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Editor's note: This is part of a series at KSL.com featuring some of Utah's coolest cars. If you own a customized vehicle — from sports cars to semitrucks — email email@example.com with a photo of the vehicle and a brief description for consideration.AMERICAN FORK — It probably started when Jeff Sermon was serving an LDS mission in Germany. He loved the German people, visited car factories and met with the workers. He bought a lug nut at the Porsche factory, figuring that was the most Porsche he’d ever be able to afford.
Those early German impressions stuck, and Sermon now owns five Volkswagens: a 1975 bus, a 1961 Dune Buggy, a 1964 Beetle, a 1973 Super Beetle and a 1973 Thing. Most of the cars have impressive back stories.
For instance, Sermon told a story about one of the cars involving Chick Iverson and John Wayne. Iverson was a VW dealer in Orange County where Wayne lived. The two were friends, and Wayne bought cars from Iverson. When The Duke came out with his LP called "America: Why I Love Her," Iverson had his dealership body shop paint stars and stripes on a white VW Thing for the actor. The two took the minimalist convertible to Palm Springs but did not enjoy the ride. The vehicle stayed at the dealership, then went into storage. Sermon saw it on eBay about five years ago and nabbed it from California, rust-free.
The Thing is taken out and driven for parades and car shows now.
Sermon bought the 1964 Beetle because it was the same year and model he had ridden in as a kid with five siblings. He said he used to ride with a brother in the space between the back seat and the window.
The Super Beetle was built in Wolfsburg in January 1973— the same place and month Sermon arrived for his LDS mission.
For daily driving, Sermon has other cars to choose from: Audi TT, Mercedes SLK, a Porsche Cayman for which he has his son to thank, Saturn Sky Redline, Toyota MR2 Spyder and a 1990 Mazda Miata.
All are two-seat sports cars, which he said he loves driving. Sermon said he loves German engineering and loves driving “everybody’s attempt” at the affordable, two-seat sports car.
Brian Champagne has reported on cars for more than nine years. He holds a master's degree in communications from the University of the Pacific and teaches at Utah State University. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.