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Dear Volkswagen

Dear Volkswagen

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Published by Melissa Fyfe
Volkswagen lover Mark Stevens writes a break up letter to the German car company after a series of problems with his Golf.
Volkswagen lover Mark Stevens writes a break up letter to the German car company after a series of problems with his Golf.

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Published by: Melissa Fyfe on Jun 10, 2013
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06/10/2013

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Dear Volkswagen..I loved you once.My feelings were ignited one Autumn evening in the mid nineties. Havingrecently returned from living with my now wife in London, I was feelingdecidedly buoyant and so took a Volkswagen Golf for a test drive. A WhiteGL model. I couldn’t afford to purchase much more than underpants at thetime, but it didn’t matter.I wanted to experience the automotive high I knew would arrive the momentI closed that ridiculously solid door. Thawump. There it was. The sonoroussound of Panzer Tanks, Bratwurst, Marlene Dietrich, the Berlin Wall andanyone named Wolfgang colliding with some rubbery stopper thing. David,the Sales Manager – a man too handsome to work for anything other than aEuropean automotive brand, and one clearly uncomfortable with my post-Egyptian-holiday-stubble – joined me and together we glided around thesuburbs near my home. The car never touched the road. It hovered above it. Speed humps werereduced to yoga mats. Sharp corners were draped in velvet. For ten fullminutes, my smile was so wide that, to oncoming motorists, I must havelooked like Jack Nicholson in the Shining.When we returned to the showroom, it was like parting ways with that exoticexchange student you’d known for a week, but who now had to return toAzerbaijan. After some informal chit-chat with David, during which I gave noindication of being the poorest man in the Southern Hemisphere, I exited thedealership, gazing at my new flame cooling her German heels in the carpark. I even think I waved. The showroom staff looked on, convinced Davidand I had shared a joint. Through the years, she never idled far from my thoughts. If I concentratedhard enough, I could hear the silence of her interior. While my friends weretempted by Audi’s and pre-owned sports cars, I never wavered. Not once.And so, eight years after that transformational test spin, I achieved mydream.I purchased a 2003 Volkswagen Golf with a 2.0 engine and bog standard 15inch wheels.I was in love. Profoundly so. The Jane Austen kind. Certainly during theearly years of our relationship. I never saw her flaws. Never questioned theoil light blinking as I drove out of the dealership after each service. (theVolkswagen automotive clinician told me everything was fine and becausehe wore a large badge on his chest, I believed him).
 
I was smitten all right, and this love lingered like that new car smell.For 36 months. Then the warranty ended. Time was up on my automotivepre-nup.And on the 1096
th
day, the shiezen hit the fan belt.
Speedometer: 26,357 kms
Unsavoury blips began to appear on the radar. Servicing cost more. Mysun visor clip snapped off one day and harpooned a rear seat. On a differentday, the passenger front window fell down into the door frame. Just droppedout of sight. Like it was trying to hide from someone. A rattle deep withinthe dash changed from barely perceptible to barely bearable. Somethingbegan click-clicking around the rear wheels. Still, I persisted with ourrelationship. After all, I’d paid good money for my prize. Over the odds.And why not? The Senior Sales Consultant knew I wanted the car. I knew I wanted the car.And I knew that he knew I wanted the car.. so, given our collectiveknowledge, I didn’t see the point of shifting personality to save four hundredbucks. Truth is, I wish I’d saved four grand. Because that is what it’s cost me tokeep my treacle-coloured lemon on the road. Yes, I can say it now. I lovedthe wrong car. You see, the window-eating doorframe was simply the first of many issues. Timing belts needed replacing before their time. Coil Packs too. I requireda new gear knob, after the faux chrome chipped away to the point that I mayas well have installed a barb wire fence between the seats. There havebeen brake repairs. Discs. And rotors.
Speedometer: 45,221 kms
 There have been wiper blades so expensive that I can surely now clean awaywhole bird carcasses should they hit my windscreen at speed. Maybe theyrepel troll attacks too There were more brake repairs, of course. Discs. Rotors. And this time,squealing. That’s right – soon after my
brand new
brakes were installed, they startedsquealing like old smelly ones.I phoned the mechanic, who said they simply needed to settle down, so Ishould do the same. The squealing worsened, evolving from a bloodcurdlingly high pitchedreeeeuuuuuwwwww to a clunky, meaty whine – followed by a bloodcurdlingyhigh pitched rreeeeuuuuuwwwww.
 
My wife would return from driving my car, showering the air with expletives.
‘I hate driving that thing. I’m planning routes where I don’t have tostop till I enter our driveway’.
Knowing I was about to cash in my last shred of credibility, I again called themechanic who suggested that perhaps some dust had gathered on thesettled down discs – he also suggested I bring the car in so they could blow itoff, which they kindly did. Discs. Rotors.It was a miracle. The squealing vanished. For nearly a full day. Then it returned, angrier now. Like that spider you tried to stomp on, butmissed.It was clear my car had turned against me and was now determined toembarrass me by squealing in public. And so, every time I slowed down,motorists turned their heads. Pedestrians jumped. Street lights flickered inMinnesota. Arctic wolves howled. And I'd fumble with some dashboardbutton to avoid eye contact with other motorists, glaring at me furiously as if my brakes were made from ducklings.I could no longer ignore one indubitable truth – I was at War. With Germany.
Speedometer: 61,480 kms
I was driving with our kids to the shops one day. Ambling around thecentre’s park, I spied a free space and gently pressed the brakes. It wouldhave been quieter to press the testicles of a Stegosaurus. The whine waselectrifyingly loud. Two men in Santorini upended their chess game. Beforeturning off the engine, I put my window up – this is where it gets good. The window never made it. Sadly, it fell like a guillotine blade into the doorframe, much like its older brother had done years before.
‘Needs a new regulator’, the mechanic would later laugh, while polishing a solid gold ingot on the groin of his overalls.
 The window regulator cost me $600. And another piece of my soul. This blow was decisive. I’d been destroyed. Sunk. These scars wouldnever heal.I surrendered that day. Deep within me, those final embers died out.
Speedometer: 69,622 kms
One day during a highway trip, my Golf started ‘missing’ – this is where a carlurches forward and, in an odd quantum physics kind of way, gets a fewinches ahead of where it should otherwise be. The heat gauge flicked fromcold to normal, as if Uri Geller was standing on the bonnet, bending it. Iendured this for 10 kilometres, wondering if it would ‘clear its own throat’.Eventually, I pulled over and popped the bonnet. I did nothing. I simply

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