Sunday, June 21, 2009

2009 Volkswagen Classic Weekend

If you missed this year's Classic, please do try to make it next year, ok? Particularly if you own a Type 3 VW. Though car counts vary, I think we totalled fewer than 50 Type 3s. Which is kind of sad, but understandable. Folks line up to bring the Busses, Ghias and Bugs back to life, while the Type 3s can be very hard to show the love for, let alone restore. And if you own a Type 3's getting to the point where you really need to get a very complete car to start with. Or, go custom. We saw both paths followed at this year's Classic.

Pictured here is Bill T. trying to leave WCCR with his entire family...and someone isn't cooperating. Bill's car is a classic example of a Type 34 that has gone a custom route. It's not been done so far out that it can't be returned to stock and I really like that. Nevermind that it's a '65 and Anthracite is no longer a color option for that year. This car is little about authenticity. It's really all about speed and safety. Stops nearly and fast as is ramps up. 2.6 liter EFI Type 4 power. Berg 5 speed. BIG meats in the rear, line lock and a water system to help things hook up on launch. Bill took me for a ride in this car and we were up and over 100Mph in quite a damn hurry. I had a big, stupid smile on my face because I know that Type 34s can kick some serious ass when set up correctly, as this car is. Oh...yeah...I guess they can also haul a small family around, too.

As nice as Bill's car is, there were some minor issues that one would expect to find on a car built by a shop with no previous Type 34 body working experience. Beneath those beautiful that breathtaking curves...digressing for a moment, I have to say that the bodywork on this car is REALLY nice. Maybe even sets a new standard for Type 34s. In fact, I went back to my car yesterday and gave it a serious and critical look. In comparison with Bill's car, I found it lacking. And while my car turned out very nice, Bill's car is clearly superior. However, his Type 34 does hide one critical but resolveable flaw: the rear decklid pushbutton doesn't work reliably. And that's just one little detail that MUST work right on our cars. It might take a little re-work of the pushbutton carrier to re-align it, which is really annoying now that the car is in final paint. But it's easier to fix than trying to get the kid into the car when you're attempting to make a swift and graceful exit from WCCR to get a decent spot at Nick's Burgers...come to think of it, did he ever actually make it to Nick's? Oh, yeah. There's plenty of videographic evidence that more than suggests he made it to Nick's. And perhaps that he also left quite a wake it his departure!!! Dude! Get a fully chromed Pedro Type 34 roof rack on that thing, will ya?!? Makes me smile to think about the whistling that rack would do at 100mph. Assuming one could even hear the whistling over the roar of that engine!

Ok, so Bill's car is fun, but's it's not really where I'm at with the hobby...and I have to add the standard disclaimer at this time. I joined the 1500 Club recently and think I've found a group of like-minded folks to hang with. This club's goal is to preserve as much as possible the early original examples of the 1500 Type 3. If restoration is required, as was the case with my car, their focus is to guide the would-be restorer towards the light. The focus is on period correct authenticity, whenever possible. I like this way of thinking, but also recognize that the world is a big enough place for land rockets like Bill's.

So in the interests of balance, I now present a car from the other end of the spectrum. Bob 'Gizmo' Walton's '64 Pacific Blue Type 343 is an important find for the Type 34 community because it represents a very original and unrestored car. If you are looking for details on how things were originally done, Bob's car is a great place to visit because in large part, it's a time capsule. der Samba contains a whole discussion thread on this car, so I won't dwell overlong on its humble garage-find origins. Unquestionably, one of the best things Bob did was enlist the talents of Jack Fisher to rebuild the 1500S engine and drum brakes, and he even managed to bring back a decent luster to the car's painted surfaces.

Most of the external chrome was redone on this car just in time for the its debut at the Classic. Rare Type 3 trim rings and Coker narrow white walls really play on the car's original and best features. Top it off with one of Pedro's Type 34 roof racks, and you end up with a winning example of the breed. Hey--even Scott Taylor liked this car, and who would have guessed he'd enjoy driving a Pacific Blue car so much?

I rode shotgun in this car from the ISP West BBQ back to the Crowne Plaza host hotel. All I could do was look around and take in all the originality, and hope that my own car takes on even a fraction of the authenticity contained within this car. Cool ride!

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