My long-time dream of owning a German-made car came to fruition in 1998 – in the form of a 4-year old secondhand maroon-coloured VW Passat. Being in Singapore, I had paid S$76,000 for that SOB (“Son Of the Beetle”).
I loved the clean sleek design, and the feel of tight, precision Teutonic engineering. Driving it was sheer exhilaration. However, my joy was short-lived. Spare parts were extremely expensive.
Worse, after about 6 months, the auto gearbox malfunctioned – always jumping back from 4th to 2nd gear unexpectedly. The agent – Champion Motors – told me the fault could not be fixed, and I would need to fork out S$10,000 to buy a new gearbox!! So, I took the car to an outside mechanic who did a temporary fix – and then I sold it for S$60,000/= (the Asian currency crisis was in full swing then). Sob, sob.