Bitten by the Beetle bug

Bitten by the Beetle bug

It is quite safe to say that the love for cars and bikes runs in Karthik Prabhu’s family. The Beetle bug had struck him as a boy while his brother was hooked onto jeeps, especially of the vintage kind. Karthik recalls that the Beetle became one of his favourite cars after he saw a few of them in Goa. Since then, he was fascinated by the shape and the design. “I have always loved antique and vintage cars because of their awkward shapes and curves.

They look beautiful and I was attracted to them. The Beetles I saw were very good looking and I was enamoured by them. I used to keep asking my father to buy me a Beetle.”

His wish came true when his father gifted him a 1962 Volkswagen Beetle in 2002, for Karthik’s 21st birthday. Ever since then, Karthik has always had great memories of his Beetle as he literally spent the prime years of his teens in the car. “It was not in a good shape when it came home. We had to take it to a factory and re-do it. It is good as new now. I drive my Beetle on Sunday or whenever I am free.” He says that though his son is just 4-years-old, he loves going for Beetle rides and always asks for toys of Beetle cars.

As Karthik began networking with other vintage and classic car owners in the city, he began participating in many rides and rallies and understood a lot of information about cars and its parts through members of the vintage clubs. “The Beetle has an air-cooled engine and the German design of the car is marvellous. It is everlasting. I haven’t faced any problem while driving my Beetle on the bad roads of Bengaluru. My car never gives up on me.”

He usually drives, with his wife and son, around his area in Lavelle Road on Sunday, when the traffic is lean. He proudly says that his Beetle enjoys all the attention she gets when he takes her out.

“A lot of people love the car and come up and ask me if they could take pictures. They ask me to share some of my stories about the Beetle with them. Some of the funniest incidents happen in the petrol bunk. I have to open the front part of the car as the tank is there. People around enjoy that sight actually.”

 Though he says that he did have some problems in finding  the right mechanics initially, information has become a lot easier now because of the internet and since he is part of a Beetle club. “Maintenance of a vintage or a classic car is a little expensive but it is all about the time and effort one has to put in to take care of their car. Importing parts is also expensive but passionate people will always find the time.”

He has a special place at home for parking the Beetle and says that it always holds priority in his life. Ask him about his dream car and he says he already owns it. “I hope to buy a Porsche next. It has a similar design and is equally attractive because of the shape.

However, the Beetle is my baby. I have great memories of it. When my son was born, we drove from the hospital to our home in the Beetle. I was very happy that his first ride was in the Volkswagen. So I have a very special connect to the car and would love to pass it on to him.”

Anushka Sivakumar
(Karthik can be contacted on 9986088427)

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