AUTObiography: Rattysquare’s 1968 VW Squareback

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Next up is VWvortex reader: Rattysquare

How long have you owned this car?

One year.

Is there anything unique about the history of this car?

There isn’t really a unique history of the car that I know of. I bought it off of some lady in south Seattle for $300. She wanted $500 but since it wouldn’t start when I went to get it, she told me I could have it for $300 so I have money to tow it. $33 later, it was at my house with a new cap and rotor and started right up.

Why did you choose this car to purchase?

I was going to school in Seattle and needed a small, fun car to drive around the city. It turns out, once I built the car, it couldn’t drive around the city, son of a bitch is too low!

What other cars did you consider?

I wanted a MKII GTI.

What was your objective with this car?

My objective with this car was to get it low and loud, and make people stare!

What tuning style best describes this car?

Tuning style? I don’t think of tuning when I think of air-cooled VWs, but I would definitely call it HoodRide, which is more of a way of life!

Who helped you build this car?

My buddy Jordan… without that guy, oh man, I would have been in over my head.

What makes your car special?

Probably that it’s one of very few in the little area of Washington I call home, and when I say one of very few, I mean that you never see ratty-ass air-cooleds around here.

What is your favorite part/feature/function?

Johnny Cash on the back, or the “My other car is a Porsche” license plate frame. It’s funny because up until about six months ago my other car wasn’t a Porsche; now it’s an ‘87 911.

Who or what inspired the direction of modifications on this car?, so many people from that site.

What don’t you like about this car?

Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’m not really sure. I love this thing.

What was your biggest obstacle in building this car?

Figuring out how to take care of the inner fender rubbing issues. I still have problems!

How did you overcome the issue?

Well, it’s not quite overcome, but for the most part I just straight cut out the inner fender supports.

What would you change if you could?

I honestly wouldn’t really change anything about the car. I really love that thing.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with the outcome of this project?

I am very pleased, but I don’t think that I can be “satisfied” with an “outcome” because I’m always wanting to do something more and add to it. Right now I’d give it about a 7, that sounds pretty good, eh?

What would you do to the car if money were no object?

I’d probably bag it, so I could save myself the pain of fixing the pan! I’d probably throw in a turboed Porsche 928 engine, too.

Who has been your biggest critic of this project?

Haha! My biggest critic would have to be everyone on and every purist out there! My dad used to be a pretty big critic but he’s coming around and really enjoying it, which is a good thing.

What do your family and friends say about this car?

My mom and sister say it’s too loud, my brother thinks it’s the baddest ride around, and like I said, my dad is coming around. As for the friends, they all wish they had it!

What is your most memorable/humorous/embarrassing moment with this car?

Last summer, I was driving along. The only problem was that my quietpack muffler was a good inch off the ground (and that’s because the pan of the car was only an inch and a half off the ground, mind you) and I hear a loud pop and then a backfire and I think, “Hmm, that’s weird.” When I look in my rearview mirror, the truck behind me is swerving trying to avoid my muffler but accidentally ran it over. I pulled over and along comes the guy in the truck, yelling out his window, “Hey man… your muffler fell off… sorry I ran it over. Gotta love me some air-cooled dubs! Looks sick, bro!” It was the most memorable, humorous, dangerous and awesome story I have in that thing.

Has this car competed in any events? Results?

There aren’t a whole lot of shows around here, really… I mean, there are, but they are on the other side of the water from me, and since I can’t figure out the whole “Why my engine is overheating on when I go on the freeway” thing… what’s that all about?

What is your favorite place to drive this car?

Someplace flat… warm… desert-y. Since there is none of that around here, I’d have to say around town… people stare… it amuses me.

What is your ideal day with this car?

A nice, long walk on the beach ending with a beautiful sunset picnic and a nice glass of bubbly… er… this is embarrassing! But in all seriousness, just cruising on a nice warm day with mi chica in the passenger seat.

Who gets to drive this car?


If your car had a motto, what would it be?

Something broken today keeps my money away!

If you had to name your car, what would you name it?

If it had a name… pshh! Its name is The RattySquare.

What was your previous project?

Ahh… the Buick! A ’54 Buick Special… that is the car that got me into cars!

What is your next project?

My current project is an ‘03 Jetta 1.8T… it’s pretty dope… and it’s getting there. It’s a little less ratty than the Square, but I have some rat in store for it.

What one word best describes your car?


Anything else you’d like to share?

A few weeks ago, a lady followed me into the Safeway parking lot just to say to me, “Hey… how do you drive your car like that? The back wheels are about to fall off. You should get it checked out!” I replied, “It’s camber, and it’s cool!”

Owner Information:

Name: Devin Stein

VWvortex Username: Rattysquare

Occupation: Student

Club Affiliations: Santa Fe Auto

Vehicle Information:

Year: 1968

Make: VW

Model: Squareback

Mileage: 34,000

Original Color: Green

Current Color: Green

Engine: 1600cc Stocker

Engine Modifications: Nada

Exhaust Modifications: Open header

Transmission Modifications: Nada

Suspension Modifications: 4” narrowed KCW Type 1-based beam (built by Franz) with no shock towers. The rear is clicked down about 3 notches with notched spring plates and lowered KGB gas shocks

Brake Modifications: Nada

Wheels and Tires: 15” black steelies with stock hubcaps and beauty rings.

Exterior/Body Modifications: Roof rack

Interior Modifications: Nada

Audio/Video/I.C.E.: Super custom amp powering 4 Pioneer 6×9”s controlled by an iPod.

Thanks/Props: I want to thank Franz and all the guys at KCW, DopeBeatDerrick (R.I.P, HaHa) and everyone at Hoodride, the Sambaists for keeping me in check, and my buddy Jordan for teaching me! And of course VWVortex for teaching me all the s*** I needed to know.

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