Saving R2D2, the floorless VW Karmann Ghia
by Ty Webb (2013-01-11 16:42:04)

In reply to: Hey WinterCeltic - how was the trip to Miami?  posted by akaRonMexico

I knew there are at least a couple other piece of shit volkswagen lovers here in the BR so I figured I would share the story here once as well:


In the Summer of 2009, I was at one of the emotional low points many of us have in life. Getting into a relationship with some Jew who would eventually become my wife and eyeing 35 and realizing my single life was over, I flirted with the idea of adopting a convertible. I grew up with convertibles, but hadn't had one of my own since I joined the real world and had to buy a real fucking car because that's what grown ups do - they buy reasonable shit. But I knew about the responsibility and logistics involved of owning a rusted out piece of shit convertible made by some Krauts drunk on Fiensberger Dunkel, so I was hesitant. But my "man junk" colluded with my brain to at least look at this small pile of German crap I had found while searching for German pornstars (I mean German beer steins) online. He was with a group called Moe's Body Shop. I'd been looking both there and Burns Pontiac/GMC Body Shop (another great group that I personally donated shit loads of money to fix our Infiniti after my wife slammed it into a pole in a parking garage).

Still a bit hesitant (because I was unsure of how much extra work a little dude missing a floor, a hood, one of the seats, a roof and two wheels would be) I met him on a chilly Camden evening in January 2010... and immediately I knew that he would be my sweet ride. It's hard to say exactly how/why. Inner voice? Gut feeling? Something spiritual? The fact the guy selling it to me looked like he could beat the ever living shit out of me if I didn't buy it? Maybe all of the above. But whatever the case, he immediately took to me, and me to him. At that moment the only question I had was what I would name my new friend. They were calling him a fucking waste of yard space. But that just didn't work for me. Besides, he just doesn't look like a piece of shit, although he was a piece of shit. Even though I know Karmann Ghia's are a German breed, I wanted to keep my personal tradition of Star Wars-themed names for my cars (my Nissan, for example, was called "C3PO" and my new Jeep Cherokee is called "Death Star" to give you an idea). Then it hit me: I'll name him "Hans Solo", after the famous Star Wars character who people thought was frozen and died but in reality, he really wasn't.... But it struck me that he's also the kind of car that just begs for a nickname... something other than him proper name to call him by... so "R2D2" it was/is. Plus, it fit as well. Like the colorful, wonderful and verbose movie driod, this R2D2 would be an underdog with the heart of a champion brought back to life by me, "Luke Skywalker". So, his proper name is Hans Solo... but he goes by "R2D2".

From the very beginning, R2D2 has had a loving and friendly personality that betrays his ordeals and experiences. He was already missing his front quarter panel after some douchebag stole it and the back bumper was rusted to the point of turning to dust. What I was told is that his original owners were neglectful (possibly abusive) because it was nothing but a piece of shit disaster designed by Volkswagen that never worked right and they got sick of it. They had him often on the back of a tow truck with the tail gate down while traveling down the road, and he fell out because the front bumper got all bent up. His fender was ruined. What's worse, these terrible people did absolutely nothing about it and abandoned him on the side of Admiral Wilson Boulevard in Camden, NJ. He was at a junk yard when Moe saved him on a dare from a buddy that he couldn't find some dumbass to actually buy a rusted out Karmann Ghia. Unfortunately for R2D2, it was too late to save the bumper and it had to be scrapped because it was just dangling, weighing him down and impeding his ability to move forward (that and the fact he only had two wheels). When I adopted him it was only a few weeks after the surgery (he literally had the burn marks from where the welder severed the bolts) and he was already remarkably not very mobile. I was originally concerned about him navigating my neighborhood, but I was instantly put at ease when I realized there was no fucking way I could drive this piece of shit out of the body shop yard. In every way, this was a useless bag of bolts. He can't do anything that any other car can, including even allowing me to sit in him (the seat is missing). It wasn't long before I actually became oblivious to the fact that I had lost my fucking mind and had been a total dick stick in purchasing said crap (he seemed to be unaware of it himself, but he's a car so what the fuck would he know?). When I got him home via tow truck I would take the cover off of him in the driveway and people would ask "Aww, what the fuck is wrong with you?" and it would take me a few moments to figure out that it's the the fact I bought a Karmann Ghia, parked it on cinder blocks in my driveway and turned into the White Trash neighbor in my posh neighborhood, they were referring to. Because, of course, to me (and to him) he has nothing wrong with him.

R2D2 is a car with an immense heart but smallish engine that could barely power some lawnmowers today. He loves to leak fluids on my driveway unconditionally. He also gets along great with all other dogs as they use him to pee on and even loves his Jeep brother, Death Star, who seems to mock him daily with his big 20 inch tires that work and shiny wood steering wheel and the fact we actually drive him. So perfect is his disposition and personality that I find myself wishing I could have adopted his brother too (who, by the way, was a rusted out VW Vanagon I would have nicknamed "Jawa"... ). And R2D2 is still all VW. He's a total useless piece of metal and I have little doubt if working, I still would have to take him the shop. Hardly a day goes by where he doesn't do something to make me laugh and my wife curse me.

Make no mistake, I may have saved R2D2 by adopting him... But the truth is, he saved me, too - saved me from using that money on something really stupid like a 70 inch Panasonic plasma TV. He is my best friend and buddy.

Now on to why this page exists... Unfortunately, the constant stress on a marriage where the husband has a car on blocks in the front yard has resulted in my wife giving me an ultimatum. I need to get rid of the car or get it fixed and driveable. The shitty cover I put on it has made one remaining front quarter panel to start to rust as well. This has caused almost all of the wheel well to rust out as well and deteriorate to nothing. If that happens it would be very difficult to save the car, and I'd likely be sleeping on the couch for a week. While it's possible for marriages to survive where one spouse is a fucking shit heel, it would obviously be extremely difficult for him to get some nookie any time in the next few weeks. The best preventative measure is an extensive reconstruction surgery that will fix the car so I can drive him and "shore up" my marriage. This will likely be done at Collision Max not too far from where we live. I have called 2 other local car restorers as well, including one where a shady guy I met under the overpass near South Philly told me to go. They are all in agreement that this is probably his best option, if costly. The shit lining is that he's really old (only like 30 years old) so the likelihood of success and recovery is not very good and will cost me an arm and a leg. And even more importantly, when the wife finds out I spent this much to restore him our marriage will be as awesome than it ever was. So the car has to be fixed. It's the least that can be done for a crazy wife who sleeps with a Henckel knife in her bedside table and who has already been through too much.

If you can help R2D2, please do:

In any case, we sincerely thank you for your time in reading R2D2's story and saving my life.

PS - If you see pictures of me on the beach in St. Lucia on Facebook, pay no attention to it.