NYer_in_MI
So, I'm sitting in "Famous Dave's" restaurant parking lot in Saginaw.  My other half works there. It's Eleven O'Clock and the place has been closed for an hour.  Other cars are parked, motors running, around "Gunter", awaiting their people.
 
As usual, I'm minding my own bee's wax, not thinking much of anything other than the fact that I hope my Dearest won't be too long getting out, for it was chilly that evening (go figure, February in Michigan).
 
Having owned my VW 1302 since November, after a twelve year hiatus between air-coolers, I've slid back into the routine of owning a classic Beetle.  I've grown used to the stares, the smiles, the occasional pointing or waving and of course the usual barrage of questions, etc.  I don't wish to imply that one becomes jaded by such nice responses from other people, but I am saying that one can become somewhat used to such treatment toward one's car.
 
On this particular evening, however, I was to encounter a reaction to "Gunter" that I had never experienced in all of my years in driving air-cooled VW's.
 
A fair-complected, Mid-Western, collage-age young man walked out of the front door of the restaurant.  He looked like a foot ball player, for he was quite tall and large in proportion.  Not heavy, just large.  There is a university only a mile-or-two from "Famous Dave's" in Saginaw, so young people such as this are common place.  Probably just leaving after a night feasting / hanging with friends and will be on his way to "T.G.I. Friday's" (or some other such)for more of the same.
 
Like many others before him, the young man gave "Gunter" the once-over with his eyes, appraising the car with a bemused look on his face.  I thought that the guy would simply glance at my car en route to his own ride, like so many others.  Not so.  Was I ever in for a bit of a surprise!
 
The tall young man walked around to "Gunter's" passenger side, still looking the car over.  Here it comes, I thought to myself.  At some point soon, if this guy doesn't simply continue on to his car, he will knock on the window, I'll open it and then it will be the usual Q and A about air-cooled Volkswagens, etc etc.
 
Sure enough, just as I had surmised, the very next thing was a "knock, knock, knock" on the passenger side window of my Super.
 
When I reached over to roll down the window, however, the young jock opened the passenger door, poking his head inside.
 
"What year is your Bug?" he asked.  I told him.
 
"Can I come sit in your car while you're waiting and talk to you about it?"  he asked.
 
"Uh...sure?" was my reply.  It occurred to me that I had no idea if this was a car jacking, or not and that I had no freakin' clue who this kid was!  Being from The City, I do tend toward the somewhat suspicious or cautious.  On the other hand, my caution has oft been mistaken for aloofness or snobbery here in the Mid-West, so I'm sometimes unsure where to draw the line.  The kid seemed OK enough, but then again hadn't Son of Sam?
 
Without even another word, the tall jock-like young man got into "Gunter's" passenger seat.
 
"Oh my God," he enthused.  "Do you have as much room over there as there is over here?"  I paused before answering.  Oh!  He was referring to the copious head and foot room in the front seats (with, admittedly, the seats pushed back all of the way)!  That would likely be the first thing someone who is clearly over six-foot-four-inches tall would recognize about any car that they got into... especially a compact one!
 
I myself was inextricably amused at the young man's enthusiasm over "Gunter".  Both appraisingly and almost lovingly, the young man ran his hands all over "Gunter's" interior.  Fiddling with the window knobs, touching the dash pad, opening / closing the glove box, the young man asked all of the usual questions.  What kind of gas mileage do these things get?  About how fast can they go on the express way?  How is the heat during Winter time?
 
Somewhere in the middle of the exchange, I realized that I still had no idea who this large kid was.  I put out my hand.
 
"I'm Dan, by the way."
 
Realizing his social faux pas, shaking his head and smiling, the big jock shook my hand in his massive one.  "I'm Justin" he said, then right afterward apologizing for his rudeness.
 
I told him that I was just waiting for my Other Half, who should be out any moment.  How, I wondered, would I explain this big, tall youth who's sitting in my front seat?  Still, Justin was too busy admiring "Gunter" to be deterred in any way from continuing on with our discussion.  "I've got to get one of these", was what he kept saying, now and again.
 
A waitress popped out of the front door with a bemused smile on her face.  Justin opened the passenger door and shouted to her, "You ready to go yet, baby?"  She shook her head "not yet", but seemed not at all surprised that her boyfriend was sitting in a stranger's car.  "Look at this car!  Isn't it cool?" he shouted to her.  She nodded a bit non-comittally but smiled as she went back inside.
 
Justin continued his string of questioning, still admiringly caressing bits here-and-there inside the 1302.  "Look at all of this metal!"  he said, running his fingers along the top of the passenger door's interior, the window frame, etc.  "They honestly don't make 'em like this, anymore".
 
That was when my sweetie came out of the restaurant.  It wasn't until the Other Half was standing, waiting, outside the passenger-side door that Justin realized that it was time to go.  "Oops! Sorry!"  he said, opening the door and agilely pulling his large frame out of the car.
 
We exchanged final pleasantries and, I noticed as I looked briefly into my rear-view mirror, Justin was watching "Gunter" retreat into the night as we drove away.
 
Weird, huh?
Daniel Mosher
Resident Cartoonist

www.allaircooled.com
www.superbeetles.com
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aircooled299
I think that is a very cool (no pun intended) story. Definitely one of the best i've heard, thanks for sharing it.
-Patrick
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NYer_in_MI

Thanks, Patrick!

Daniel Mosher
Resident Cartoonist

www.allaircooled.com
www.superbeetles.com
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flash
Nice to have someone that interested in a v-dub.  Your story was a good read and I enjoyed it.  I did have a guy follow me into a Circle K one time and offer me $4000 cash for "The Blues."  I declined.  I'm not sure at what point I would have to reach for the title and keys.
I remember the old days, before the Tucson VW Club folded.  A trip to Pamona, California and the big VW show over there was made annually.  The members who put their cars in the show were always instructed to take their titles.  Here's why....one of our members had a sweet 57 convertible Ghia.  You'd see quite a few Japanese men looking cars over.  One came up to my friend and opened a brief case with $20,000 cash (yes I said cash) and in very broken English..."You sell car, please to me?"  Needless to say the car was gone.  We later learned that they ship them to Japan and many are put inside the homes for show and display like furniture.  Almost seems a sin doesn't it?
Loren
Loren R. Knapp
In The Hot Sonoran Desert of Arizona - 73 Super Beetle "The Blues."
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NYer_in_MI
Loren,
As far as the Japanese-storing-the-Beetles-like-museum-pieces thing, there orta be a law agin it!  I understand that Beetling is hugely popular in various regions of Asia, though, so there are thankfully some folks in that part of the world who are doing just what we are with the Classic Volkswagen, both in the U.S. and abroad.
Daniel Mosher
Resident Cartoonist

www.allaircooled.com
www.superbeetles.com
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71SuperBee
Loren,

  Wow man that was a story right there, and NYER That was a very weird predicament you were in. I don't think I would have been that nice. I may have said I have to go now, but you are obviously not like that.. Well I have enjoyed seeing and reading what everyone here posts keep it coming, thanks again.
  
     Aaron
71 Super Beetle AKA:"THE BUG!!"
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nak45z

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