Episode 1: How it All Got Started
It was an otherwise unremarkable late afternoon in August, and I was driving home from work in my beloved 2008 Volkswagen GTI Mark V. At a four-way stop about four miles from the supper table, fate intervened and I found myself participating in a reenactment of the sinking of the Andrea Doria. A Chevy Traverse, playing the role of MS Stockholm, collided with the GTI and all but took the whole front clip off.
We hit at maybe 10 or 15 MPH. Fortunately, no people were harmed, just plastic and sheet metal and a radiator or two. I knew as soon as I saw the damage that the GTI–my faithful daily driver and delightful road toy for nine years and 182,179 one-owner miles–was unsalvageable.
So what to replace it with? I had two non-negotiable requirements for the replacement: it must be fun to drive, and it must have a stick shift. After the search was underway, a mandate from my household’s finance and budgeting committee–my wife–added a third non-negotiable criterion: the price of my next car could not exceed $10,000.
Could such a car exist, and if it did, could it be found in Northeast Ohio? Join me for Episode 2, in which the hunt begins.
–Mike (Cookie the Dog’s Owner)