there I would arrange to have it transported with the new VW Group cars to the USA, my preferred way to bring cool cars home.

When word got to some of the Volkswagen Communication team, they extended an offer to help with the local transportation, which was of course very, very, nice of them. We discussed where the car could be left until a truck was arranged, and then the offer of leaving it in an off-site storage location was offered.

I asked if this was the fabled collection’s storage facility [okay, try to slow down, heart]. They said it was [too late, it’s taken off, racing like Seabiscuit]. A member of its staff had volunteered to go to work on a Sunday to meet me and my car [at least try to be outwardly cool in front of the nice, professional people]. Best of all, though, they said there might be time for a little tour [okay, at least stop doing a happy dance in front of them].

Let’s leave my happy dance, and skip straight to an immaculately clean light grey building, in a newly built industrial complex. There was definitely a big gate, and I can’t be sure, but it might have been made of gold and there might have been some angels singing behind it. As the shutter door raised, the scene couldn’t have been better.

Amid almost exactly 100 of the rarest and most significant Volkswagens ever made, sat a little silver Golf Mk3. The Golf A59. Parked at an angle, calling me to its fabled wide fenders, I immediately headed [ran] to its side and then froze to ask the lone employee if I was a) allowed to take a photo, b) allowed to touch it, and c) drooling? The answers were a) of course, b) no problem, and I think there was a language barrier with question C thankfully].

I didn’t just have permission to photograph the A59, though. The whole facility was fair game. No dusting off or preparation, no removal of incomplete projects, no corporate P.R. keypoints—just an enthusiast being really, really, enthusiastic, and trying to keep his hands from shaking long enough to take a picture.

What I didn’t learn until later was that not only was my visit was so out of the ordinary that my chaperone had to be given special security codes to enter on a Sunday. The security is so tight that the normal access codes don’t work outside of normally scheduled times, such is the importance of the vehicles.

I’d like to list some of the highlights but, honestly, the list would be one hundred cars long. Some of the movie cars I recognized. Along with, of course, Herbie there was the Touareg from the Bourne Ultimatum which can be driven from a seat on the roof, and who could forget the Touran from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift?!

Perhaps some of the most significant and rarest vehicles were the multiple race cars that dotted the warehouse – a Corrado G60 with BBS wheels featuring bespoke G60 center caps, multiple Mk2 Golf Rallye’s with one in an interesting state of partial assembly, and multiple off-road offerings including a Touareg, and perhaps most uniquely the number 203 Volkswagen Tarek, which competed in the 2003 Dakar race.

The Golf family was represented in silver by all 7 generations, with fantastic matching number plates (WOB G 1, 2, 3, etc), and there were Polos from every era, as well. It’s always nice to see a Fridolin, and the Lufthansa split window Type 2 had such great presence. In between those two vehicles, was a CityStromer Golf 2 – one of the few all-electric Golfs produced in the late 1980’s.

Milestone cars that I spotted included one of the (if not the very last) Mk2 Jettas ever made, produced by FAW-Volkswagen in China, and also one of the final production Citi Golf 1s, from the Uitenhage, South Africa factory that I had visited with my own Citi last February. If my German was correct—and it’s pretty bad so don’t quote me—the Citi has never been driven.

The 30 Millionth Volkswagen Golf was a light blue Bluemotion car, just in case you ever need that bit of trivia. It was parked next to a Volkswagen NILS, the adorably cute gullwing-doored electric prototype from 2011. I’d probably pick the NILS as the one I’d like to drive the most, after the A59 of course. In the center of the room sat a silver Beetle Convertible, which could almost be ignored but might be one of the most fun oddities–an RSI Beetle Cabriolet. Complete with everything that made the RSI a demonstration of all things fun and good from the VW engineers, my host commented that the driving dynamics were quite different from the normal production hardtops at maximum Autobahn speeds.

Next to it was a line of Passats, including a Syncro B2 station wagon (known affectionately as the QSW in the USA – Quantum Syncro Wagon). For now, though, I’ll let you explore the photographs to see what else you can spot, and hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them.

 

I have to say a huge thank you to the people involved for making this impromptu visit possible. I hope to be able to visit again in the future and spend some more time around these wonderful vehicles learning more of the stories attached to them. While it is literally the opposite of a public facility, many of these cars, and other significant vehicles like them, can be seen at the museums linked below.

If you are planning a trip to Wolfsburg, I fully recommend going during the Coming Home event if possible, which is normally held in September. Entry to the enthusiast event is completely free, and many of the Volkswagen Classic collection are parked inside the show for people to get up and close to.

Hello world!

By Product Expert | Posted in Uncategorized on Monday, February 25th, 2019 at 4:15 PM

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