A Bug Life

Weekends. That magical time of the week you can sit down and enjoy doing absolutely nothing, yet simultaneously find a million and one things to do.

Most of my weekends are like this lately. After a slightly exhausting week I come home to relax, find two or three things to do, take ages doing them, and then tell everyone I had millions of things to do.

But this Saturday was a bit of a treat. Instead of doing menial chores around the house, I stalked Steve back to his parents house to work on his ’64 beetle.

It was destined to be a pleasant day. We would have some breakfast, go to Steve’s parents, play around with a car and pretend we’re all manly working on it, then drive around taking pictures on an early spring Saturday.

If you’ve read these blogs before you should know better than to expect things to go to plan.

It had all started so well. Steve’s dad, Trev to those select few, had let me take his camper out for a little drive, Steve had spent a while polishing his hub caps, and I had snapped a few interesting pictures. Then came the time to take the cars out for a joyride. But Steve would rapidly lose joy, and certainly wouldn’t ride.


Any classic car owner can vouch for the unreliable nature of classic cars. That is part of the joy. Something goes a little bit wrong so pop your pride and joy in the drive way and fiddle around with it. When you think about it classic cars are kind of like balls except your neighbours don’t mind when it happens in the drive.

Steve’s problem was a little more annoying though. Steve’s problem was that the square root of jack happened when he turned the ignition. Fun classic car problems are some sort of mechanical fault where you have to get deep and dirty and you roughly know what to do. We still don’t know what Steve’s problem was, the leading theory was something electrical. This meant that we just spent ages looking around the car for some sort of dodgy wire or nazi gold. That last bits completely irrelevant but it’s got to be hidden somewhere.


The first way men solve any problem is to just kind of look at a few things and then go back to see if the problem had magically resolved itself. This is the second time in history this tried and tested method didn’t work. So Steve carried on his search. (The first time was George W Bush’s approach to hurricane Katrina.)


Here we see the Volkswagen beetles hidden party piece. It gives birth to actual human beings.


OK, what’s actually happening is Steve is balls deep in the wiring from the ignition switch to the starter so he can check that there’s current going through. Dried grapes are vital to any ignition system don’t you know.

For anyone wondering what enjoyment I get out of this, it’s watching Steve squish himself under a pretty small car and accidentally eat lots of rust as he pokes around. And occasionally help I guess.

After discovering there was in fact grapes travelling through the wires, Steve went to man plan B. Go and buy WD40 and just spray that shit everywhere.


On the way back came man plan C, buy fish and chips and eat them next to your car while pondering what the problem could be while getting no closer to figuring out the problem.


We finished our food and Steve sprayed WD40 all over the shop, but all to no avail. At this point though Steve was becoming confident that the solenoid was the problem. Cue man plan D where men just start whacking the shit out of stuff with a hammer. Unbelievably this was yet another man plan that wasn’t working.

Desperately Steve consulted the gurus of the Volkswagen forums, but even these wondrous internet minds couldn’t help.


It was time to get the bug back under the dust sheet and admit temporary defeat until next weekend.

Although we had come across more tricky pickles than a willy doctor, it had been a pretty fun day. I got to play around taking lots of photos and drive classic cars, and Steve got to wonder around a broken car. I think that’s pretty much why people own classic cars so that must be a good thing.

Let’s not forget, no matter what breaks or falls apart, it’s never a bad day when you’ve got your mate ripping the piss out of you every two seconds.

To be continued…



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