Taylor Bryant was in high school when he spotted a light blue 1961 Volkswagen Beetle at a red light and asked the driver if it was for sale. He paid $500 for the car.
It was the first of 42 VWs that Bryant has owned.
"It really got me into cars because I had to work on it constantly," Bryant said in a news release from the automaker last week. "You can't pay a whole lot of people to work on your car on a Taco Bell salary at 16."
Bryant's fascination with the brand started in childhood, when he would ride his bike to a nearby VW dealership in Charleston, S.C., to check out the vehicles in the showroom and talk to the mechanics. After earning a degree in automotive technology from Aiken Technical College in 2001, he worked for 12 years as a Volkswagen master auto technician.
And the more he worked on VWs, the more he had to own. He often bought trade-in vehicles that needed repairs and fixed them up before selling them to fund more purchases.
Today he has a 1999 Jetta, a 2004 Passat Wagon and a 2017 Jetta. He has four dogs and two kids and is considering an Atlas SUV as his next purchase.
Bryant, now an instructor at Augusta Technical College in Georgia, recently noticed one of his favorite past restoration projects, a red 1967 Karmann Ghia, listed on Facebook Marketplace.
"It was pretty neat to see a car I restored 20 years ago still running around and looking beautiful," he said.