Car Show Classics: The 2012 Bi-State VW Club Show – Hope You Like Beetles And Buses…

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This is long overdue. When I attended this show last August, I was very happy with my finds and planned on running a post within a week or so. I even went so far as to email Ed Stembridge a couple of “preview” photos. Well, things don’t always go the way we want them to, but better late than never. So with no further ado, let’s go check out some rear-engined CCs…

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First up is this very early 1953 Type 2 pickup, quite likely the rarest VW at the 2012 show.

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The engine looks a little lost in there, like it’s hiding. Check out the plumbing for the air cleaner–they really had to improvise to get it to fit.

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Early Buses and Pickups were very much a utility vehicle, with simple controls and nothing unnecessary. This instrument panel makes a Bay Window IP look positively luxurious!

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All Type 2 pickups–right through the end-of-the-line Vanagons–had extra-handy drop-down sides, meaning you could turn your truck into a flatbed in nothing flat (pun intended).

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Inside, wooden strips were included to ease the loading of particularly large boxes and/or cargo.

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I really liked this one–maybe you can tell?–but let’s move on to other cars…

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This ’55 oval-window gunmetal-gray Beetle was lovely, with its wide whites and cool chrome horn grilles. I like how it is bookended by the ’70s Beetle in the background: “Before” and “After.” Or would the non-New 2013 Beetle be “After?”

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Gotta love the Wolfsburg crest on this vintage VW. Interesting fact: the very last of the Mexican Beetles in 2003, offered in light blue or beige, had the Wolfsburg crest added, just like on this one.

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The interior was just as lovely. Dig the cool bamboo accessory shelf!

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Here’s the best angle: that oval window, with the “W” stamped into the engine lid. Also note the heart-shaped lights on top of the regular taillamps. These were added to make the running/brake lights more visible to other motorists. They are still a far cry from modern cars, which light up like Clark Griswold’s house whenever you hit the brake.

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Here’s a really nice two-tone Karmann convertible from 1963. Nice colors!

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Too sedate, you say? How about this chrome-yellow 1967 version, complete with chrome Fuchs wheels?

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This one has nicely-bolstered late-model bucket seats and a classic “banjo” steering wheel. I normally prefer stock cars to custom ones but this one was very appealing to me.

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This was just a stunning 1962 Beetle, in lovely Gulf Blue. Could this be what Ed has in mind for his ’63s restoration? I seem to recall him telling me this was his color choice when we had the CC meetup in Iowa City…

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A most excellent choice. Blue is my second favorite color after green, and this shade is a perfect match to an early ’60s Bug. This one appears to have the European bumpers and taillights, too.

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This was a very original 1966 Beetle, with lots of accessories, factory and otherwise. Just check out that “swamp cooler”, wheel-mounted toolkit and roof rack!

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This one has a most interesting story too, being picked up by its original owner in Germany, driven in Athens for several years, and then spending thirty-odd years in Colorado before being purchased by its current caretaker.

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The primer peeking through the paint and many, many travel stickers on its windows are badges of honor. This car has earned its stripes!

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I always liked the white interiors frequently seen in Fifties and Sixties Beetles; they were so bright and cheerful. The mostly black and dark brown hues seen in the later Seventies versions were not near as cool.

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This car has quite a history, and I have to thank the unseen owner for writing about it. After all, the stories behind our favorite Curbside Classics can be just as interesting as the cars themselves. That’s what we’re all here for, folks!

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I liked the orange and white colors on this 1965 Kombi. The bumpers and wheel covers matched, too. This must be a later “Widow’s Peak” Type 2, as it has the flat turn signals, instead of the earlier beehive units.

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Being that this show was held in August, I was a bit disappointed that there weren’t any vendors selling Creamsicles. Darn.

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And there were not just VWs at the show, there were a couple of VW-adjacent models, like my dad’s ’60 356B Roadster.

The writeup on Dad’s “Porsh” is long overdue–he has had it since 1988, and it was a total basket case when he bought it–serious Swiss cheese, folks–but here is its first CC appearance.

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Dad’s 356 was not the only one on site either, as evidenced by this nice ’63 B coupe.

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This one is a T6, with the wider front trunk opening and “twin grille” engine lid. The original 1960-61 T5 B had a smaller trunk lid and single grille.

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This was the penultimate development of the 356, with only the 356C and its four-wheel disc brakes to impress enthusiasts come 1964.

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I have always loved the looks of the 356. Yes, yes, I know, the 911 has been a great car for Porsche, but they’re everywhere–and just try finding one in unmodified form.

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Here’s that lovely engine. These things love to run, and a 356 is a great way to drive a (relatively) slow car fast. The top non-Carrera 356 during this time was the 95-horse SC. The less-powerful S engine, as seen here, had 75 ponies available.


There are tons of 1972, 1976 and 1980 911Ts, SCs and Es turned into “tribute” (I hate that word!) 930s, Slantnoses and 964 Turbos. Me, I’d much rather have a 356. A C in Irish Green would be especially lovely! There’s just that slight issue of my inability to drive a stick…

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And here’s something for you campers: a 1966 Westy, judging from the license plate. Those skylights in the pop-top are especially cool.

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Step right in sir, the waiter will be here shortly! These Westfalias are always so homey inside, with their wood cabinets and curtains. The checkered tablecloth is the perfect touch.

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Here’s the kitchen. Whether you want a pot of coffee or grill some burgers (brats would be more appropriate in this case), the VW can take care of that, whether you’re in the Target parking lot or the middle of the Cascades.

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And when you’ve had enough to eat and drink, just hop up into your berth and take a little siesta. It would help if you didn’t toss and turn in your sleep though. What a way to wake up: Bonk! Good morning to you too!

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Newer Westfalias were on hand as well, including this early ’80s variant. This 1984 has the lower grille, indicating it is a Wasserboxer, not an air-cooled unit.

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The cabin is not quite as cabin-ey as the earlier ’66 model, but still looks quite livable. Very nice.

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I was sure that this Westy was a 1986 or newer, with its “aero” wheel covers and halogen headlights. It was listed as an ’84 though, so it has apparently gotten some exterior upgrades.

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The last year you could get a Westfalia Vanagon in the U.S. was in 1991, though sales were so sluggish that you likely could have found an untitled one well into 1992. Slow-selling then, beloved by VW folks today.

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A Thing also made an appearance, looking pretty good in orange with wider tires and chrome wheels. This one is a 1974.

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Here’s the usual Vee Dub 1.6L four-cylinder, looking quite fresh indeed. Someone really loves this Thing.

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Here is its remarkably Spartan interior. So, which interior is more basic, this one or the Type 2 pickup at the top of this post?

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At the opposite end of the VW prestige scale was this Karmann-Ghia, customized with Fuchs wheels and a slight rake. You might think it’s pre-’68 as it has the “towel bar” overriders, but it is in fact a ’71. Many VW owners like to change their cars to the earlier bumpers, as the ’71-up “Europa” bumpers are a bit plain.

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The interior looked good in red vinyl. It does need some woodgrain contact paper for the glove box door, though.

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As you can see in this shot, wheels were not the least of the modifications to this car. The engine upgrades appear to include dual Webers, and that exhaust pipe and muffler means business.

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And I had to get some shots of that oh-so-’80s triple-white Rabbit convertible. This 1988 is a later model, which had added ground effects and grille-mounted fog lamps.

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Inside, it is really, really white. Perfect for top-down driving. No fear of searing your arms and legs on the seats and armrests, which is a very real concern in a convertible with a black interior.

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This one was like new. I still see these occasionally on the road, but none of them were as clean as this one. A cool artifact from an era I remember well as a kid.

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Lastly, I want to share this far-out Beetle jalopy. Very different, eh? It looks like something you’d see at Bonneville, and I don’t mean Bonneville Brougham. The Halibrand wheels look great. According to the info, it started out as a ’62 Beetle.

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Inside, it looks more like a ’30s American street rod, with lots of custom work. Check out the cut glass doorknob shift knob!

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Another remarkable thing about this car is how low it is. The top of the door came only slightly above my knee, as I recall. I do like how the owner kept the Wolfsburg crest on the trunk lid.

Well, that’s it. This show was nine months ago, but hopefully you’ll agree it was worth the wait! And special thanks to the Bi-State VW Club for putting on such a nice show.