I have a confession to make. I’m madly in love with my car. In fact, so much that I love it more than my family, friends, and even my cat.
Now I should make a disclaimer here: I don’t love it that much I want to do weird stuff with it, like this guy. I just simply can’t get enough of it, and I know I’m not alone.
Recently I was browsing through a Facebook car page and there were dozens of people saying they love their car so much, it extended even beyond their partner.
At first, it shocked me, but then I realised, I was one of them too. I had fallen into the trap of car obsession.
This ‘disease’ can be for a vintage, classic or modern car, it doesn’t matter. But once you have it, it doesn’t go away. In fact, it gets worse.
My 1965 Volkswagen Beetle, 'Ernie', is a special car to me, having been sold second-hand in 1968 from my great uncle's Volkswagen dealership. My dad and I restored it, I know its entire history, and how could I forget that it helped me win the CarAdvice Correspondent.
Although it’s not a rare car, I cannot imagine my life without it. It feels like its oil runs through my veins.
I talk to it a lot. When I’m walking past it in the garage, I give it a tap on the bonnet. When I climb into the driver's seat, I say 'hi' to it. When I get out and turn the engine off, I say thank you for looking after me. When I haven’t driven it in a while, I apologise to it.
My neighbours probably think I’m going mad.
Recently Ernie developed a major oil leak. At first, there was the talk of an engine rebuild, which was quoted to be in the thousands. I would happily hand over the money, no matter how much it was, but it made me sad when it was sitting lifeless in the garage.
It was like I was hurting for it; it’s a strange feeling that’s hard to explain.
When it is running, I take it to the drive-in and believe the car is also watching the movie with me, or I sing along to the radio and think it’s listening to my terrible singing.
I hook up a camper trailer and take it away on weekends, exploring roads I’ve never been, and learning history I never knew was there.
It shares the trip with me, even though I think I’m sharing the trip with it.
When I’ve had a bad day, the first thing I do is take my car out for a drive. They say laughter is the best medicine, well, maybe driving is.
I listen to the engine, gently find its gears, have all the windows down, and I don’t even realise I have a grin from ear-to-ear. If the weather is ordinary, I just sit in it while parked in the garage, and have a cold beer.
All my worries quickly disappear.
I also stare at it longingly while I’m watering the plants in the backyard. I find myself watching the car more than the TV when it’s parked at the front door. And I look back about three times after parking it while walking to the grocery store.
I get dirty knees a lot, after getting as close to the ground as possible to take that ‘perfect’ car photo. Most of the time it gets uploaded to social media.
Ninety per cent of my Facebook posts are about my car, and I will embarrassingly say I have more photos of it on my phone than my family. I’m not really proud of that.
I cannot let anyone else wash it, because only I know where all the paint chips are or where not to spray it with the hose. It’s my version of giving it a birthday, and I also find it therapeutic washing it and seeing a clean car after a good couple of hours of detailing.
Speaking of birthdays, I even sent a request away for its birth certificate from Wolfsburg, so I know the exact date when it left the West German factory. Sitting proudly next to it is the only award it has ever won (I'm not one of those trophy hunters) for the Best Early Beetle.
At Christmas, I dress it up with lights and decorations and buy it a gift. Last year it received new carpet.
If I wasn’t busy spending money on accessories for it, I may have saved enough to build one of those dream lounge rooms where the car is parked next to the couch. Surely you’ve dreamt about having one of those too?
A person's love for their car can never be denied. It becomes a part of you. If I had someone offer serious money for it, I wouldn’t think twice about saying no. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of money would be life-changing, but it would never replace the happiness I get when I drive my pride and joy.