It is with avid interest that I read your comments on the VW. I am amused by the eulogies of owners who have covered 15,000 miles or so. I am more amused by the pathetic defence of other cars.
It appears to me that up till now you have no real mileage experience of the VW, and so I think, at 75,000 miles, my story should be of interest. It is time our industry woke up to realise the truth.
After a 24-year procession of secondhand junk, I finally saved enough to buy a new car. It had to be the best. I regret to say that the short list favoured continental cars, in the following order: German, Italian, French! Naturally, I chose VW.
The car was delivered with 208 miles on the clock. The very first time out, the screen-wiper failed, and the next day I went into the local sub-agent and played hell. I said I had come to call his bluff and wished to see this wonderful service system work. It did. A new wiper motor was produced in 40 minutes—only to find that this one didn’t work either! We had committed the unforgivable sin of overlooking a fuse that was not making contact!
800 miles: Taken in for 500-mile check. This was done by Houdini. He sand-blasted plugs without taking ’em out, and adjusted tappets without removing the rocker boxes! I didn’t bother with the other checks; in fact, it has still not had its 500-mile check.
I decided on a definite policy with this car: to test the maker’s claims, and to “leave well alone.” To this end I grease about every 2,500 miles when I change the oil; I kick the tyres and top up the battery at Easter, Whitson and August; I cruise it at 55 to “off the clock”; and generally average 42 to 45 m.p.h. or so.
12,000 miles: Letter from Wolfsburg stating : “If you have not yet had trouble with your induction pipe, you soon will have. Take into your agent, who will fit a modified one, free of charge.” They did.
16,000 miles: Front tyre badly cut by a nasty piece of swarf. Became the spare.
28,000 miles: Continental tour of 3,000 miles. Preparation: grease 13 nipples, change oil, wash. Within two hours of finishing a 700-mile week we were on the way to Dover, with five up and all luggage under cover.
Stormed 17 major Alpine passes, including the Stelvio, and towed a Consul over the top of the Pordoi! Then went a distance of 242 miles to Cologne in four hours. The only attention to the car on this trip was the removal and refitting of the petrol-filler cap.
38,000 miles: Ice, snow—garaged outside. Became progressively more difficult to start over three mornings. Finally jibbed. Removed plugs for first time. Gaps about .090 in. Knocked ’em in with a spanner and she started first piston up. Careful consideration decided I could manage the £1 for a set of Bosch plugs, and at the same time I replaced the hitherto unseen contact points. Pity! but the record was spoilt.
60,000 miles: Rammed in the back by a Norton Dominator doing around 80 m.p h. Bumper, rear mudguard and running-board wrecked; some slight damage to body. Made like new in three days as spares were in stock.
62,000 miles: Disaster! Front tyres wore out (Michelin). Fitted two Michelin remoulds to rear and brought rear to front. The rear wheels had never been off! Found that steering had gone to pot— wobbles. Checked and discovered tyres had worn About 6 oz. out of balance. Swapped them to the rear again.
71,000 miles: Owing to another Continental tour was forced to play safe and replace rear tyres. (Regrettable, for I am convinced that in dryish main-road conditions the original tyres would have covered 90,000 miles.) Thus I lost these tyres as they were handed in against Michelin remoulds.
Made same tour preparations as before—three adults, two children, luggage and picnic tackle. As I backed down the bank out of the garden the front tyres rubbed something. Had a look-see and decided I had a broken front torsion springpack. But there was a boat waiting at Dover, so—without alarming the party—I pressed on regardless on one spring. Speedo cable broke. (Too much up and down at the front, I think.) Tore down to Brussels in about one hour. On over the storm-battered and broken Arlberg and Mendola to Venice. Back through the Dolomites and Austria, onto the autobahn, and so to Aachen on the last night (2,800 miles).
Took the car into the Aachen VW depot at 8 a.m. next day. Yes, one spring was broken. New one fitted and the following separate spares supplied: speedo. cable, two wiper blades, fan belt, two lamp bulbs.
The car was ready in two hours, and was greased and cleaned out automatically—and the cost: 57 dm. (£4 13s. 0d.).
Decided to fit speedo. cable at the lunch stop, only to find that I had been (naturally enough) supplied with a Continental one-2 ft. too short. Called in at the 0stend VW depot, where they explained that they did not stock the “English” length cables. But they very readily took it off me, and paid me back in Belgian francs. Just imagine buying one in Glasgow and getting your money back in “Brum”!
74,000 miles: Expensive noises at rear. Front dynamo bearing failed (never lubricated since new). I am afraid I neglected this and ran it until the armature rubbed the coils; thus necessitating a reconditioned dynamo at £11 (with labour), instead of a bearing at 12s. 6d.
75,000 miles: And so this brings my story up to date. This has been my VW experience. A log has been kept, and it pans out like this:— Oil consumption … Nil (4,000 m.p.g on wastage due to oil changes).
M.P.G. … 41.5 (on pool petrol)
Cost per mile .. 1.7 pence.
Ditto, plus depreciation … 2.8 pence.
Ditto, ditto, plus cost of car … 6.3 pence (but improving).
I have decided that one can forget the depreciation bogey, for the potential life is unknown, and the best policy is to keep ’em indef.
The finish has remained as new there are still no rattles whatever, and I am still guilty of trying to restart an engine which is so quiet in traffic jams that I think it has stopped. The only signs of deterioration are the rear carpets, which the kids have kicked about a bit, and the front bumper tends to rust fairly easily, but this is understandable for it is continuously shot-blasted by grit from the tyres of cars in front, which are continuously overtaken.
am. Yours. etc..
K. Bridgewater – Birmingham, 22B.