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oasis February 19th 2008 10:49

Good bye for now
Hi Guys,

It is with a heavy heart I must inform everyone my Super Beetle had an electrical fire on Sunday and will probably be totaled. I will know more in the next 48 hours where my insurance company stands.

The brief story goes as follows. I had been driving my Super more than usual this winter as my daughter started driving. She used the water-pumper I typically would use going to the train station for my commute and such. The Super was running flawlessly and was getting near the point where it was due for its regular oil change.

We finally were able to locate a car for her own about four weeks ago. The Super was shut down at first just to give it a rest. Then, cold weather and salted roads conspired against its use.

I finally was able to drive it on a very mild day but it refused to turn over. I gave the battery a trickle charge and while it seemed normal at the first turn of the key, it would still not turn over.

I decided to jump start it on Sunday to drop it off at the shop to see if it was the starter or something else. I was also going to have oil change since it was within 500 miles of being due anyway.

The Super started after a little downhill coaxing. It didn’t seem exactly like its old self but there where no indicators something tragic was about to happen. I wasn’t in a particular hurry with my father-in-law following so I just casually drove in the slow lane towards the shop.

Half way there, I noticed a little smoke coming through air vents at the windshield. I immediately rolled the window partially down for the smoke to exit and looked into my rear view mirror.

That is when I saw the flames.

According to my father-in-law later, that was when he first saw the flames as well.

oasis February 19th 2008 10:49

I turned the ignition off, grabbed the fire extinguisher, and jumped out of the car to limit the damage. One of the sadly ironic aspects of this episode is the engine lid was locked. Instead of keeping thieves and saboteurs away, it was keeping me away.

I shot the extinguisher through the vents as best as I could. I even thought I had done it and was looking for the key to unlock the lid. No sooner did I reach that incorrect conclusion, I saw the smoke build to a point where the flames were once again visible.

At that point, I emptied the extinguisher through vents as best as I could.

I passerby had a cell phone and called in the 9-1-1. The police and fire truck was there very soon. The station was only a half mile away.

The firemen used an axe to smash the driver’s window as the door wouldn’t open. (I guess the heat made the door swell because I had no motivation to lock it.) They also used the blunt end of a crow bar to smack the engine lid so they could open it.

The car was heavily doused. As the excitement ebbed, the firemen also seemed interested in removing the side panel on the inside behind the driver. They had already cut the power cable but they wanted to give that area an extra flooding in fear the fire may resume.

Much of the back of the car was charred with different elements including the DTM shroud disfigured or destroyed. Amazingly, none of the fuel lines ignited. The filters for the Dells seem to be still there. That is not to say there might be hope for the engine block or any of its components. It might have been a heck of lot worse, however.

I know everyone likes pictures. Had I placed any thought process into what I was doing rather than running on instinct, I may have taken a few with my phone. I was more concerned with saving the car, then saving the few valuables it contained. My hands also started bleeding from the shattered glass without realizing it.

If the opportunity presents itself, I will take some after-the-fact pictures.

oasis February 19th 2008 10:50

I owned the Super for 3½ years, the last 1½ years being a German Looker. It was a much shorter run than I was planning but I had a lot of fun along the way.

I want to thank all of the nice people I met along the way. If I start naming specific people, I run the risk of offending others who are just as deserving. I trust most of you know who you are.

I would like to single out the members of VKG, Dave (NO_H2O), Jake Raby and the many people associated directly and indirectly with him, and the many nice people I met at the shows in Tampa, Fla., Toccoa, Ga., and Manassas, Va. You not only contributed to my fun, I learned a lot along the way.

At the risk of sounding corny, the two non-Internet entities I want to also thank are Doug, Desmond and the rest of the crew at Desmond’s Auto Service who have been 24-carat wonderful since I first met them nearly 20 years ago, and most of all, my wife. The money and time I spent on this hobby could have been very easily vetoed.

I have no specific plans for the future. My dad is in the hospital and my daughter is gearing for college. That is enough to sidetrack me for now.

I am probably not going to repeat my efforts. That doesn’t mean I won’t venture into Super Beetles again. I actually have a secret agenda to that end but that would be a few years into the future. It also doesn’t mean I won’t build another German Looker. It would a shame not to use what I have learned.

If I do go down that path, the concept will be fresh from the one that ended too soon.

My wife started campaigning for a Karmann Ghia already.

I have no idea when I might return (aside from getting pics, if possible, that is) but I hope everyone fulfills their German Look passions.

Dennis (oasis)

vujade February 19th 2008 13:10

so sorry to hear that man... thats realy a shame :(

I had an electrical fire once, but it wasnt that bad at all.

Im sure you'll be back at some point. Take care of what
you need to take care of personally :)

See you soon!

Panelfantastic February 19th 2008 14:44

Sorry to hear about the fire. I drive one of those big red rigs myself. Never much of a joy to me, taking an axe to someones car. Our tools are pretty crude and we are taught to peel it back like a can of sardines. Hurts my heart everytime.

I don't have a GL ride right now either. It may be quite a while before I can have another. I still lurk, occasionally post, and am trying to get down to Dyno Day just to watch and enjoy. I still enjoy hearing about everyones projects and following the hobby.
Take a break if you need to, hang around if you want to. Hope you and I both return with GL's soon.


Superman February 19th 2008 16:19

I'm very sorry to hear that Dennis and at the risk of sounding corny too, I'll miss you not the car. All the best, your friend, Supe.

Steve C February 19th 2008 18:55


Its very sad to hear about the demise of a VW, there not making any more of them. The main thing is that your OK.


NO_H2O February 19th 2008 19:01

I hate to hear this. That was a nice ride and I know you put alot of effort into it. I hope the insurance company is kind to you. Most of all I am glad you are ok. Salvage what you can. Gather your thoughts and see if another project is down the road for you. Car or no car, we are always here for you.

yellrhd February 19th 2008 21:02

Sorry to hear about the car.

But glad to hear you were not injured to badly

Hope to see you around in the future

Remember you don't have to have a car to come hang out here and share your knowledge and common sense that we have all come to appreciate


Lazarus February 20th 2008 10:51

Dennis, im very sorry to hear this. i can say from previous experience that a fire hurts more than what money can repair. it shakes your confidence in yourself and your ability to compete or partcipate in a hobby. as marcellis wallace said "Thats just your pride f'ing with you,f pride." when i raced i lost a bike to fire so i kinda know what youre feeling. the first few days were not that bad i planned my come back but as i started to work and figure out what went wrong and realized it was my fault i was really shook up over it. youll get back in the groove. dont let it beat you down. and more importantly dont beat yourself down.

yetibone February 20th 2008 13:28

I'm very sorry to hear this as well Oasis. I totally concur with Laz on what kind of mental damage a fire, or any catastrophic automotive event can do.

Glad YOU made it through with your physical health intact.

wrenchnride247 February 20th 2008 21:05

Kinda late posting, but just found out from NO_H20 (been out of town helping someone) I'm very sorry to hear about the loss. I still remember that big grin you had on your face at Taccoa after getting MassIVe power. Good luck with your future plans.

NO_H2O February 20th 2008 21:59

Dennis. Get the check and keep the car (or buy it back cheap). Lots of the things you put into the car can be used again or rebuilt and used again. The insurance company will not know disc brakes from drums, etc. if they sell it off. Maybe the car can be saved.

V73W February 21st 2008 00:18

I may be a new VKG member and have never met you I truly do feel your pain. I would like to extend my deepest sympathies because even though my car is not much to look at it was my first car and I couldn't imagine loosing it. Please if there is anything I can do ask.

Kafer_Mike February 21st 2008 13:19

Sorry to hear of your loss. Cars are replaceable. It's the people (and their passion for them) that endure. Glad you are safe... ;)

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