During my 2nd tour of duty in Germany we were fortunate to get on post housing. Primary reasons were accessibility, security, and $ savings. The drawbacks were lack of contact with locals, no say so about decorating, furniture, etc. And no garage. Also a post edict saying you could not work on vehicles in the housing area. As a dedicated hobbyist mechanic this really galled me.

Enter “Waegela” which is German slang for a VW Beetle. I bought him for $200 and a case of beer. He was a 1967 and was a 12 volt model. He ran great but looked like total crap. In order to spruce him up a bit I got a gallon of medium blue semi-gloss paint and painted the fenders and roof in this color while the rest of the paint was the original robin’s egg blue. I removed the rear seat entirely and then built a platform over the vacated cushions. As I had access to a lot of military vehicle bits and pieces, I began installing black out lights, NATO jumper cable socket, various rub off stencils for tire pressure etc.

Under the platform I had plenty of room for all my hand tools and manuals. I “acquired” a set of NATO jumper cables (8 gauge wire 5 meters long) which I coiled on hooks on the rear cabin. A pair of jerry cans (water & fuel) mounted nicely on the rear quarter panels. A 60 amp alternator replaced the generator which allowed me to use the NATO cables.

Needless to say I got a lot of ribbing about my militarized VW. True, it was exceptionally ugly and sounded like wet farts but its practicality was undisputed. Within 6 months I became very popular with other GI’s who needed a hand with simple maintenance. When I was reassigned about 450 miles further north to Bremerhaven, Waegela came along and soldiered on for another full tour, again being very popular with my fellow soldiers.

I would like to end by saying something warm and touching but it didn’t turn out that way. No, he just finally died from catastrophic engine failure. Gone but not forgotten.

P.S. He was replaced by a 1977 VW Polo that was frog green with a blue velor interior. Everything was transferred to it and the saga continued.