A Whole New World: My 2001 New Beetle

There was much excitement in the mid-90s when Volkswagen unveiled the Concept One as a new Beetle for the 21st Century.

I immediately fell in love with all the press photos and wanted one when (and if) it ever came out.

By the late 90’s I had finally started to get my shit together as late twenty-somethings often do. No, I never found my way to completing my Master’s Degree but I was working steady, learning shitloads in print publishing and IT, and slowly stabilizing.  Roommates came and went but I still lived in the same apartment, doing my best to make ends meet.

I finally was able to get a car loan for a used 1994 Geo Metro. It was a great little beast of car, easily giving me 40+ miles to the gallon and with only $149/month car payment on the loan it was helping me undo almost a decade of credit card abuse and rebuild a shattered credit rating.

The New Beetle finally was rolled out and I wanted it it! But it wasn’t meant to be yet.

I jumped jobs, and increased paychecks, and was finally in a much better place in my life. The Year 2000 drama came and went and I was still living in that apartment  and still driving the Metro.

Sometime around my 33 birthday I decided to just drive around and look at cars. I found myself at the used lot of one of the local Volkswagen dealers finally looking at New Beetles and took a few out. There was no way I could afford the Turbo S models, even used, but there was a 2.0L basic one and as luck would have it, we were getting pounded that day be a major spring thunderstorm with possible tornado sightings and the dealership was desperate to make any kind of sale that day. I ended up trading in the Geo Metro and driving away with a silver 2001 New Beetle for only $249/month on the loan!

2001 VW New Beetle 2.0L

I stared out the window of my apartment for days looking at the curves.

I loved the car so much!

And I had it for most of the 2000s and into the 2010s.  From 2003 until 2014 I drove my beloved New Beetle, or as I called it the Deluxe Luxury New Beetle of Love™.

That period was one of massive change in my life. I was in a much different job in 2003 and was finally out of the mess of the Dark Ages of my twenties and bought my first house 2 months after I got the new car.

Years came and went and the New Beetle was always with me, always a dim reminder of what I really wanted to have from my youth but never could see myself having again.

In the intervening years I adopted a son, and unfortunately, as he grew and got taller, the New Beetle became somewhat of a problem with my son no longer really being able to sit in the rear seat anymore. And let’s not even mention the fact we could not really drive to holidays with luggage and presents in it. There were many holidays in which we rented larger vehicles and that was pretty much the beginning of the end for the Deluxe Luxury New Beetle of Love™.

On a very sad day in late October 2014, I traded it in for a 2013 Subaru Forester. I didn’t get what I wanted for it. And it still pisses me off to this day that I didn’t just walk out on the deal.

The New Beetle, even at 13 years old, didn’t even have 60K on it and while it was suffering from the interior rubberized plastic degradation that all Mark IV era VWs suffer from, it typically got me 30MPG with only needing to put gas into it once every 15-20 days or so.

And I stupidly let it go.

Yes. It was for practical reasons.

But I am not the same person in 2018 as I was in 2014. My son significantly changed me and that car should have been kept as a second car. It had been paid off for many years and was in excellent shape. It should have been kept for my son’s first car.

Instead, I got an OK SUV that gets super shitty fuel economy and I will not have it paid off until October 2019.

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