Making A True Scientific Breakthrough Regarding VW Beetles

By Bob Wagner, AAP Columnist

I made a major discovery last night that just may set the scientific world on its ear!

I had taken the VW out for an evening ride to the every Wednesday night gathering of car guys on Main St. on the Maple Shade/Moorestown border. As a group of us stood around trading stories and reminiscing about our youthful adventures in things automotive, the discovery hit me like a thunderbolt!

Metal, like the engine, frame, and body of the VW, gets heavier with age. I immediately threw the premise out there for the group to debate. I prefaced my new found theory by recounting how, in my long gone youth, I had participated on a regular weekly basis in the lifting and moving of a neighbor’s Yellow VW Beetle. Sometimes five, sometimes six skinny teenage boys would lift a fully equipped, road worthy VW Bug, and place it up on the sidewalk. There was no particular reason, no thoughtful reckoning, no real excuse for this exercise. Just teenage boys fulfilling their right to be stupid. It is quite possible there were teenage girls in the vicinity, which could be one explanation… But I digress.

The gathering of car addled adults all started recalling similar stories of VW lifting. Before letting the conversation wander off topic into VWs floating, and other typical car related antics, I called for order, and suggested a test for my sudden revelation. I suggested we lift my current shiny 1963 VW, and move it a few feet over in the parking lot. Blank stares, raised eyebrows, and one giggle were the only answers. It was quickly surmised that the car would not be lifted, moved, or otherwise violated in any manner.

My revelation remains untested. If a car, that in 1965 could be lifted and moved by a few skinny kids, lived for 50 more years, and those same kids couldn’t budge the car now, or even face the prospect of bending over to try a lift, how much weight had the car picked up over those 50 years?

The guys all pulled out their folding chairs, bottled water, and put on their reading glasses. Some turned up their hearing aids, and one guy adjusted his knee brace, all the better to talk out the phenomenon before them. Was it the water in the air? Does steel thicken with age? Is global warming in play here? Was there a scientific explanation, or was it some kind of car magic?

The discussion raged for 10 or 15 minutes, ‘til the group realized the sun was getting low. Most folded their chairs and left, so they wouldn’t have to drive home in the dark. I was left with two slightly bored youngsters, my deep thoughts, and a nagging pain in my lower back, brought on when I bent over to pick up my dropped reading glasses.

I will discuss my new theory further today at the diner with Jones. The daily gathering of grumpy old men will spend hours talking out the reasons behind the weight gaining VW. Perhaps something good will come from all this, besides a silly, late summer column.

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