A Bee­tle love af­fair

> Proud own­ers of clas­sic VW mod­els take a drive down mem­ory lane

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

SUBANG JAYA: A lawyer still drives his fa­ther’s 1967 Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle for road trips around Malaysia and Thai­land.

A well known lawyer, Sreekant Pil­lai said his mother had brought him home af­ter his birth from hos­pi­tal in the same Bee­tle and later his fa­ther used to drop him to school in the same car. “So I have a very close at­tach­ment to the ve­hi­cle,” he said.

“My fa­ther sub­se­quently gave me the car, when I went to col­lege and I have been us­ing it since,” said Sreekant.

The “Bug” was pur­chased by his fa­ther, M.G.G Pil­lai, a jour­nal­ist and po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist, in Sin­ga­pore. He used the car for 26 years un­til 1993. He passed away in 2006. “I grew up with that car,” said Sreekant.

He had re­stored the Bee­tle over four years and spent about RM25,000 and kept the orig­i­nal fea­tures. The car, which came with no air-con­di­tioner, still has no air con­di­tioner. He de­cided to keep it orig­i­nal as it has sen­ti­men­tal value at­tached to it.

Sreekant said he trav­elled ev­ery­where with no air-con­di­tion. Even the colour is orig­nal.

Sreekant has driven the “bug” in East Malaysia and Thai­land and even has a blog about his trips. He is plan­ning an­other trip to Laos with other Bee­tle own­ers, in the fu­ture.

“My Dad’s car is 49 years old, it is older than me and it still works,” he said. “I re­ally be­lieve cars like this should be driven and not kept in the house or show­room to look pretty, al­though it is pretty.”

Sreekant, who drives his “1972” model Bee­tle, which he pur­chased in 2015 to work, par­tic­i­pated in the 8th “Bug-O-Rama” 2016 at the out­door carpark at Sum­mit, USJ yes­ter­day. His blue Bee­tle was among the Volk­swa­gens on dis­play.

A va­ri­ety of Bee­tles in fas­ci­nat­ing colours were among the clas­sic Volk­swa­gens at the event. It was jointly or­ga­nized by Ke­lab Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle Malaysia (KVBM) and Sum­mit, USJ.

Vin­cent Lee, deputy pres­i­dent, said this year about 40 mod­els of Volk­swa­gen “Kombi” van, which is a rare model was show­cased, com­pared to only 20 mod­els, last year.

An­other model, a mil­i­tary “Volk­swa­gen Kubel 181”, be­long­ing to Lt. Col ( R ) Mohd Idris Has­san was the cen­tre of at­trac­tion.

Mohd Idris, 75, who had served the Royal Malay Reg­i­ment for 30 years, said the model which was built for mil­i­tary use was ac­quired in a run down con­di­tion and was re­stored over three years.

An­other Bee­tle owner, S. Tha­vane­san, 46, had on dis­play four clas­sic VW ve­hi­cles, among them a 1978 model “Kombi” van, which he calls his “Hip­pie Bus”.

Lt Col (R) Mohd Idris with his Volk­sWa­gen Kubel 181.

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