Meet Marlin – our ‘91 Volkswagen Golf. We chose this little car to drive the Pan American highway for a number of reasons. We wanted a small, reliable and inconspicuous vehicle (although two surfboards on the car can be a little bit of a tourist give-away). VW built their reputation on these early models and they’ve proven to be sturdy vehicles. The car was made in Germany but parts are fairly easy to find, VW produces vehicles in Mexico and Brazil so we fit in pretty well. Marlin averages over 600ks on a 40 litre tank but doesn’t have A.C.
We’ve had a few issues so far – put a good size dent in the sump when we were driving too fast on a sand road. We lost the bottom half of the bumper somewhere in the Baja dessert and the exhaust system has rattled and banged loose more than a few times. Our biggest issue is with clearance – a couple more inches would be nice but with a bit of careful maneuvering we manage all right.
We change the oil every five thousand K’s and we use premium gas when we can get it… too many stories about dirty fuel to risk the trouble – we call it preventative maintenance but driving in Central and South America means that sometimes you have to take whatever fuel is available. We carry spare oil and fuel filters an extra fan belt and a small Jerry can to be safe – gas stations can sometimes be few and far between.
All in all I reckon Marlin’s going to make it in fine form. A good mate of ours installed a kill switch and Kelsey’s dad gave me a freshly sharpened tomahawk to carry under the glove compartment so we’re pretty much set.
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