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Select one of the items listed above.

The homepage provides a general introduction about who I am, what I do and what I like

All lot of information and pictures of my 1950 Beetle and 2000 New Beetle.

Some pictures of my 1994 Honda VFR-750F

Some pictures of my 2004 Mazda 6 Executive (136bhp diesel)

Overview of my work experiences
(in Dutch only)

The photo gallery contains pictures of holidays, cars, etc...

Overview and downloads of some of my private software projects.

Personal information, such as my address, phonenumber, etc...
(password protected)

Driving a 1951 bug
Beetle details
Pictures #1
Pictures #2


Driving a 1951 Volkswagen is a little bit different then driving a modern car. The engine needs to be started by shifting the gear in neutral and you need to release the clutch. Then press the big button on the dash and the engine starts up. This sounds pretty straightforward, but during the winter it's not that easy. The car isn't very fond of cold weather and she often refuses to drive, when she hadn't drove for a while and it's pretty cold outside. The first time the engine is started you'll notice that the sound of the engine is louder then you're used to, but what sounds is better then the sound of an air-cooled boxer engine?

When shifting in first gear nothing strange will happen and you can drive away pretty easily. Then you need to shift to second gear and that is were the fun starts. You have to double clutch to prevent the bug from making unwanted gearbox noise. This is easy, just hit the clutch. Shift to neutral. Release the clutch. Press it again and shift up. When the engine and gearbox are a little cold, then gently add some gas when in neutral to prevent to gearbox from grinding. Then you drive to the first corner and you hit the brakes. Nothing happens and you start wondering if brakes are installed at all. Well, they are but there effect is minimal compared to a modern car. This is also easy, because you just have to press harder and earlier. Steering is the same as with modern cars, but of course there is no power steering. This isn't necessary, because the car isn't heavy and the tires are pretty small. You have to be careful, because the back of the car tends to break out pretty fast. Shifting up to three is in sight and after you know the double clutch it isn't hard at all.

Then the real pain kicks in, when you have to make a turn and need to shift back to second gear. There are several things you need to do in a modern car. Brake a little bit and press the clutch. Shift back and release the clutch gently. Because you press the clutch and you release the gas the cars RPMs drop fast. However, the RPMs need to increase, because you switch to a lower gear. Things get out of sync here and modern gearboxes try to compensate this, which is called a synchronized gearbox. Old gearboxes don't, so you have to do it yourself, which is pretty hard. After switching to neutral and releasing the clutch, you'll have to press the gas again to compensate this by hand (or better: by foot). At first this is pretty difficult, but after some practice it is a lot of fun to do.

Another issue to deal with is other drivers. A lot of drivers are not aware of the cars lower performance, braking, etc... A 1951 Beetle doesn't accelerate from 0-100km/h within 10 seconds. It doesn't brake as easily and the car cannot round corners as fast as a modern car. You need to be very careful and drive extremely defensive to avoid getting into dangerous situations. Of course, the car is well insured but I don't want to see my beloved bug towed away in pieces.

Driving Beetle
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Page last updated at Apr 23, 2009

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