By Jim Hanna
After 63 years, VW has stopped building the vaunted, venerable, vulnerable Microbus. A 60-horsepower engine pushing a body with the slipstream of a fully opened drag chute, you've got to hand it to 'em for somehow avoiding wind tunnels for over six decades.
When I was a lad, my parents made two life-altering decisions:
- Move from Portland, Oregon to Detroit, Michigan, a.k.a., Motor City USA.
- Immediately buy a used 1966 Volkswagen Microbus, in deep, dark, Communist Red.
Even at 10 years old I was thinking uh, Portland = The-Hippie-Thing, Detroit = Not-So-Much. Reliability-wise, this rolling middle finger to our new neighborhood of UAW members made the yellow '71 in Little Miss Sunshine look like a '09 Camry. Apparently, our van had wiring issues. There are like, six wires in the thing, what issues could there be? The kind that make it not start and force you and your sisters to have to push the thing in ice-covered parking lots while amused Michiganders look on from their toasty Pontiacs.
Well, Pontiac is toast, and last I looked nobody's forking over $35K for restored Azteks, but check out California Westy of nearby El Cajon, where they sell VW-shaped gold bricks as fast as they can stick Subaru engines in them.
Did my folks hang on to that '66 and hand it down to me? Naw, we bought a Mercury and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. "Boy, don't you know this is Richard Petty Dodge country?" Here we go.