What Kind of Car did I Buy?

My wife’s VW blew up so she got a new used car. She will not tell me what she got. She wants to surprise me at the airport with it. I have clues:

1.) She wanted a 4x4 suitable for driving on the beach.
2.) She needs a car low enough for her to put the kayaks on herself.
3.) It is white.
4.) It has a back-up camera, but the display is in the corner of the rear-view mirror.

If she lets slip with more I will let you know.

What sort of 2014-2016 car has such a backup display?

It’s a Subaru.

No. It’s gotta be a Maybach.


Since she bought a used vehicle, it sounds like an after-market item. I couldn’t find in a fast search where rear-view mirrors with embedded backup camera displays as a normal item.

Previously, she dissed the Subaru as she had a hard time with the kayaks. It was not too tall, the tumbledown was too great.

GM seems to make an OEM rear mirror replacement.


The 2012 (at least) Toyota Rav 4 has such a mirror.

Kias had that camera arrangement about 5 years ago unless you bought the premium sound package.


Thank you.

So, what is it?

What the heck does “tumbledown” mean? I’ve never heard that phrase in relation to a vehicle.

I would assume it meant the kayak would tumbledown when she tried to remove it.

Though Paul said she diss’ed the 'roo I still say it’s a Subaru. No reason for it not to be.

I think they meant “tumblehome”, which is a measure of how curved a roof is. A car with a lot of tumblehome has less shoulder room then hip room and does not have a very wide, flat top surface due to it.

But still, what the heck did she buy?


Perhaps she had previously been looking at the Subaru Forester and has now bought the Subaru Outback (which has the same AWD and ground clearance as the Forester and the same ground clearance as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but has a lower roof height than the Forester and Grand Cherokee).

If she has driveway space, she should consider getting a light trailer with real hubs rather than wee little toy things. The advantages are (1) no lifting past her hips, (2) better gas mileage when driving without kayak racks on the roof when the kayak is not being transported, and (3) less weight per tire in the sand so less likelihood of getting stuck (and if she does not already do so, she should air-down the tires before driving on soft sand to distribute the vehicle weight over greater surface area. Parking is the big disadvantage for trailering.

The real question should be, How Bad was the argument at Paul’s house when he got home?

I’m interested in the “Blew Up” portion of the VW… Details?

While we’re waiting, here’s a brief “blew up” interlude brought to you by the fine people of VW.

In the late 80s I bought a '69 VW microbus that was being used as a garbage shed. Not surprisingly, fifteen minutes later it blew up (as in Kabloomski! back end lifting, flames, smoke, shovels full of sand, general mayhem etc.). A few years later a kid bought it from me for what I had paid for it, saying he wanted to fix it (engine swaps are easy on them – I just had never got around to it) and drive from Canada to Mexico in it.

I own a 74 Super Beetle. When one of its previous owners had it, the engine caught fire. I don’t think it actually went kablooie, but who knows. All I know is the guy described it as “caught fire” and it’s not the original engine in there now and the wiring for the rear lights and blinkers was all kinds of futzed up when I got the car.

I know a Beetle engine is basically four bolts and don’t forget to disconnect the fuel line and throttle linkage and out it comes. I think the VW Bus is similar. Old VWs were basically an exercise in minimalist engineering. Basically, if it wasn’t 100 percent necessary to make the thing go down the road, the VW didn’t have it. That whole design philosophy is long gone.

I’ve seen a few engines actually go kablooie over the years, but they were on a race track or drag strip at the time.

I saw a car go kablooie once, too. My cousin and I were driving back from a college class we were taking over the summer (early 1980s) and the car in front of us suddenly swerved and ran off of the road. We pulled over to see if they needed to help and a bunch of guys jumped out of the car and said something was smoking inside under the dash. The car went from “hmm, wonder where that bit of smoke is coming from” to “holy shit the thing’s completely engulfed in flames!” in a surprisingly short amount of time. Eventually the gas tank went off. That was a big kablooie. The whole car was toast and had been completely burning for some time by then, though. It wasn’t like Hollywood where the whole thing goes up as soon as you crash.

Hopefully Paul’s wife’s VW didn’t have that kind of kablooie.

FWIW, nobody got hurt in any of the engine fires or explosions that I’ve personally seen. The vehicles didn’t necessarily fare as well, though.

“Tumbledown,” on a wooden sailing ship is the bow of the hull above the water. On a ship with a great deal of tumbledown, you can look down from the railing and not see where the hull meets the water. What I was trying to say was the when she had the kayak over her head she had to touch her belly to the side of the car and bend forward at the waist to get the thing up on the rack.

She got a 2015 (?) white Toyota FJ jeep-like thing. She likes it, so I am fine with it.

ahh. got it… Tumblehome is the term I am used to.