I saw an ad for an ‘84 GTI which I thought was a steal at $500 especially since it came with a Maryland inspection (if this story rings a bell to anyone who may have lived in the Waldorf area some time in 1991 to 1992, I secretly hate your guts). The silver paint and even the interior were decent. I was 19 years old so, of course, I knew what I was doing and handed over my hard-earned money. I may have said, “SUCKERS!” under my breath. If I was in a cartoon, it would’ve been MY head that turned into a donkey’s head, braying with ignorant delight.

Well, it wasn’t until after I bought the car that I noticed part of the engine bay had some heavy-duty masking tape which was spray painted black right around where the driver’s side strut was mounted. I thought, “that’s weird.” and didn’t pay it any mind. I may have even thought they did a good job at fixing what was damaged since I barely noticed it. So, while driving to a friend’s house one day, I hear a clunking noise and lost the ability to accelerate. The CV joint on the driver’s side had broken. I assumed, at the time, it was due to normal wear and tear (“You know what happens when you ‘assume’ ”, Mr, Kotter could be heard saying inside my donkey head.). After a self-taught lesson on replacing CV axles I was back on the road...for about a month when it broke again. It was at this point that I started to put two and two together. I fixed it, again, and this time drove to the house where I bought it from to get some questions answered. I saw someone inside but they clearly didn’t want to answer the door because I’m sure they knew why I was there.

I sighed, chalked it up to experience, and just left. On the way to work, the CV joint broke leaving me stranded on the side of the highway during morning commuter traffic, only this time, I had it towed to the VW dealership in Tyson’s Corner and traded it in for a brand new 8v GTI and was able to get the value of what I had originally paid for it. Thanks also to my dad for co-signing that car for me!

The ‘92 GTI was the first new car I ever owned and that year was the last time I ever bought a used car from a private seller.

The first used car I bought from a dealership? Well, that’s a different ass story.