Sunday, March 1, 2009

Guest Spotlight: "The Kingsbury Notchback".

Fellow Coloradoan Rob Kingsbury owns an outstanding 1964 Volkswagen Type 3 Notchback sedan. Those of you who have seen this car up close and personal will recognize this for the obvious understatement it is. Aside from the aberration at the '08 Volkswagen Classic, Rob's car has taken home the Gold in every show he's entered--and it's certainly been very well deserved. Not only was Rob's project based on a nice original car, but he's also shown amazing restraint and good taste in outfitting the finished vehicle in what I consider an incredibly well rounded selection of accessories, which range from official and unofficial VW NOS to aftermarket and unique custom components.

Rob's Notchback is also very well documented. Between the online pictorial information on the car's build-out on the Motorworks Restorations web site, and the details available through the 1500 Club website, along with the ongoing info shared on the Samba Type 3 Forum, countless mentions on blogs worldwide, and the not one--but TWO magazine articles devoted to the car in Hot VWs and Volksworld--with a possible THIRD in the works, what more could I possibly add on the subject? Not all that much, I'm afraid. What follows is a bit of a tribute to a wonderful car and
a nod to a great guy, who with the help of his family and friends realized his visions of a dream car in a relatively short period of time.

I no longer remember whose car first arrived at Motorworks Restorations, but the picture to the right shows both our cars in a pre-restoration state. My original Type 34 restoration candidate is pictured here and never actually made it into restoration. My wife nicknamed that Type 34 'Fausto', after it ran over her left leg (a whole other story). After that unfortunate event, I figure the car was aptly named because it was lucky she didn't take the Sawzall or sledgehammer to it right on the spot. My wife did have her way in the end, though, as Fausto was later cut up to provide much needed body panels for the project I did eventually go with, the Nautilus.

Nevertheless, at the time this picture was taken, I was still dedicated to bringing that poor car back to life. I remember feeling that Rob's car was too nice an original car to be heading off for media blasting, but it did come back needing some rust repair in the front sunroof drain and hinge pillar areas, so his decision was definitely a good one for the car. I didn't yet know Rob, but somewhere in there I remember thinking that this guy was fundamentally approaching his restoration right, guns blazing, wallet wide open, screaming at the sun. And this sort of insanity served as the catalyst for my finding a better Type 34 to restore, and the spending frenzy that followed. While Rob's car was in progress, and as my many visits to Motorworks mounted up, I also remember committing to taking my own project in a similar direction. Without realizing it, Rob set the bar high and I'm still not sure my car will ever truly measure up.

Any visit to Motorworks Restorations usually affords me the opportunity to heckle Jeremy about some point of authenticity surrounding whatever project he's currently in the midst of. Most of the time it's just good natured harassment or over-dramatized BS, however when I saw Rob's chassis restoration I felt compelled to point out the things I liked and occasionally the problems I saw, and with all sincerity. Even with parts spread across the shop, it was quite evident that this was a special car. I had no problem with donating rear brake parts--taken from Fausto--to keep Rob's project rolling during a critical point in the build process. Jeremy was definitely heading in the right direction with the restoration, putting in some very high quality detail oriented work, once again confirming my decision to go with Motorworks Restorations for my own car's restoration.

Now that the car's been completed, it's the details in the passenger cabin that matter. In looking over the picture at left, it's evident that some very well considered creature comforts are in place. I've ridden as passenger in this car and feel that the ride quality is the best I've ever experienced in an air cooled Volkswagen.

The tachometer, oil pressure and temperature gauges give you the data you need to ensure the car's running within parameters. The parcel tray is the perfect place to stash maps, paperwork and other stuff. Though Rob didn't yet have it, ISPWest later sold him a tunnel mounted drink holder. This sort of storage arrangement is comparable to the storage available on most modern vehicles. The radio and horn button clock both look great and work great.

The picture to the right was taken last summer through the Notch's open sunroof while cruising through the 'Garden of the Gods' park just outside of Colorado Springs. Rob had Pedro Sainz build a special roof rack that only runs about two-thirds the length of the roof to allow full view out the sunroof, which is a really nice touch. We had a nearly unobstructed view, all the way around....and yeah--the roof rack's fully chromed, too.

And how about those roof rack locks? Very cool, and I think they're still available through ISPWest.

Our trip through the Garden of the Gods was a cruise that served as the precursor to the 'Buses at the Brewery' event, which was held later that day at the Bristol Brewery in Colorado Springs. Rob's Notchback fit right in with the Buses and smattering of other VW vehicle types and drew a ton of comments throughout the day. I've never enjoyed talking about someone else's car with complete strangers so much.

The event was 'Buses centric', however we were welcome to join along for the cruise. These pictures were taken along the way, with me riding shotgun in the Notch. Being in the company of Buses at both this event and the VWs on the Green show earlier in the season gave me a new appreciation for the Volkswagen Type 2. Who knows? I now like them so well that there might even be a Bus in my future. Two of my favorites from the cruise are pictured, below. The blue one pulled so well over the hills that it inspired me to consider a 6 cylinder conversion for my own Bus, when the time comes.

I'm really looking forward to this next show season. While I probably won't have my car done in '09, it's events like 'Buses at the Brewery' that help keep me motivated--and are just a heck of a lot of fun. Hanging out with like minded VW people and checking out the cars is really where it's at for me.

My closing thoughts on Rob's car...are really not closing thoughts, at all. I don't think the restoration process is ever really complete for any car. There's always the possibility of improving upon some component or body part by keeping a watchful eye on ebay or der Samba. Cars are meant to be driven and that wear and tear takes its toll, no matter how many NOS parts are used during the restoration process. Entropy intervenes to break down even the most stalwart trailer queen--which, by the way, Rob's car is not.

What I feel that Rob and his car truly represent are some of the best aspects of our hobby. At the shows, he's there to talk about the car and share the knowledge. That knowledge is clearly evident in the final results. I've been to enough shows with this car to note with no small amount of interest that this particular car has a certain something that causes people to react more openly. People definitely pause longer, relate to it on some visceral level, and then often tell stories of cars they've known in times past. I've seen this phenomenon with my Ghias, but not to the same degree I saw with Rob's car. Some cars strike a chord more, and this is one of them. But it's definitely no accident that Rob's Type 3 legacy has received so much positive attention.

1 comment:

Alexander said...

A good, fun and very interesting blog