Yep. Owned one.
And after that, I wouldn't buy a German car with YOUR money. (Been
there, done that.)
And yes, I "get" German cars. German cars are the expensive, pouty, and
high-maintenance mistresses of the road. Damn, they are a fine, fine
....but then the maintenance and pouting kicks in.
At some point, without unlimited funds, you are at a decision point:
continue the high-priced, high-maintenance fun, or go back home and
enjoy your reliable Lexus wife of a car, patiently sitting there waiting
for you to get over the midlife crisis.
Oh sure, she's not as sexy as the German car, and she doesn't handle at
the edge like the German car. She's also not as fickle and high
maintenance and pouty, and she agrees with you much more of the time.
She's always there and never complains, and you come to realize there's
more to life than a high-maintenance relationship with a pouty,
high-maintenance woman--no matter how sexy she is or how fun the nights
out with her can be. Because when she lets you down and demands more of
you than you have to give, and treats you like dirt, you're standing
there all alone outside the club, looking and feeling like an idiot.
Your Lexus wife would never, ever do that to you.
And the occasional fun night out isn't worth what you end up paying for
it, both financially and in time wasted while you wait for the German
car mistress to be in the mood to play.
I don't get it. I drove cheap beater VWs for years and other than a
Corrado or Passat (of which I've owned neither, although SWMBO had a
Corrado) they seem to be the Dodge Dart of German cars, albeit a little
more fun to drive (unless you managed to find a Dart with a 340 and HD
suspension) Parts for 80's WCVWs are for the most part pretty
reasonably priced as well and working on them yourself is not all that
challenging, once you get a couple special tools (notably a cutaway
socket for the strut nuts, a set of triple squares, and a few other
minor things.) I had four different VWs and my mom another, as well as
several friends who also had various models, so it's a little hard to
say "I got lucky with my car, most of them aren't like that." The only
reason I don't have one today is the lack of good junkyards in my area,
nor did the parts stores stock anything for them - everything had to be
mail ordered; the VWs I like are all either still on the road or have
all been crushed a decade ago. I could easily be tempted by, say, an
'81 Scirocco S however.
Now if you insist on an automatic transmixer, yeah, those are not the
most reliable. Automatics are not a strong point of really any German car.
Now your characterization might better apply to something like a
Porsche, but I ran the cost/benefit analysis and went ahead and bought
an old 944 anyway. And, really, if you just plan for a couple grand
worth of maintenance/minor repairs a year, it'll serve you well and
you'll be much happier than you would in, say, a contemporary Celebrity
and your cost of operation still won't come close to approaching a new
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
Well, I drove the first GTI, which is why I haven't driven one since. I
like keeping my fillings *in* my teeth when I start the engine....
Yes, I know modern VWs are a far cry from a Wabbit GTI, but I still have
never been able to get the "VW = crap" association washed out of my brain.
Diff'rent strokes, I guess, the one car that I've owned and sold that
I regret selling to this day was an '84 Scirocco. I had a Wabbit GTI
as well, and the only reason the 'roccet gets the nod was that the
Scirocco was German built while the Wabbit was Westmoreland built, and
therefore had a more attractive dash and interior. Other than that
they're pretty much the same car, and I'm an idiot for selling the
I had a cow-orker who owned a circa '84 GTI, and kept that thing until
maybe 2001? 2002? I forget. In its day, it was a scary-fast and nimble
little thing (if you could handle the gobs of torque-steer). But I lost
track of how many accessory brackets (PS, AC, alternator) shook
themselves to pieces on that car- that was the ROUGHEST 4-banger I've
ever felt, and that includes the VW-based engine in my Dad's
gone-and-not-missed 78 Plymouth Horizon (which also tended to break
alternator brackets and carb mounting flanges from the vibration). I can
understand the desire not to waste a few horsepower on balance shafts
and just live with the natural 2nd order imbalance of an inline-4, but
HOLY COW! The early Mopar 2.2 had no balance shafts either, and it
wasn't half that unpleasant.
There was something wrong then, because I don't recall any of my old
VWs being noticeably unpleasant. There's a bit of a buzz, yes, but no
worse than, say, a GM 3400. They did come from the factory with
pretty weak front engine mounts (front of engine, that is, not front
of car) in what I assume was an attempt to tame what vibration there
was. Unfortunately they were weak enough that on an older car they'd
need to be replaced otherwise they'd go metal to metal with
predictable results. Must have just been the rubber degrading over
time, as it wasn't in an area that was prone to getting sprayed with
oil from a leaky seal/gasket/whatever. The right fix would be to use
a mount with stiffer rubber from a Diesel-engined car, but many shops
would simply use the part that the book told them to, which would fail
again, etc. Also when replacing a mount one should loosen all of them
and rock the engine/trans around to let it settle; installing a mount
without doing this could make it fail quicker than it would otherwise.
I ran a Diesel mount on my 'roccet and didn't notice it being
particularly unpleasant. If you tried to give it any appreciable
amount of throttle below 1500 RPM it would buzz like hell but I
wouldn't consider that being particularly kind to the bearings, and
the solution to that problem is easy. Balance shafts wouldn't have
helped with that anyway - that's not a balance issue, that's the
operator lugging the engine combined with a low cylinder count. My
944 has a 2.5 liter 4-cyl. (*with* balance shafts) and it's even worse
in that respect.
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