I’m Seeing Red…Tornado Red

I’m not even going to waste my time discussing the Democrats’ RBC performance. I’ll just say that this party is no longer my party. The whole exercise was despicable. As has been the entire primary season.

So, the one bright spot of the last week has been the fact that I went out and bought a new car. It’s bright red. I’ve never had a bright red car before and never would have considered it (heavy foot = tickets) except for the fact that the deal was too good to pass up. A few people have said that red matches my personality, which they claim is lively and outgoing. I’m thinking I’m one of those “older, undervalued women voters” who has become so fed up that she just had to break loose!

First, here is a picture of my new car! The picture doesn’t do it justice…there’s black striping along the length of the car at about top edge of the fender height which doesn’t show up in the sun glare.

It’s a 2008 VW Rabbit 2.5L and it’s amazing! So, now I will tell you about my long-term relationships with Volkswagens. I am passionate about them!

My first VW was a 1971 Super Beetle which I bought used in the mid-70’s. The sellers taught me how to drive a stick shift and I was on my way. It was dark blue and I loved it to death.

In 1979 the first Rabbit appeared and I sold the Beetle and bought a white Rabbit with blue vinyl seats, 4-speed stick shift, and NO Air-conditioning! During the time I owned it, I happened to attend an automotive program, from which I graduated with a 4.0 average and #1 in the class of about 20–me, in my mid-30’s and 19 guys averaging about 20 years old! (Someday I’ll tell you what being the only woman mechanic in a big dealership was like and how it relates to Obama-Clinton.) I was able to repair my little Rabbit at the school shop when I needed to…I can remember driving over to a junkyard nearby, buying a starter, and dumping into the Rabbit.

By around 1988 the little Rabbit was still going strong, but I was commuting more and needed air-conditioning so the kids I was teaching didn’t think I smelled funny from the hot, NJ weather. I sold my Rabbit privately for $600 and bought a new Fox. It was a sedan and it was OK, until one fateful morning in late 1989 I had an accident while driving on Route 18 in New Brunswick.

It was a sleety morning and the roads were full of ice and slush. An idiot kid careened onto the highway, went into a skid, hit me and bounced off the divider. I was hit on the driver’s side and spun out, spinning around a couple of times and landing across three lanes of traffic during rush hour, right near the New Brunswick police station. Luckily, the Fox had held up and I was able to limp it into the police station parking lot, where I filed a report. I then actually drove it to work, managing to get there on time and make it through the day. However, the next day I was shaking like a leaf and called in sick.

I had the Fox repaired and it looked perfect and the frame was supposedly OK…but I never felt it handled quite the same. So, in May 1990, I traded it in and bought my dream car, a Wolfsburg Edition hatchback…the reincarnation of the Rabbit, now known as the Golf. It was white, with gray velour seats with a 5-speed manual transmission and a 1.8L engine. I adored this car! It was great to have a hatchback again and we were together for 15 years! It was fun to drive and really peppy!

When it was about 10 years old, I drove it several time across country from NJ to NM with no problems. The only real problem occurred on the trip back to Jersey after I had lived in Las Cruces for 6 months and my mother and I had decided we would move there permanently. I was heading back to organize the move and got to Amarillo, TX just as there were some thunderstorms starting to unwind. As I drove down the highway I put my windshield wipers on and…they were dead! I hadn’t used them at all in Las Cruces for 6 months, so I had no idea they had died. I managed to get to the tourist stop which was a little bit further down the road and the folks there got me a phone book. OOPS! The VW dealership had left town! Someone tipped me off about a repair man not too far away and we tracked down his number. Did he have a washer motor? He went out to the back and said he had one that he could strip from an old Jetta. I found my way over and he installed the motor from the junk Jetta and luckily, it worked! The whole process delayed me by about 3 hours but at least I hadn’t had the problem in the middle of Oklahoma!

In 2000 I had back surgery and was left with a weak left leg. I wasn’t driving much, just around town, but the clutch was causing me problems. Finally, in May 2005 I decided it was time to move to an automatic. Giving up my ’90 Golf was a heartbreaker. It was still running well, and even with some body damage from someone backing into me, the local VW dealership gave me $1000 for it.

I bought a new Golf in Silver Reflex which, compared to my old car, was far more luxurious…power this and that, big wide tires, a radio better than I ever had in my house. It handled well and was very heavy. I missed the manual transmission, though, because the gas mileage was a bit less with the 2.0L automatic. My mother at this time traded in her 1998 Jetta and got a Passat wagon, which drove like butter. We had 3 dogs by this time and thought we would need the room if we dragged them all back to Jersey on a visit. This car had a 1.8L Turbo engine, which took off like a rocket. It was big and solid and got over 30 mpg. It also had a Tiptronic automatic transmission which could be driven as a “clutchless” manual. Since it wasn’t my car, I never drove it enough to learn how to use this feature and my mother didn’t either.

But I will be learning to use it now, because my new Rabbit 2.5L has the Tiptronic transmission, plus a new “Sport” gear for a quick burst in regular Drive if needed while merging or going up a hill. I’ve already used this and it’s great! The funny thing is, I didn’t plan on getting a new car.

We really weren’t getting the use out of the Passat that we had planned–we just never got to drive it on long trips. I was concerned about the turbo getting sludgy even though we changed the oil twice a year. We looked at cheaper wagons a couple of years ago, but they were pretty shoddy. Finally, I decided she should look into getting a 4-door Golf (Rabbit) since a 4-door would make it easier to use the back seat for the dog crates–we could get two into the back seat and one in the hatch. So, we wouldn’t have to buy a big, expensive wagon.

We test drove a red Rabbit, but it was only a 2-door so she ordered a Candy White 4-door which should be arrive this week. Meanwhile, I was really bowled over by the redesign of the vehicle. Talk about visibility and room! And the 5-cylinder engine really makes the car very peppy. And, of course, there is the Tiptronic transmission. And the ride is back to the sporty ride, not the cushy ride of the 2005 Passat and Golf. It feels a lot like driving my ’90 Golf in terms of having a real road feel and quick, light handling.

So, as my mother filled out the paperwork, I mused on how I wouldn’t be buying a car now as I envied my mother. Then Mike, the head finance guy, whom we’ve know for a long time, came by and asked my “Why not?” He asked me what I was driving and I told him, and he went away. I had received a couple of phone calls during the past year asking if I wanted to sell my car since it was an vehicle in-demand. No, of course, not, I was almost paid off. In fact, while we were discussing what my mother should do, I had made my last payment and received my title only a few days before!

A few minutes later, he offered me a trade in value, sight unseen, since the car had been serviced there and he knew it was in perfect condition. The trade on my car was only $500 less than what my mother had on the Passat and he “packaged” it with my mother’s buy by offering a GREAT deal on the red 2-door we had just driven! This car had an extra “Southwest package” on it, so I got the factory sticker price and he tossed in the package worth $1500 gratis…alloy wheels, mats, detailing, etc., all of which were a bonus for me, because those are the kinds of things I never go for.

A little bit of figuring and I was offered 4 years of payments at $40 LESS than what I had been paying for 5 years on the 2005 Golf! With the huge trade in, I had my money in the bank (when I bought the Golf I had to use a chunk of savings) and a shorter and lower payment, so the whole thing made sense. The 2008 was so much more advanced in design and drivabilty and increased theft protection, not to mention the 8 airbags, that the mechanic in me said…YES!!

In spite of all the redesigns I have experienced with VWs, some things always remain the same. The roominess and great handling in a small package is always there and keeps improving. I can always get into the car easily and see over the hood of the car so I know where the road and curbs are! The visibility is always good! The controls stay in about the same place so there’s very little new to get used to. The hatchbacks…oh, I love them for their practicality! Only one thing is different this time around…I haven’t popped the hood yet, so I’m not sure if the the whole thing is laid out the way they ALWAYS are. One thing that will be missing, however, is the steering fluid, since the power steering is now “electro-mechanical.”

So, by next week, Candy White and Tornado Red will be sitting side-by-side, keeping each other company.

…because the only thing better than a VW is TWO VWs!!

3 Responses

  1. […] was despicable. As has been the entire primary season. So, the one bright spot of the last weekhttps://insightanalytical.wordpress.com/2008/06/01/im-seeing-redtornado-red/Hoods / Trunk Lids VW JettaVW Jetta 00-04 OE carbon fiber hood. This item is a oversized […]

  2. The post is really informative. My experience says, when it comes to VW maintenance services, the tools they service providers use are crucial part of the maintenance process. I had faced a serious problem by not choosing the right VW services. And, I suggest that anyone looking for VW services should ensure that the service provider is using state-of-the-art tools for its special as well as routine maintenance.

  3. Congrats on the new wheels, GRL! Hope they bring you many smooth miles. I would also presume that the 2008 gets better mileage, no?

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