2020 Event Listings | Event Coverage
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The VW Nationals

Story and photography by Lee Noonan

The day started early at 5:30am when I drove out of my driveway on the way to the VW Nationals held in Sydney, only 290kms to go. First down the highway 75kms where I met up with four other Beetles. We had breakfast at McDonalds and turned off the highway to go over a narrow, steep and very winding road that goes over a mountain range, where the temperature dropped suddenly to around 0C. It wasn't long before I was overtaken by the other Beetles, but my Beetle was struggling to get up the steep hills, until I reached the crest of a hill and the engine stopped.

I quickly opened the engine cover and found the inlet manifold from the carburetor to both sides covered in thick white ice, I realised my manifold heater pipe was blocked. There was too much cold air coming into my engine compartment as I had fitted a large external oil cooler above the engine and I couldn't close the top of the engine cover, which was fitted with alloy stand offs. The engine cover was open approx 2 inches at the top and that was a problem. Luckily I had thrown a roll of wide masking tape into the boot, along with spare parts and tools. So Itaped the gap between the engine lid and body and all over the engine vents, allowing air into the engine bay from the sides only.

This allowed me to continue on and to catch up with the other four Beetles that had stopped on the side of the road. For the rest of the journey, my Beetle went like clockwork, and we all arrived at the venue. I had been to the VW Nationals at least ten times before, but this was the first time driving my own Beetle.

The show was up to its usual standard with all the cars being under cover. Although I didn't enter the show 'n shine, I did however park with all the show cars, lol! This year there were many water cooled late model Volkswagens at the show, which I really didn't look at as I was there for the early models with Air cooled engines.

I had taken off all the tape over my engine lid vents as Ientered the show, so I had to retape all the vents again for the return trip. My engine purred like a kitten all the way home. And even over that very cold mountain range, with my heater was working beautifully. After another 290 kms I was home again.

After talking to the other Beetle drivers I drove down with, I found that because of the inlet manifold freezing on the way down I had used twice as much fuel to go down. Nearly a full tank for only 290 kms! On the return trip I only used half a tank of fuel, Now thats better! And just like that the VW Nationals were over for another year.

Chirco's Bugtoberfest XII

Story and photography by Loren R. Knapp

Joe Chirco, a living legend in his own mind, and his trusty sidekick Don Wiggins put on another fantastic V-Dubya car show. The two-day event began Saturday evening, October 20, 2007 with "Joe's world-famous night before BBQ." The food was terrific and free, and fun was had by all.

Chirco's is about an hour's drive from where I live, so I got up at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday to get over there in plenty of time to secure a good spot and help our VW club "The Dry Heat Panzers" (DHP) direct the parking. I thought I would surely be the first car there. However, a bright yellow bug was sitting in the parking lot when I rolled in. It seems the young man drove down from Mesa, Arizona for the BBQ and show and just slept in his car.

The show drew entries from all over the southwest including a guy from Sonora, Mexico in a 1997 Mexican Bug. Entry into the show was free, although everyone was asked to bring a bag of canned goods for the Tucson Food Bank. Dash plaques were given to show entries.

As usual, there were some amazing cars there including a green bug with no engine in the back, but it had a V-8 in the front. Volkswagens in all kinds of condition from the beaters to the big-dollar show cars were proudly displayed. The total number of cars this year was 160, and trophies were awarded in different categories. The system used to ascertain the winners was "People's Choice."

The swap meet area was packed, and people got some great deals. Joe opened the store and offered a 10% discount on items purchased during the show. There was a raffle, food vendors, music and the highlight of the day…..the engine blow, where a VW motor was run full-bore with no oil, until it gave up the ghost. People purchased a chance to win a prize by correctly guessing how long the engine would last.

Now on a personal note…I have entered "The Blues" in quite a few shows, and it has never won any award at any show, as usual I was entered into the "daily driver" category. I had been awake for what seemed like days, and although I was enjoying myself, I did have a few irritating moments during the day. I was sitting in my brand new blue camping chair with a nifty fold-out tray… all set to eat a big, juicy hamburger and enjoy an ice cold coke from the small ice chest I had sitting on the tray. Anyway, to make a long story short…mustard on my shirt…knocked the can of coke off and spilled it in my lap….hamburger now in the dirt…ice chest tipped over in the dirt, too. I cleaned up the mess as best I could, and then went to the bathroom to get the mustard off my shirt. While I was there, I figured I would just get rid of what coke I did manage to consume. I was doing just that when a woman walked in…….just another proud moment. Guess I either didn't lock the door, or the lock was broken. I really think she was more embarrassed than I was.

By the time I got back to the car the engine-blow had started. I noticed that someone had moved a car, which meant that I was no longer "pinned in. So I decided that this would be a good time to make my exit…..before the rush. As I said, I was tired, sunburned, and was still wearing most of my lunch. It seemed like a good plan.

Well, I hadn't been home much longer than thirty minutes when my VW mechanic called and said that I had won "Best Daily Driver - Type 1 - 1968 & Later." I was flabbergasted. Wouldn't you know……. the one year that I leave early "The Blues" wins. I am already looking forward to next year, and hoping that I won't be such a clumsy doofus at Bugtoberfest XIII.

9th Biannual Solvang Vintage Veteranentreffen
Story and Photography by Lois Grace

Every two years, the Golden Gate Chapter of the Vintage Volkswagen Club of America hosts the Solvang Vintage Veteranentreffen, a gathering of pre-1967 Volkswagens from around the country. The meet is unique in that it was envisioned - by Jan Peters, founder of the GGC - as a tribute to the Volkswagen heritage, and modeled on the Veteranentreffen in Bad Camberg, Germany, held every four years. On the weekend of September 22, 23 and 24th, enthusiasts again converged on Solvang, California, for the 9th vintage meet.

As in years past, vintage VW's of all shapes and sizes literally took over the town on Friday afternoon, as their occupants settled into local hotels. Solvang is a small Danish community about an hour north of Santa Barbara, and with some of the most beautiful countryside around it makes for a great vacation spot. The 3-day Volkswagen show is only one of many activities to keep you occupied while in this lovely area.? Wineries and vineyards abound nearby, and there are scenic drives to exercise those vintage VW's.

As in years past, vintage VW's of all shapes and sizes literally took over the town on Friday afternoon, as their occupants settled into local hotels. Solvang is a small Danish community about an hour north of Santa Barbara, and with some of the most beautiful countryside around it makes for a great vacation spot. The 3-day Volkswagen show is only one of many activities to keep you occupied while in this lovely area.? Wineries and vineyards abound nearby, and there are scenic drives to exercise those vintage VW's.

Saturday morning dawned with a bit of fog, and by the time I got up, everyone had left for the show field. My work shift wasn't until later in the morning, so I was able to enjoy breakfast with friends before heading out. This show has changed venues several times over the course of the years, and in my opinion the current location is the best one ever. It is now held on the grassy lawn in front of the church at Mission Santa Ines, right in Solvang. (If you remember the lessons on the California Missions you learned in grade school, you'll recall that Father Serra founded a string of 21 missions along California's coastal area, and Mission Santa Ines was number nineteen, founded in 1804) Since I wasn't showing a car, I was able to walk right from the hotel and into the show. The cars were lined up in their respective classes, and things were well under way by the time I arrived. The sun had come out and it promised to be a glorious day. I immediately noted what I thought was a Dannenhauer and Stauss, and next to it was a really nice Schwimmwagen. The row of Ovals was well-represented, as were the big-window Beetles. We estimated that there were about 40 cars more in attendance than two years ago, and the stream of spectators never seemed to stop coming in the gate. This show is a bit more relaxed overall than our other yearly effort, Kelley Park. For one thing, it?s not as big, but people seem to have more time to relax and socialize and that seems to make for a more enjoyable atmosphere.

The show wound down around 3:00, and the trophies were awarded with the Dannenhauer and Stauss belonging to Dick Christensen (from Prescott, AZ) taking first in its class as well as Best of Show. This car is an amazing piece of work, and must be seen up close to really be appreciated. Everyone pitched in to help take the show apart, and within a couple hours we were all back at the Royal Scandinavian for some swim time in the hotel pool. That party broke up in the late afternoon, and we all headed back to our rooms to get ready for the dinner that night. We spent a very enjoyable few hours at the dinner that night (in one of the Royal Scandinavian's banquet rooms), having some great food and listening to Larry Edson's account of the Ghia Treffen in Germany the year before (to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Karmann Ghia). It was late when we finally got back to our room and fell into bed.

The next morning, we had another great Solvang breakfast (that means PASTRIES!) before joining everyone else on the curb on Alisal Avenue, in front of the hotel. The cars were all lining up for the wine tour that was due to start at 10:30, and it was the perfect photo op - not to mention that you could get up close and personal with just about any of the cars you wanted to see better. We didn't go on the wine tour this year as we needed to get started on the trip home. A few years ago we did do the cruise though, and it usually ends at a local winery for tasting and a winery tour. After seeing the group off, we stopped at a bakery on the way out of town for some "to go" Danish, and hit the highway north for home. The long Solvang weekend is a very fast three days of fun, food and friends and it was over again for another 2 years. We all got home safe and sound looking forward to Solvang #10, in 2008.

Nambucca Heads Volkswagen Spectacular

Story and photography by Lee Noonan

Being the start of sub tropical Australia, Nambucca boasts a most enviable climate. Summer maximum temperatures are usually in the high 20’s and on the rare occasions when it is above 32 degrees C, a cooling sea breeze usually kicks in. Winter nights can be brisk but the days are mild and ocean temperature is around 20 degrees. Realistically it is possible to enjoy the surf on all but the bleakest winter days. Despite the normally perfect weather conditions there had been a week of heavy rain, and many VW fans who had gone to the small township of Nambucca Heads, decided they had had enough rain and went home before the big weekend. But the rest of us Volkswagen fanatics who drove the 600kms+ to Nambucca and found refuge in motels and cabins etc. Come Saturday morning , the main street of Nambucca, was blocked off to 'ordinary' vehicles, at 9.30am the Pacific Highway is briefly closed by the Police as the convoy moves out on its journey to Nambucca Heads. The column of VW's stretches over the full 8 kilometers of highway between Valla Beach and Nambucca Heads.

Upon reaching Nambucca Heads the Volkswagen convoy makes a slow pass down the main street before circling back into town for the static display. Imagine seeing Volkswagens parked seven abreast and bumper to bumper down some 600 metres of Bowra Street in Nambucca Heads! Even with the rain it was encouraging to see that the numbers were still up from the previous event that was held two years ago. Every time that the rain stopped the main street was filled with onlookers and VW enthusiasts inspecting all the vehicles to their heart's content. There were Volkswagens of every description, age and colour, even German military vehicles of World War II vintage and manned by crews in genuine Wermacht uniforms!

At noon, the noise of many air-cooled Volkswagens could be heard again, heading back to Valla Beach for a makeshift swap meet. Once they were under way the heavy rain returned and it poured all night. Next morning, we headed off to Valla Beach for the [real] Swap meet, where all the Volkswagens were again parked, with many that had stayed over from the previous night at the Valla beach resort in cabins. Some of the braver ones had spent the rainy night in tents and Volkswagen camper vans. I really expected that water would be everywhere after all the rainfall like that , but there was not a puddle anywhere in sight. You just can't damped that VW spirit! The swap meet was great, as usual, and many new cars were in attendance. I didn't drive my Beetle, as I thought the 1,200km run was a bit too much with an ailing noisy gearbox, but luckily I found a replacement gearbox from one of the swap meet vendors. If I had known, he could have bought the gearbox to the swap meet for me to purchase because now it looks I'm going to have a ten hour drive to pick it up. The things that you'll do for your Beetle!

Rain, rain, go away... but it didn't!

Story and photography by Rob Horsburgh

Ah.. the first show of the season. Always a much anticipated event. As I watched the forecast a few days before the show, rain was all they were
calling for. Staying positive, I figured anything could happen. On the day of the show, one weather report was calling for rain in the morning and
clearing in the afternoon while another was calling for all day rain. The latter was what we got! Too bad as Kai Dombrowski and the rest of the
Greenbelt VW staff always put out a fine effort for this show and this year was no exception.

As I left home in Ajax, it was gray with a fine mist but as I progressed in a westerly direction, I had to switch the wipers on to high. (About the same speed as slow in my Cavalier) I turned to my son next to me and told him, with as much sincerity that I could muster, that this was just passing and it was going to clear up. He didn't buy it and neither did I.

Despite the endless showers, a number of vans, beetles and even a Ghia was present. A complimentary BBQ was on and the kids were kept occupied with an indoor oval circuit with electric cars. Now that looked like fun! A number of Volks R Us members were in attendance along with some folks from "The_Bug_Pack" bus group... plus others. Staying under cover was the order of the day but there were moments where the rain seemed to let up somewhat and folks circulated in the parking lot to have a better look at the cars join in some VW discussions.

As we got into mid afternoon, it was decided to give out the awards a bit early and the presentations were done in the showroom. The winners
included: Participant's Choice Award: Bob, Fiona & James Weber of Burlington with their 1980 Vanagon, People's Choice Award: Gerhard Weber and his 1978 7-Seater van and the President's Choice Award went to member Billie McDougall of West Hill with his 1998 Custom New Beetle.

It was pointed out to me by one of the organizers (Michelle) that this was the first year in 6 that showers had taken place for this show. Not a bad
average but one I bet know one wants repeated. That said, it was nice to get out and give the beetle a run and share in some VW talk at a well
organized, fun event... thanks to the Greenbelt VW staff and management.

4th Annual Bugs 'N' Motion Cruise

Story and photography by Wayne Dean

We started out from Mississauga Ontario at 11:30 AM on Sunday morning with Andrew and Daniel. They were in their 1975 Transporter and we were in our 1975 Super Beetle. The meeting place for the cruise was the Tim Horton's donut shop at the Casablanca exit on the QEW towards Niagara Falls Ontario. When we arrived there we found Ivan (the organizer of the event) and four or five other VWs waiting to get started. As the departure time of 1 o'clock grew closer a few more air-cooled vehicles appeared. We left shortly after 1 PM with only ten vehicles in total. That included, two Buses, a dune buggy and seven Beetles. The route that Ivan had mapped out this year took us through the scenic Niagara region. We passed beautiful farm lands and traveled thorough a few small towns along the way. At one point we stopped in a trendy little town and my wife and I ducked into a local winery for a quick wine tasting. Only a sip of local red wine of course, since I was driving. The ten vehicles stuck together and only got separated by traffic or a stop light a couple of times. We passed one Beetle sitting in a farmers field, passed an older gentleman in one that was oblivious to all the others going by him and saw another in the town of Niagara on the Lake. While passing through that town, everyone literally stopped in their tracks to wave and photograph the beautiful Volkswagens as we drove down the main street.

We continued on towards Niagara Falls with our conga-line of brightly coloured VWs. Ivan took the cruise along a winding road that lead us through a flower conservatory (where cars are not allowed), and the visitors there where totally surprised. We found out later that Ivan knew the person ran the garden and had okayed the parade in advance. At the end of the cruise we stopped at a local restaurant for dinner and to talk about the cruise. Plans were made for next year and Ivan held a draw for a couple of door prizes that were supplied by John's Bug Shop. Ivan did a great job once again with the cruise and promises to get the number of attendee's way up for next years event.

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