Volkswagens have always intrigued me. From the beginning, as a young boy handing my cigar smoking grandfather tools and parts while he tinkered with Beetles to the sound of country music, I was hooked.
At the age of fifteen and a half my first car was a 1971 Porsche 914-4. This was not the first car I ever drove, but it was the first I could call my own.
It was a horrible vehicle at times. Expensive parts, and constantly breaking this, or snapping that. But it is also the vehicle I remember most fondly, and the automobile which holds the highest place of esteem within my memories.
It was with this first car I started to learn about the Volkswagen Auto Group (VAG) and how to source nearly identical parts from other makes at a fraction of the cost. What I wouldn’t give to be able to source parts from SEAT and other European models here in the USA.
There were many other cars and trucks throughout the years… a Dodge pickup, a Chevy Blazer, a Ford Mustang GT, several motorcycles, and even before all of that a BMW 318is. Yes, the highly desirable E30. I sold this BMW when I left for the Military, and how I wish that I had been able to store it in some way. This little car was a beast, in great condition, and completely stock. I owned it when I lived in Northern Idaho for two years, and though the black ice tried it’s best to kill me, the incredible handling of little car saved my bacon quite a few times.
When my career gave me the opportunity to travel to Europe for two years, and with flights as frequent as once a month, I did what any enthusiast in my position would have done with access to a company expensive report and travel budget; I rented as many different model of automobile that I could.
The one rental vehicle which I had more than any other was the Audi A3. In Germany I was treated to many variants. The Sportback. The RS3. And once I was lucky enough to be given a three door S3, tricked out with every factory upgrade possible at the time. And how the Autobahn loved me that month.
It was then I decided that when I returned to a much more stable lifestyle at home in the States, that I would buy an Audi A3. This was definitive. And so when my next career move afforded me a position with a company car I sold my beloved 2005 VW Mk.IV Jetta TDI and I drove the company car and rode my Triumph 675 on the weekends while I set aside funds in anticipation for my next four wheel drive love. But I continue to reminisce even now about the Mk.IV TDI. If I could find one again I just may have to pick it up. Though by that time I might make it an R32, since I have always wanted one of those.
For the Mk.IV I had done some DIY for a biodiesel conversion. This is actually not labor intensive at all. All that I did was replace the fuel filter with a more efficient CAT diesel fuel filter and swap out the fuel lines. And what inspired this mod? A stock fuel line bursting of course.
I noticed it when my tank started swallowing obscene amounts of fuel but my MPG didn’t seem to vary all that much. With a diesel it is easy to become obsessive over MPG numbers. At times it is almost difficult to believe the range these cars can get. while I had this Jetta my favorite game was to try and squeeze 700 miles from the tank. I came very close a couple of times. This was something of a badge of honor on the TDI forums.
Now I have the 2008 Audi A3 and I love this car. In fact, until the VW Jetta TDI I don’t think I ever owned a car for more than a year, since the E30. The A3 I have already almost owned for three years and I see no signs of letting her go. This car just fits the mold of what I could want from a vehicle, and surprises me on a daily basis with how comfortable I am with her. In fact, I seriously believe that to have another car I will need to take the plunge and have make it a two vehicle family. And I wonder just how long this love affair can continue.