Vintage & Classics

A man from Charleston, South Carolina has owned 42 Volkswagens in the last 40 years

One South Carolina man has collected 40 Volkswagen models in the last 42 years, selling off many along the way.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

When you hear that someone has owned 42 vehicles in the last 40 years, your first question will probably be, "Why?" Add in the fact that they've all been Volkswagens and the answer gets even more interesting.

Taylor Bryant, a Charleston, South Carolina native, has always had a soft spot for Volkswagens. Growing up in the Palmetto State, Bryant would ride his bicycle to the local VW dealership and chat up the technicians.

Forty years ago, Bryant spotted a 1961 Volkswagen Beetle waiting at a red light. He approached the driver and asked if he would be willing to sell it. A few weeks and $500 later, the light blue Beetle was his.

Volkswagen Taylor Bryant Bryant has restored, fixed up, and turned around a number of Volkswagens to help fund his habit.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

"I drove it all the way through high school and the beginning of college. It really got me into cars because I had to work on it constantly," Bryant said. "You can't pay a whole lot of people to work on your car on a Taco Bell salary at 16."

Bryant went on to earn a degree in automotive technology from Aiken Technical College in South Carolina in 2001 and worked as a Volkswagen master auto technician for 12 years. During that time, Bryant built his own car collection adding a wide variety of models to his collection including a Corrado, original Beetle, Golf, Jetta, and Tiguan.

Starting and maintaining a car collection isn't cheap. Bryant would often buy trade-in vehicles and took them on as project cars. Once a car was complete, he would sell it for whatever money he put into it and use the earnings to fund the next build.

"I pretty much love them all [and] have touched or owned all of them at some point," said Bryant.

Those Volkswagens have played key roles in Bryant's life. He ran for school board in 2010 and used a 2005 Jetta GLI as his campaign car. Bryant bought his wife a Cabriolet for their fifth wedding anniversary, and his son's first car was a Jetta.

His current collection includes a 1999 Jetta, a 2004 Passat Wagon, and a 2017 Jetta. He recently spotted one of his favorite project cars – a beautifully restored red 1967 Karmann Ghia – for sale on Facebook Marketplace.

"It was pretty neat to see a car I restored 20 years ago still running around and looking beautiful," Bryant said.

In 2013, after 12 years of working as a Volkswagen mechanic, he left the shop to become an instructor at Augusta Technical College in Georgia. "It feels really good to give back to the career that has given me everything I've ever had," Bryant said.

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VW purchased the rights to the iconic Scout name and plans to make new EVs under the brand.

Volkswagen

Automakers bring back names and brands from the past all the time, but it's not every day that a major company purchases a brand name specifically for the purpose of reviving it. That's exactly what Volkswagen just did with Scout, the name of an ultra-popular off-road SUV that was built by International Harvester in the 1960s and 1970s.

As for the types of vehicles we'll see from the brand, we currently only have the renders to go on. The pickup truck and SUV both feature throwback styling that is reminiscent of the original Scout shapes. Beefy off-road tires and lifted suspension are the only other clues available in the drawings.

Volkswagen has its own EVs, and its other brands like Audi and Porsche have made significant progress with electric vehicles as well. That said, VW doesn't really have a solid off-road option from any of its brands at the moment, so the Scout purchase opens doors for the automaker in that arena.

The announcement sounds exciting, but we've still got plenty of time to wait before there's a Scout-branded EV on the roads. Volkswagen said the plan is to release vehicles by 2026, but it won't be sitting idle between now and then. The VW ID.4 is still very fresh and the automaker says it will launch a total of 25 new EVs in the U.S. by 2030.

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The ID. Buzz enters production in Europe soon.

Volkswagen

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz is one of the most anticipated EVs in a sea of desirable and exciting new vehicles. With retro styling and an all-electric powertrain, the van promises to be a funky, futuristic people-hauler with plenty of new tech. Today, VW handed out specs and information on the van during its global launch.

Volkswagen ID. BuzzInterior and exterior design ooze retro style. Volkswagen

Two configurations are available: A five-seat passenger version and a three-seat cargo version. Both ride on Volkswagen's modular electric drive platform (MEB), and both are rear-wheel drive. Power output lands at 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque, and the van's top speed reaches 145 mph.

Inside is where the magic happens. The passenger van features five seats, and in top models the seats come with massaging functionality. The three-person bench seat in the second row can be folded flat or folded 60/40, and the seat slides up to 5.9 inches front to back. Six-passenger seating is standard, but an extended wheelbase seven-seat configuration will be offered.

Inside, a ten-inch digital gauge cluster is standard, and pairs with a ten-inch infotainment touchscreen. A 12-inch display is available, and touch controls handle climate controls and audio volume. Rather than a traditional gear selector lever, Volkswagen uses a stalk mounted on the steering column. The Cargo version gets special storage functions, including a removal center console and several storage bins.

Volkswagen ID. BuzzBoth passenger and cargo configurations are offered.Volkswagen

ID. Buzz Cargo production starts in Europe early this year, with production of the standard van following shortly after. The European launch is scheduled for the third quarter of 2022, and the van will launch in North America in 2024. Volkswagen has not yet nailed down the model year for the new van, and will release more information closer to its release.

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