“I once stole lawnmower parts from my landscaping job to fix this car up.”
- The Ride
- The Driver: Matt
- Car in Question: 1948 MG (Replica)
- Spotted at: Mission Bay, Terry A Francois Street, San Francisco, CA 94158
- Odometer: 1,888
- Car’s nickname: The Paddy Wagon
Q: Can you tell us about your ride?
A: It’s a prefabricated kit that’s built on top of an old 1968 Volkswagen Beatle. They ripped the top off, left the wheels and the frame, and then added new fiberglass. It’s basically an impostor of an old car.
Q: Not to be rude, but do you ever feel weird about it being an impostor?
A: Only when I’m at the DMV and they have no idea what it is. It’s a replica of a 1948 built on top of a 1968 Volkswagen that was assembled in 1989. So when I got it in Massachusetts, they didn’t know which year to register it under. There wasn’t even a VIN because it’s just metal and parts.
Q: But don’t you have to have a VIN to register your car?
A: Usually a VIN is 17-characters, but they just made one up for me in Massachusetts that’s really short. So every time I bring it to a new state, they’re like, “What is this?”
Q: So did you have a hard time registering it in San Francisco?
A: Yes, it took a year and a half for me to register it. You have to get a special exemption from the DMV. They only give out something like 500 each year. Those 500 are usually gone within the first two hours of the first day of the New Year.
Q: Which neighborhood do you live in?
A: Potrero Hill. It’s sunny. I like that there’s a lot of parking and that cars only get broken into once in a while.
Q: Does that mean you park this car on the street!?
A: No, I rent a garage space nearby for $125 a month.
Q: How often do you take it out?
A: Usually just a couple of hours every weekend when it’s sunny. But luckily, because I live in Northern California, I can take it out the first weekend in January. Sorry East Coasters!
Q: What’s your favorite day trip?
A: I like to take it to Sam’s Anchor Café in Tiburon. It’s by the water and I get to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge. I put on my three-piece corduroy suit, and hat, and it makes old people smile. Their faces brighten up and I’ll honk hello at them.
Q: How did you get the car?
A: My dad got mad at me and didn’t talk to me for a year. And then, when he was ready to make up, he gave me this car for my 21st birthday as an olive branch. I don’t actually know how he got it. It was some kind of shady deal.
Q: It has about 1,800 miles on the odometer. How many more do you think it can handle?
A: I don’t actually believe that’s the amount of miles on this car because the engine, chassis, and gearbox are all 44 years old. Everything’s been messed with. Those gauges are just for show. The gas says full when I’m almost out!
Q: Have you ever gotten any tickets in this car?
A: Not in this car. But I’ve gotten a few speeding tickets in my twenty years of driving. But parking tickets? Come on. It’s San Francisco!
Photos and interview by Daisy Barringer
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