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A Lifelong VW Enthusiast

Jay Burton

My introduction to VW seems to have happened long before I was born. In 1966 my grandfather purchased a new 1966 1300cc Beetle from Will Dennis Volkswagen here in Toledo, Ohio. It was black with red interior and included pop out rear windows, factory sunroof, am radio, stone guards and roof rack. This would be the first of many to be in our family. My parents also had many Beetles when I was growing up from the mid 60s up to the 70s. Flash foward to 1998, when I graduated, I found myself looking for my first VW to call my own. I ended up buying one from my uncle in the form of a 1981 Jetta Deluxe. Who knew this little car would be a big part of my life and change things I had yet forseen.

Being in the Toledo area I was lucky that we had a local VW club that was open to anyone who had or loved VWs. Also helped that my grandparents belonged to the club. So in 99 I joined up with the Greater Toledo VW Club, and got to meet and make so many new friends who shared the same passion for the little cars as I did. In 2001 I found myself looking for a more reliable daily driver as the Jetta was starting to have its typical problems develope. I knew I wanted another VW but wasn't sure which model I wanted. Luckily I came across a small car lot that had two New Beetles sitting on their lot. So after looking both of them over I ended up adopting my first New beetle. Bugsy a Silver 1998 Beetle with only 24K miles on his clock. I was so excited to have another VW and a Beetle at that !. I ended up finding a New beetle group online and quickly made friends there, like the Toledo group the New beetle people Loved their little bugs. I was then invited to hang out with a small group here in Ohio which would be my first of Many outings with them. So off Bugsy and I went and was welcomed with open arms to the wonderful group of new friends.

In 2003 I found myself wanting a convertible especially as VW had just released the New Beetle Convertible to the US market. I found myself wanting one but didn't want to give up Bugsy. But life has a funny way of doing things and in 2004 I traded Bugsy in to my local VW dealer and purchased Lilo a red beetle convertible with a manual top. It was bitter sweet saying good buy to an old friend, but I was looking forward to what lay ahead with Lilo. Once again she was welcomed into the VW family and would enjoy many outtings with both clubs one being a camping trip pulling a vintage apache tent camper behind her.

Sadly, like many people, I was forced to put my beloved convertible up for sale when the economy tanked in 2009. After dealing with many tire kickers I found her current family. Being into VWs themselves it was a perfect fit, and she had an older sibling (78 beetle convertible) waiting for her in their garage back in Mansfield, Ohio. When I was able to get back on my feet I began looking for another VW to fill the void in my life. One local club member had a 1970 Westfalia he was looking to sell, and of course I jumped at the chance to buy it. It was the best of both worlds - camper and VW! I spent a year and few months gathering parts to get it back on the road, but here again life can throw you curve balls.

The company I had worked for for 13 years announced that they were closing and I found myself having to sell yet another beloved VW. I was so upset that vowed I wasn't going to buy another VW. Summer came and oddly I found myself looking at - you guessed it - another VW. A friend of mine was wanting to sell his VW and asked if I knew of anyone looking for one. Well, of course I was interested so I set up and time and drove over and checked out the little gem he had. Pulling up in front of his house I could see the front end poking around from behind his house. I walk around back and found a 1985 VW Cabriolet (or Rabbit convertible as most people call them). I took it for a test drive and instantly fell in love.

I have now owned that wonderful little VW for 3 years. She has gotten some much needed upgrades with some more to come. And was and of course welcomed into the VW family. I recently started hanging out with a group of car enthusiast and made some new VW friends. It made me happy that these guys who have lowered, turboed and tuned cars fell in love with my mostly stock 30-year-old VW. I've enjoyed, and still enjoy going to various VW cruises and shows around Ohio and Michigan. I've owned a lot of other VWs but, for some reason, these made a major change in my life. Owning VWs has changed my life in that I've traveled more, and made so many wonderful friends who share the same passion as I do. In fact, I currently run our local club. And in case you are wondering what happened with my first VW? It's currently sitting in the garage waiting for me to bring it back to life.

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