My VAG Automobile Number One
My first car was not one that I purchased, my parent’s bought it to give to me, or perhaps it was a sneaky way to punish me while at the same time relieving themselves of chauffeur duties. For the grand sum of $200 a well worn Volkswagen 412 “Estate” model became my first ride.
Research into historical records showed that from the factory this vehicle came with a four cylinder motor generating 72 hp, 91 ft lbs. of torque, weighed 3,670 lbs, and in the 3-speed automatic variant that I had, a blistering 0-60 acceleration time of 17 seconds. But to my disappointment mine was not fresh from the factory, and 17 seconds would be an elusive benchmark for a very tired engine.
Anemic only scratches the surface of this “Dubs” performance, although to be fair when I was driving it “Antique” plates would have been an option. As a school commuter car I was embarrassed to haul friends around in it and the additional weight of one or two passengers compelled me to plan a route that took advantage of gravity to assist with merging with 55 mph highway speeds. That advertised 0-60 time was most certainly obtained on a flat road; any effort to accelerate uphill was an exercise in futility, the last hill of my trip home laughed at the VW as it lost speed and the cabin began filling with exhaust.