Ever think you’d like to own a classic car?
In my book “Sky Witness to Murder”, newspaper reporter Callie Fortune drives a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle.
Callie is super attached to the car, which had belonged to her mother. After Mom died, the bank foreclosed on their house and Callie was suddenly homeless. She dropped out of college and lived in the Volkswagen for a while, brushing her teeth in the restroom at the restaurant where she worked as a waitress. Tough times. But she’s moved on.
As the story opens, Callie has graduated from college and has a job, and she’s still driving that Volkswagen.
And the old Volkswagen suits her. She’s a thrifty girl and sees no need to buy a new vehicle when the Beetle gets her where she needs to go. Plus, it’s hip to be sustainable and Callie is helping the environment by driving a fuel-efficient older car instead of buying something new.
Callie does some basic maintenance on the car herself and she has a trusted mechanic who handles the tricky tasks.
She enjoys shifting gears on the standard transmission as she zips around the North Mississippi town where she helps uncover a murder.
The lack of air-conditioning doesn’t bother her much. She uses the hand crank to open the windows and enjoys letting the breeze ruffle her short hair.
Are you cut out to drive a classic ride? It takes dedication to maintain one of these beauties. First, you need a mechanic skilled at working on older cars, and sometimes you have to be patient while he or she locates hard-to-find parts.
Older cars often lack comforts we take for granted in newer models.
Here are a few things you won’t find in Callie’s ’74 Volkswagen:
A spacious backseat
But the stereo system is pretty awesome if you happen to be a collector of eight-track tapes.
Lovers of Beetles, also called Bugs, don’t mind the inconveniences. Collectors’ clubs and fan magazines abound for the unassuming vehicle whose name means “people’s car.”
The Beetle is the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single platform ever made, and over the decades, 21,529,464 rolled off the assembly line. Although production began in the 1930s, its popularity exploded in the 1960s and became an icon of the hippie era.
Callie’s car packs plenty of personality in its quirky little chassis, and driving a funky car is part of who she is. She’s a bit of a rebel with no patience for pretense.
Want to learn more about Callie’s exploits in the 1974 Super Beetle? They’re in “Sky Witness to Murder.”