You’d think with a nick-name like “HemiBill” that my garage would be filled with only Mopars, but you’d be wrong. Or maybe it’s me that’s wrong? Either way, here are some of the non-Mopars I’ve owned through the years.
1967 VW Bug – Back when I was a young lad of 20, I bought this ’67 Bug from my best friend, Kevin, for $350, dropped in a $150 stereo, and thrashed it for a while before selling it for $500 when I moved to SoCal.
1974 Super Beetle – I bought this one as a parts car back in 1990 and if I remember correctly, it was only $100 or so. It was originally orange and had factory air conditioning! The engine went in the ’64 Baja Bug and the rest got scrapped out.
1964 Baja Bug – I bought this car with no engine for $140. The baja kit was already installed and it had stock sized tires. I put the engine from the ’74 Super Beetle into it and hand mounted some 10.50×15 tires. Went off-roading with my brother-in-law, Robert, and it performed great. I sold it (for cheap) when my (now ex-)wife decided she was tired of Virginia and wanted to move back west again.
1989 Nissan pickup – My brother-in-law, Robert, had an ’86 Nissan truck that was a fantastic truck, so I got this one thinking I’d have the same truck as his. Nope, not even close. Even though it was identical drivetrain (4 cyl, 5 speed, 4WD), my truck was the single largest pile-of-dung I’ve ever owned. Good riddance!
1968 Baja Bug – Hey, what can I say? I’ve done more off-roading, mud-slinging, and stump-jumping in VWs then any other off-road vehicle. I bought this ’68 Baja Bug in late October 2000 after my son saw it while walking home from school. Oh yeah, it was running on only 2 cylinders. I fixed the motor but a previous owner had made a “targa top” convertible out of the roof and that always bugged me (no pun intended). I parted out another Bug and kept the roof as a replacement. When I moved from Oakhurst back to Herald, I sold this Bug to a guy in Pismo Beach and I included the replacement roof.
1956 VW Bug (oval window) – I bought this one from my friend, Kevin, for $300. Mona and I drove up to Montana and tow-bar’ed it back to California. It was rough and had some title issues, but we got that straightened out. I sold it for cheap when I moved from Oakhurst, to a guy near Disneyland. He was going to make a rat-rod out of it.
1965 VW Bug – I honestly don’t remember where I bought this one. I do remember I sold it at Bug-O-Rama one year for $900. Yet another project car that slipped though the sands of time….
1987 BMW 325I – My wife needed a daily driver, so I picked this one up for $800. The seller said his sister had run it through a deep puddle and the engine had ingested some water. It ran, so I changed the oil and we started driving it. One morning when I pulled away from a stop light, the #6 connecting rod decided it had gone through enough heat cycles and wanted some fresh air. Of course it was hot-as-fuck that day! I put a used engine in it and we drove it for about 2 years after that, selling it when we bought the Volvo sedan.
1998 Volvo Sedan – Bought this one from a co-worker for $1500. It was a good daily driver for my wife for a while. We sold it on Craigslist when we bought the Audi.
2002 Audi TT convertible – We bought this from a local dealership mostly on a whim. Our kids had grown and moved out so we didn’t need a 4 door car, and the Volvo sedan was racking up the miles. The Audi only had 80K miles when we bought it in 2010 but we had doubled that by the time we sold it 7 years later. I learned to hate German engineering through this car and some of the insane hoops you have to jump through to perform simple maintenance (and larger repairs).
2000 Volvo V70 wagon – I was looking for a replacement daily driver and this one was in Craigslist for cheap, because it was missing the transmission. The seller had bought 2 cars at an auction with hopes of fixing both of them, but this one was beyond his skill set. I bought it for $400, spent another $200 at Pick & Pull for a trans & drive axles, then I drove it for several years. It broke down on me twice, the first time being a cam seal and the 2nd time being the head gasket. After the 2nd time, I decided enough was enough, so I sold it as-is for $140.
1969 VW Bug – Another car that I bought on a whim, from the guy that lived next door to the shop that I was working at. He had pulled the motor & trans to use in his wife’s Bug, so I bought this for $300. I’ve collected most of the parts to build an engine & trans, just have not gotten around to it yet. It’s currently sitting in my back yard.
2004 Kia Amanti – A friend of mine had put 290,000 miles on this car and was afraid that something big was going to fail on it. I tried to sell it for him, but with that many miles, no one would even look at the car. I bought it for $800, drove it for 2 years, then sold it to the state through an old-clunker-car-buy-back-program, for $1500.
2014 Ford Escape – After the Audi, my wife said she wanted another 4 door SUV, so she could have room for her grand-kids. We bought this car used from Enterprise Car Rental with low miles. Guess what is the one thing that has never been in it?