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Beginning | Engine | Electrics | Underbody | Following Year | Second MOT - Brake Pipes | Third MOT | Brake Pipes | Stereo | Passing Time | Upper Body | Fuel Pipe | Suspension | Air Cooled | Snow | Wales | Commuting

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!

September 1998

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.

Beetle New

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.

Beetle Work

The oil leak was considered to be minor for the moment, we concentrated on making it run properly to pass the MOT.