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The Gearboat Chronicles

Tartan Plaid VDubya Screamin’ Golf

My dad had the coolest golf bag when I was a kid. It was plaid. Real classy. I now own a Volkswagen Golf. It was blue. And not so classy. But I had some leftover paint. Behold. The Tartan Plaid VW Golf, sporting wings of glory on the hood.


Here’s a before picture. Sort of a pewter blue, oxidized UV look with rust streaks thing going on. The magnetic racks for flyrods turn this little chariot into a fishing golf cart of sorts. Now I just need one of those clipboards on the steering wheel with a scorecard and a tiny pencil to keep track of how many steelhead I don’t catch.

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This fine automobile is a 1985 Volkswagen Golf diesel. Gets 44 miles to the gallon. Forty-four. Miles. Each gallon. That’s a lot of miles from a gallon. Sure, it sounds like a tractor when the little four-banger diesel rattles to life. But maybe I can fix that by installing one of those pants-on-fire chips from recent model VWs that claim rainbows shoot out the tailpipe. In the meantime it’s a heck of an economy car with a spanky-new economy paint job, courtesy of hardware store enamel and a three-day weekend.

For the paint application I used a roller on the big parts and a brush for the tight stuff. It sort of looks almost OK if you’re eighteen feet away or more. Closer than that and you start seeing the bugs trapped in paint, runs, drips, splatters and all that. Ah, well. I think of it as early-Earl Scheib.

The hood is supposed to invoke the Pontiac Firebird school of art, circa Smokey and the Bandit. Here’s a close-up.


Thing is, though, I live in Oregon and in Oregon there’s a university with yellow and green as their color scheme. Just because I didn’t have gold paint for the wings but did have some yellow, now I get questions from UO Duck fans thinking I’m a booster. It’s not that I’m anti-Ducks. I just should have bought some gold paint.

The wing thing came from an inspirational story on the website Jalopnik, titled Here Are Ten Cars That Deserved ‘Screaming Chicken’ Firebird-Style Hood Decals. There’s a stylized handshake for the Honda Accord. A traffic ticket with wings for the Chevy Citation. There was also a link to photos of a BMW some guy had painted plaid with a roller. Then a link discussing how a new retro vehicle had nailed it on a throwback to the old Woodie side panel look. Dad’s sweet golf bag came to mind. I processed all this and knew what I had to do. Including adding “putt-putt” to the logo, because that’s what the car sounds like. You can really appreciate the shoddy craftsmanship with this zoomed-in shot. Man. Just look at that slapdash application of hunter green enamel. Breathtaking.


Warning to the Winding Waters Family: The snazzy Winding Waters sticker designed by Silje Christoffersen is what really pushed me over the edge on painting this car. I stuck that sticker on and just knew the old coat of paint wasn’t doing this sticker justice. So I’m just saying. It’s a great sticker. You should get one and put it on your rig. But be prepared to get a new paintjob to go along with it. Or a new car. It’s a slippery slope.


Swing by the Winding Waters Boathouse Shop and pick up one of these decals for your horseless carriage. We’ll even stick it on the window for you while you’re off floating the river. Enjoy the summer, all you good people.