The Money Pit
I always wanted one, and now I've got one all of my own!
I've seen the term 'money pit' before, but never knew exactly what it
meant until I bought my 1972 Beetle. Anyone who has not owned or known
someone who has owned an old car might not appreciate just how deep the
money pit is. It has no bottom. It only exists for as long as you are
willing to throw money into it. If at any time you decide to stop using
it, it will just lurk in the side lines, waiting for you to buy your next
toy.... then it will be back!
At this point I must show my appreciation and thank my parents for
supporting my efforts to fill the money pit, but ultimately we all
discovered that we either have the pit or don't have it. There is no
happy medium. We tried to cheat the money pit by replacing parts and
doing all the work we could possibly conceive needed doing ourselves
but it struck when we least expected it - at the MOT!
I'd seen this Beetle at a garage which is owned by a friend of my
fathers. It was parked outside under a tree (pictured above), it looked
to have good paint work, the front bumper was quite rusty but only on the surface.
The important thing was that when we put a battery and a little petrol in it,
it started up. After a good ten months sat idle outside
it actually started up without any work done to it. I was hooked, and
the money pit looked on.
We took it for a test drive, all was fine - the brakes worked, the
steering worked, it went up the hills, the lights worked. I was very
chuffed, even before I'd bought it. We agreed a price and I paid by
instalments over the next six months (handy, being skint!)
The engine required a bit of attention - the choke had been jammed on full permanently,
the generator was dead, the fan belt was worn, there was an oil leak,
the carburettor needed some attention, and most scarily of all some of
the crank case bolts were ready to fall off.
October - April
I unexpectedly got a job in Leeds, which meant leaving my Beetle back
in my fathers garage some sixty miles away.
This was to be the most times I'd ever travelled home in such a small
space of time, and the most overtime I'd done at work and not really
seen much of the money. Almost every weekend I caught the train back
home to work on my car with the help of my father (he's a dab hand with
engines), during which time we both learned how the Beetle engine worked,
where everything went, and how it should sound.
The oil leak was considered
to be minor for the moment, we concentrated on making it run properly
to pass the MOT.