On The Road With Johnny B ..How My VW Dementia Started
I fell in love with Crusty VW Beetles at an early age. My Grandfather Anthony Attanasio had a black 1964 Bug. He would drive me to Brooklyn to the old neighborhood and to baseball games at Shea Staduim. From that point on I was a lifetime Mets fan and a Crusty Ole Bug Nut. At that very young age I got my first whiff of oil fumes coming from the heater vents(like there was heat) From that point on I was hooked with the “Luft Cooler” VeeDubs.
My first VW Beetle was a 1966 in "Slimer" Green. Well to be honest I did not even know it was Java Green till I scrubed the layer of brown mold off the paint and interior. The combo of Rust and Mold would become known as "Rold" for years to come. Trust me over the past 3 decades I have owned many a vehicle covered in Rold.
Years of sitting under a pine tree had turned it green paint into strange shade of baby poop brown. My mixture of Mr Clean,bleach and dish soap worked wonders to de-slime the paint and interior..My own words “Holy crap it’s green!!!”
Getting it running was easier than the de-sliming but I learned a valued lesson my 19 year old mind would never forget. Never put a 12 volt battery in a 6 volt car. I didn't know 1966 was the last year VW used 6 volt systems. The meltdown was almost Three Mile Island in its scale but I managed to not turn the De-Rolded Beetle into ashes.
Up and running and on the road I had plans of driving millions of miles in my VW. About a week after my VW adventure began I noticed my brakes were getting low..”Hmm maybe needs brake fluid” Ignoring important things like any other 19 year old I just kept driving. .”Hmm these brakes are getting real low” As I approached a very busy stop sign I pushed on the brakes and the whole pedal box(including the clutch and gas pedal)went flying under the car causing a spark show the Gruccis would be proud of.
"What an old Beetle with rust issues !! No way !!
I watched my young life flash before my eyes. I tried the emergency brake but the handle broke off in my hand. My only other thing to do was shut the engine down and come to a stall in the middle of the intersection. Rolling out of the car like Starsky and Hutch. I looked over at my broken Bug and all I could think was. “Oh man I missed a brown spot on the roof“ I guess Rold never sleeps. Despite no brakes I limped the now deadly vehicle to my job at the local Power Test Station.
I managed to glue to old Beetle back together and we had some awesome youth infused adventures. Sadly the ravages of rust and empty pockets the Ole Bug eventually ended up in the local scrap yard.
Through the years I have owned over 150's Vintage, Odd, Classic or Antique vehicles. Enjoyed some, loathed other but always adored my Vee Dub Bug's. My most recent VW Bug Dementia as most of you know was our Buddy Otto The Super Beetle. I stupidly sold Ole Otto needing the money for another project that never happened. A mistake for sure and I heard Otto never was as much loved as I lavished him with gifts and care. As usual I am looking for another "Demented" Bug Project.
The stories and groaning misery that comes with owning an Air Cooled VW will be always in abundance. It is something about these Little Bugger that stops people in their tracks, waving and smiling as you drive by with the Stench of Oil and Fuel Fumes.
Long live Old Luft Cooler Vee Dub's, all the people who cherish them and the many untold stories of adventures that follow..