When Karen Haugh was a teenager, she longed for a Volkswagen Beetle, but her parents thought it was a very unsafe car. Karen was allowed a ‘normal’ car. Roll on to the present day, and Karen and Steve Haugh and their daughter Magdalene own two gorgeous Vee-Dubs. Which just goes to prove that if you tell someone they can’t have something, they’ll likely go out of their way to make sure they get it!

Karen originally owned (once she left home) a powder blue 1965 model, which she says unfortunately came to a sorry end at a stop sign. Undeterred, she bought her present model, the 1973 red Beetle she drives today. She also bought a crashed one for parts, and transferred the smart, black & red leather seats and steering wheel.

Being a committed Vee-Dubber, the cars seem to ‘pop up’ all around Karen. One day out driving she spotted one for sale, stopped, and ended up taking it home “for the future,” she laughs. This is Magdalene’s green 1969 model, although she is still three years away from getting her license, and possibly less enthused about the older Beetle than her mother. She prefers the new shaped Vee-Dub, and already has her eye on one for sale locally. She’s hoping that in a few years’ time the value of her current car will have quadrupled and she will have a healthy fund to start Uni. It’s a great plan!

“It’s not an easy car to drive. Its manual transmission and the gears are all in the ‘wrong’ place, but it putts along respectfully and I love driving it. People always look when I’m out driving,” Karen says. “Would I sell it? No way. I’ve put too much into it over the years, and you couldn’t put a price on the memories.”

Love them or not, the VW Beetle is a car with an incredible sixty eight year mass production, making it the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single platform ever made.

They seem to have a habit of following Karen around, so watch this space.

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Judy McAuliffe is a writer, and publisher Essence Mid Canterbury. Her experience in media is extensive and includes approximately 15 years as Creative Director for The Radio Network, writing, and managing the writing of radio advertising, mainly in Invercargill and Greymouth. In the late 1990’s she transferred to Christchurch, moving into an Account Management role with 91ZM. In 2007 she and a business partner set up Essence Mid Canterbury, very quickly adapting her radio-writing skills to print media. Judy became sole owner of Essence Mid Canterbury in June 2014. Judy is a ‘people person’ and has found her niche writing feature stories about the community she lives in and the people who live there. She is also available for freelance writing assignments.