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Senior Correspondent

This is told from the perspective of Stewball, Ed and Janet Howle's '67 VW Beetle.

I figure since I have the smallest engine in the Trans-American rally, I needed to work out other advantages. My owners are great people, but lack imagination in some areas so I am suggesting these possible ”solutions” to assist their chances of not embarrassing me with a poor score. (All references are listed.)

  1. Remove the competitor’s gas cap and replace it with a locking one. In all fairness, hide the key in the car, maybe even put a clue taped to the cap. It will still take up valuable time while the driver and navigator frantically hunt for the key at the first gas stop. (Car and Driver, April 2012)
  2. Change the rally instructions, putting the top competitor on a totally different (and hopefully much worse) road. This may require breaking into a competitor’s room one evening, so make sure the competing team has made it to the bar early and stays late. This requires teamwork, one to drink, one to break and enter. This is why you have co-drivers. ("The Long Road to Paris")
  3. Pour ground pepper into the car’s HVAC inlet port. This works best on a misty or rainy morning when it is necessary to clear the windshield. Guaranteed to clear the windshield and driver’s sinuses. Delays caused by sneezing and tearing eyes. (Car and Driver, April 2012)
  4. Delete a page from the rally book. This is just as effective as the second suggestion, gets them lost and takes less time. Only necessary to pull one page out. Best done as a team. One distracts the competitors ("Oh God, I see smoke from under your hood!" You should say this while running toward their car.) once they are seated and reviewing the route for the day. ("The Long Road to Paris")
  5. Place jack stands under the suspension so that the drive wheels just clear the ground. The car will look and start fine, but will go nowhere. (Car and Driver, April 2012)
  6. Switch cars to an outwardly identical one but with a powerful engine. This should be done once everyone is convinced of your lack of competitiveness because of your small engine. I understand that the Porsche engine fits a VW Beetle. Or I might consult Herbie, or even Lindsey Lohan and see what they have used. This will take outside help but it has been done successfully. ("The Long Road to Paris")

If you have additional suggestions, either from your experience or just hearsay, please add your comment. I’d be glad to pass it along to my owners.

Stewball, aka Blue Blaze

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