VW Blog

Aircooled VW blogs, builds and banter. Since lunchtime 2009

back in the day

i made a post on a forun this evening that got me thinking about what it was like "back in the day" before the whole internet thing took off and became what it is now for our hobby.  


i first got into vw's about 1995, so not long before the first chat rooms started getting popular.


back then just about everything i did with regard to parts hunting and information gathering was completely different. there was none of this instant gratification available now. well, not to me anyway as i couldn't afford the books, catalogues that would have made it easier... i doubt i even would have thought to use them then. now if i want to know something i just go on the net, and visit the samba if it is general info or occasionally in2vws.com for info relating specifically to australia colours or australian accessories. in most cases the info can be found within a matter of minutes.

i have no idea if anyone reads this, or if anyone does, who, but if you do and remember pre internet times, cast your mind back. i bet you had a black book of sorts of people to call for bits or info. i think that there is a fair chance you would have bought at least some magazines to learn. i was never a club member so never had the option of getting info that way.

i was very lucky in that i met a couple of really knowledgeable guys who were willing to share thier hard earned info. still there is a lot of information that i pieced together from just looking at cars. a fair bit of that info still isn't readily available, particularly info on the australian built 6V cars. 

every week held the same ritual for me, every thursday morning i'd get up 2 hours earlier and head off the the local newsagent that i had found opened the earliest to buy the trading post. i'd have gone through the adds and worked out which ones i wanted to call and in which order by the time 7.30 (or was it 7... can't remember) rolled around. i thought it was rude to call earlier than that. then for the next few days i'd be driving all over the place, meeting strangers, poking about in boxes and sheds to see what treasures could be found. sometimes i'd be off somewhere with a car trailer in tow to pick up some car or other, there was always a number of 6V beetles in the $2-300 dollar range the art was to try and work out which ones weren't totally buggered or butchered and suss out if they had anything in the accessory department without pushing up the price. i picked up 6 or 8 cars during this period, i wish i still had most of them. i wish i had bought 10 times the amount and dumped them on a farm or similar (some kombi's and type 3's would have been nice too) plus i wish they were still as easy to get.

if only i knew what would happen in the vw market.

there was also the thing of ringing and asking about stuff not in the adds, did they have any spares, any of the little bits you were after for this or that, did the kombi guys have any beetle stuff, did the guy advertising guards have a door or headlights or this or that. i think it is sort of a lost art in a way, at least amongst the younger people in our hobby. asking about what you are after. plus the art of talking to strangers, most of the stuff i buy now i have never met the seller and never will. then almost everything ended up in meeting someone in person and handing over cash.

in hindsight it kind of surprises me that i got as much cool stuff as i did from such a diverse range of people... at the time i was a recovering goth... :) i didn't exactly fit the standards of normal, silly hair, facial peircings NOT dressed in blue jeans and tucked in t-shirt etc. i now wonder what some of the people whose doorsteps i turned up on must have thought. especially as i used to get out and about in the country quite a bit at the time and i didn't consider it a good trip if i didn't come home with something vw. some of the farmers expressions when this odd looking bloke turned up unannounced asking stupid questions about that rusty beaten up vw down the paddock... to thier credit (as a general rule) once they talked to me a little they seemed to overlook the way i looked. or maybe they were just stunned by the obsession driven vw babble. ;)  i met some facinating people and heard some really cool stories about thier lives and adventures. in hindsight learning to talk to people of all ages, from all walks of life, has served me well since.

thinking about this realy makes me miss the joy of getting out and just seeing what is out there, plus of course the thrill of the hunt, the unknown. i might go for a drive tomorrow.

correction i think i NEED to go for a drive tomorrow.

i'm not sure if it would be the same though which saddens me. i did most of my traveling then with my dad, we would pass the time talking and whoever wasn't driving would look out the window... i had him well trained to spot vw's, he wasn't as good as me but he was good. my wife and children just don't look when they are in the car, they would prefer to sleep, read or watch bloody dvd's. the last thing on thier minds is seeing the world around them. in a way it makes me feel that i failed as a parent, as they just don't care, but i tried again and again to open thier eyes and they weren't interested. still it frustrates me as it makes them crap vw spotters (and they miss seeing so much of life/the world). back then when i was driving i could see every bend, sign and pothole plus still spot a vw in the trees at 250m+ while going 100kph (well back then more likely 105-115 :) ). now i need to focus on the road so if i'm driving a good spotter is essential.

as an aside, i notice something a few weeks ago. on the lhd market cars the rearvision mirror lost the ridge above the arm on the mount plate circa 59 (?) but we kept it through till we went to seperate mirror/visors at the end of the 6V era. (i'm still not sure when this happened, i think it was either the 66 or 67 year model). i guess that australia kept the old tooling and it either didn't wear out or they just never bothered to redesign the tooling if it did. i'd love to know if the other rhd markets kept the ridge or if they lost it at the same time and the lhd tooling changed. edit, i went looking for a picture on the samba to show what i was talking about and found the answer... at least some rhd markets changed to the smooth style by 1960

a fairly quiet weekend.
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