Positive response to Volkswagen ‘imposter’

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‘‘Joy spreader’’ ... Wendy Lobb and her 1997 Subaru Sambar.

In a three-part series, motoring reporter Shawn McAvinue asks Wendy and Michael
Lobb, of Fairfield, about some of their eye-catching automobiles.
For the first instalment, Wendy talks about her 1997 Subaru Sambar dressed up as a Volkswagen.

Q: Is this a Volkswagen?
No it’s an imposter — [it’s a Subaru] it’s just got a pretty frock on.

Q: Where did you get it?
From a car dealer in Kaikorai Valley Rd.

Q: Did it look like this?
No it was brown and it had a big butterfly on the front — which looked ridiculous. Michael didn’t want me to get it because he was restoring a 1975 CF Bedford van (set to feature in
part three of the series) but I ducked out and brought it home. I actually wanted a
1955 Chev but my pocket money didn’t stretch that far and this felt like the next best thing.

Q: When did it get its pink facelift, and who did it?
In March last year, Michael and my two boys — Kent and Peter — stripped it down one
weekend and painted it pink, put the VW badge on it and the Wee Dub stickers. They
also took all the interior inserts out and painted them pink.

Q: Does it get much attention?

It’s my everyday runner and I can honestly say — hand on heart — a day doesn’t go past where somebody gives me a wave, a thumbs up, or asks me if they can take a photo — it’s a real joy spreader.

Q: How big is the motor?
It has a 660cc engine — which is located under the back — its top speed is 90kmh.

Q: Have you travelled with five people in it?
We’ve had four people and our big dog in it — it’s faster if I’m by myself. It’s light and
has tiny wheels so it will give you the willies driving it on a windy day.

Q: Do you still have any ambition of owning a muscle car?
I have plenty of V8 muscle available in the family to drive when I need that thrill
(including a 1970 HG Monaro set to feature in part two of the series). In saying that, this
van is the most helpful little donkey in the family because if you have got something big
to pick up it can fit more in it than a standard car boot.
She’s had all sorts in the back of her.