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My First Car: Do you love your VW Beetle as much as Penny loved Ron?

PUBLISHED: 11:00 12 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:44 18 January 2019

Penny with Ron the Beetle at a festival in 1992  Picture: Penny Wilby

Penny with Ron the Beetle at a festival in 1992 Picture: Penny Wilby

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In our series documenting readers’ first car this week Penny Wilby talks about her beloved VW and their adventures together.

When I was 17 and lived in the depths of darkest, rural Shropshire, my parents bought me my first (and favourite) car - a light blue VW Beetle, I called Ron. He was born in 1972 so was later exempt from car tax, as considered vintage.

I have always loved Beetles (even more than pugs at the time). When I was born, my parents had one, and the noisy engine was the only thing that used to get me to sleep.

Ron and I had many adventures. We used to go to loads of Beetle and VW conventions around the country and I met some awesome people, also into their aircooled cars. I spent probably thousands buying parts, getting him a nice purple respray etc, but to me he was like my little metal unreliable baby. I spent countless hours broken down on the side of the road and motorway waiting for my BFF the AA Man to come and take me home. I loved the way the heating would basically pump out burning hot air on your ankles, but the rest of the car would be freezing.

And if something broke, which invariably it did, you could replace it by scrounging around knackered other Beetles. Probably the highlight of my Beetle ownership, was when Top Gear was filming an episode in the restaurant next door to our house. It was to mark the 1,000,000th Honda Civic off the production line. Jeremy Clarkson (he’s incredibly tall by the way) suggested that the accolade of the production of 1,000,000 cars shouldn’t go to the Honda Civic, as it’s shape kept being redesigned so it didn’t even look like the same car, but the humble Beetle pretty much looked the same. The production department heard I had one and popped round, but I was out and by the time I got back, they’d started filming. But I did get to meet the Top Gear team and have a drive in a 1940s beetle.

Unfortunately, Ron disappeared. I left him in the care of a friend’s barn when I went off to London, with some other Beetles. The barn got sold and alas I never knew what happened to my Ron. But I look back on the happy memories we had together.

Share memories and pictures of your VW Beetle or tell us about your first car here.

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