It's October 31 and you know what that means. Whether you're dressing up in an elaborate costume for a party, stealing your kids' candy, or hiding under a blanket waiting to scare unsuspecting trick-or-treaters, odds are good that your Halloween 2023 adventures will involve a car at some point. That's where comes in.

I've owned 34 cars in the last 25 years, most of which cost less than $1,000. A few were less than $500, including the black 1988 Volkswagen Golf GTI 16V you see pictured here. The engine had a small idling issue (it didn't idle), the radio worked on occasion (along with most of the electrics), the shifter was vague (because it was broken) and the hatch would occasionally open on its own (until I fixed the latch with a zip tie). Those quirks made it ... interesting to drive.

1988 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Note the license plate. Even the state of Michigan was put off by this car.

1988 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Did I mention the exposed metal on the left seat bolster that would dig into my side during right turns?

A disturbing lack of metal in the floor, however, made it positively scary behind the wheel. Don't let that interior photo fool you – beneath the carpet was a hole large enough for Fred Flintstone to hit the brakes Bedrock style. The driver seat rocked back every time I rolled on the throttle because the front bolts were fastened to thin air. Only the rear bolts and the carpet kept the seat in the car, and yes, I skated through a Michigan winter with this VW before junking it in the spring.

It never failed to get me to college in those early days, but it was always spooky to drive. I think I'm more scared now pondering everything that could've gone wrong in that rusty hot hatch. Even a small fender bender would've sent me through the windshield, but thankfully, I avoided such calamities despite my using the handbrake (which was fully functional) at every corner.

This leads me to the part where you, reader, are called upon to join the fun. Every person has had a scary experience in a car at some point, and I suspect motoring enthusiasts in particular have some properly spooky moments in mind. Did you lose the brakes on a twisty road or track day? Were you driving a car with more horsepower than the Millennium Falcon in a snowstorm? Or worse, did you stand too close to the shoulder as Mustangs left the car show last month?

Whatever your scary car stories are, now is the perfect time to share them. Jump into the comments with your spooky motoring tales. Regale us with your automotive adventures in the face of evil. Or at the very least, call me out for murdering a MkII GTI 16V instead of saving it.

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