Saturday, 22 August 2015

Ace Cafe, London monthly VW night.

For this weeks blog review I ventured into North West London to visit the world famous Ace Cafe, as on the 3rd Tuesday of each month they hold an air-cooled & T4/T5 night. The former transport cafe located in Stonebridge, in North West London used to be a bikers cafe back in the 1960's. Today the cafe "welcomes all who share our passion, based upon the traditions of motorcycles, cars and rock n' roll"  Virtually every night at the Ace there is something going on, whether it's bikes / hot rods & customs / Harley's / Volkswagen's or just one of the numerous cool rock and roll bands they have playing there's bound to be something for everyone. I haven't been to the Ace for the air cooled night for 4 months so I thought I'd drive the 40 miles into town to see what was new.
To see all my other blog entries, go to ‘My Blog Archive’ to the left of this page. Simply click on an arrow for a particular year, then click on an arrow for a particular month, this will then give you a drop down menu for all the blog entries for that month.


Looking across the Ace Cafe car park from
the entrance door to the cafe. The quality
Volkswagen's are starting to arrive, but it's still
quite early in the evening.

This lovely looking 1969 pop top early bay
looked great parked up in the summer
evening sunshine.

Another pop top early bay but this time it's a
white over bright yellow 1971 bus. The yellow
really glowed in the evening sunshine.

Sarah and Gareth were at the Ace Cafe ( I
assume they were as I didn't actually see them)
in their gorgeous 1967 Ivory over Bahama 
Blue split screen. Sarah and Gareth are 
both members of the Herts VW Club. I have
just seen a facebook post from Sarah who
says that their bus 'Tigi' has just taken them
on a 1100 mile trip around France, and never
the bus missed a beat.

Looking at the photo's from the Ace Cafe air-
cooled meet I have noticed that all the bay
window buses were all pop top versions. That's
unusual as normally there are at least a couple 
of tin top bays there. Anyway this white over 
bright green 1972 late bay looked great parked
up. I do like the clear indicator lenses (as
opposed to the original amber ones), on both
late and early bays as I think it gives the
front end a cleaner fresher look.

This gorgeous silver over pastel yellow 1968
split screen looked awesome. It was flawless
in every detail and looked great parked up.

Another pop top bay, this time it's a white over
light blue 1977 late bay. Again it has the clear
front indicator lenses which helps make this
nice bus stand out. This cool bus belongs to
Mark, another member of The Wolfsburg Weed
Huugers VW Club, based in Penn St.

This T25 crew cab pick up is a regular at the
air-cooled night at the Ace, I have seen this
on many occasions and it still looks as good
now as it did the first time I saw it.

I haven't seen this LT35 at the Ace before, OK
it looked a bit RAT but did look like a nice solid
bus to cruise around in and something different

from the normal buses.

This gorgeous cream over peach 21 window
1968 split screen looked fantastic in the summer
sunshine.

This really was a nice looking bus. It was riding
at stock height which I think suits not only split
screens but also bay's.

A good variety of buses is always guaranteed
at the air-cooled T4 / T5 monthly meet on the
3rd Tuesday of each month at the Ace Cafe.

This 1987 beige T25 caught my eye as it looked
like a nice straight clean bus, I do like the T25
and could easily have one.

Moving onto the other side of the car park is 
where the Beetle's were lined up. This bright red 
1973 model looked great with it's chrome head-
light peaks. Apart from this addition this bug 
looked pretty much original.

Mark and Claire came along in their 1972
bright purple beetle. I think this was the first
run out for the bug after recently going some
minor repairs. It's always nice to catch up with
Mark and Claire who are both members of the
Wolfsburg Weed Huggers VW Club.

This stunning Dove Blue (?) early beetle had
an almost perfect paint job over incredibly
straight body panels. It goes to show you don't
need to spend out on flashy wheels etc to have
a very desirable car or bus.

Another regular at the Ace is this Union Jack
painted beach buggy. This groovy buggy
reminds me of 'Austin Powers, International
man of mystery'. I bet this is such fun to drive
around in, but if you don't like your vehicle's
looking so bright and colourful then how about...

... this 1972 rust covered beetle? The red
painted wheels with the white wall tyres (along
with the rust covered body!) help to set this 
car apart from the other bug's. I did like the twin
 yellow spot lights mounted to the retro style 
roof rack.

 This red 1969 Beetle looked like a straight and
honest car. It didn't have a flashy paint job or
bright shiny chrome wheels but it still looked
great parked up outside the Ace.

This gorgeous Porsche 356 speedster was
parked up and looked awesome. I'm not sure
if this was an original 356 or not, but it didn't
really matter because it so nice.

The 356 has a gorgeous body shape whether
it is coupe or convertible and the light grey
colour choice on this one accentuates the
flowing body lines.

A perfect reflection in the 356's hubcap.

You can normally tell if a 356 is an original or
not by the shape of the transmission tunnel, it'll
be either squarish or rounded. I think (if my
memory serves me well) that if it's rounded it
may be a beetle chassis, and if it's more
squarish it's probably an original 356
floor pan. It's hard to see from this photo which
one this is.

This lovely 1970's white Beetle looked great
with it's bumpers removed and replaced with
the nerf bars. The aftermarket wheels suited
the look of this bug, as did the red vinyl
interior.

This lowered blue Beetle looked great with it's
white painted steel wheels. This stock looking
bug was a really nice looking Bug.

This race inspired Beetle belongs to a mate of
mine, Jonny who is a member of the Wolfsburg
Weed Huugers VW Club. I asked him for some
details of his car, and in his own words Jonny
told me "It's a 2165cc nitrous motor, with a roll
cage, it has carbon fibre 'Autometer' gauges
with a custom built bug tech race shifter and has
a fully custom hand built interior".
Jonny went on to say " It had an aluminium fuel
tank with custom mounts and of course it's my
daily driver!" I bet driving to work has never
been so enjoyable.
I'm sure I saw this cool looking 1970 Beetle
at the 'Just Kampers' open day back in June
this year. It has some neat touches such as the
Porsche 365 bonnet straps and the front side 
lights.

The deck lid looks seriously cool with the 356
air vent and leather straps. This really is one
cool cabriolet.

This stunning dark blue 1969 / 1970 Karmann
Ghia looked immaculate. The dark flawless 
paint looks striking against  the chrome trim
 and bumpers.

This 1970 light blue Beetle looked great with
the chrome head light peaks and the mesh 
windscreen visor. 

Another cabriolet Beetle, this time a stunning
gloss black 1972 model. This was another car
that looked totally original. Maybe going back
to stock is the way forward when owning a
Volkswagen..?

Another regular at the Ace Cafe is this lovely
1964 mid grey beetle. This stock looking bug
(apart from the banded steel wheels) always 
looks immaculate.

This gorgeous olive green T3 fastback was
totally immaculate. The body was so straight
and covered in a flawless coat of paint.

The type 3 fastback's were produced from
1965 - 1973. The painted steel wheels look
like a perfect choice to compliment the car.

Another mate of mine Tom came along a bit
later in the evening in his early 1960's Beetle.
 This bug is a bit RAT look with the odd scuff
here and there, but it's still a lovely old bug.

Tom's Porsche 356 nipple style hub caps make
all the difference to the appearance of Tom's
daily driver.

This awesome looking 1967 beach buggy in
bright yellow looked great parked up. The colour
choice suits this car perfectly as do the wheels.

I did like the vertical exhausts and the clear
lenses on the tear drop tail lights.

The interior, for a beach buggy is surprisingly
very well equipped. This buggy had a dashboard
full of dials, lush looking yellow vinyl high back
seats and even carpet!


So that was a brief review of the monthly air-
cooled T4 / T5 night at the world famous Ace
Cafe, London. Overall a very enjoyable evening
with plenty of cool looking Volkswagen's both 
air-cooled and water cooled. The Ace Cafe
is a good venue with hot / cold refreshments
available within the 1950's rockers cafe.


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Route 67, VW Charity Run 2015

This weeks blog is slightly different from the normal Volkswagen / Classic Car or Hot Rod show reviews that I normally post. This weeks blog is all about the Route 67 VW Charity Run, that I took part in that went from John O' Groats, (which is the furthest Northern point in the U.K.) to Lands End, (the country's most South Westerly point) a journey of 1008 miles. (not including getting to the start point or getting back from the finish). The whole event was the idea of Paul Aspin and was aimed at raising money for the homeless charity 'Crisis'. Paul posted his idea on facebook and before very long a facebook page had been created, sponsor forms, t-shirts and stickers had also been produced and all monies raised went directly to the charity. It what seemed like only a few weeks the route had been planned and over 800 members had joined the facebook page: 
https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/vwroute67/  Before long Paul had several people helping out with the organising and in no time at all there was also a Route67 website produced: http://vwroute67.co.uk/  The journey started on Monday 20th July from John O' Groats, in Scotland and included 5 campsite stop overs on the 6 day convoy. Talking to Paul he said that 18 vehicles took part in the whole journey from start to finish, including a split screen panel van that lost lost 4th gear shortly after starting the event, but still carried on and completed the journey to Lands End with only 3 forward gears! and with another 60 or so buses joining along the way. Due to work and family commitments and a minor mechanical problem on the bus, meant I couldn't make it to John O' Groats for the start so a few friends and I joined the convoy around Bristol, (about two thirds of the way down) but even joining the convoy there it still meant I clocked up just over 650 miles. Some of the participants who did the whole trip posted of the Route67 facebook page that they had in total covered 1500 / 2000 miles, and some even more than that. The event has so far raised just over £6000 ($9361) for the Crisis charity, but if you can help in any way by donating whatever you can afford, you can do so via the Route67 webpage:  http://vwroute67.co.uk/
To see all my other blog entries, go to ‘My Blog Archive’ to the left of this page. Simply click on an arrow for a particular year, then click on an arrow for a particular month, this will then give you a drop down menu for all the blog entries for that month.

You can watch a short video made up from various participants photos group taken during the trip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L34oYqgnT6Y
(video courtesy of   'Another Rubbish Vlog')


This is not the actual route the convoy
took, but just an illustration to show my
many overseas readers the true
scale of this epic journey.

This was dawn at John O' Groats, on day one 
of this epic charity convoy. Most of the camp
are still asleep as dawn in John O' Groats is
around 4am. Photo courtesy of Paul R Corlett.


The convoy parked up en-route from Glen Nevis
to Ullswater. Photo courtesy of Paul R Corlett


The convoy tackling the Kirkstone Pass in the
Lake District National Park. 

Photo courtesy of Stuart Rebecca Evans.

 En-route to the campsite in Conwy in North 
Wales. The great British weather was doing it's
 best to dampen the spirits of the participants 
but it never succeeded, morale was high 
throughout the whole trip despite the usual
British summer rain showers. Photo courtesy 
of Donna Taylor

The line up of vehicles at the Conwy campsite.
All the buses are ready to roll.
Photo courtesy of Stuart Rebecca Evans.

Our mini convoy parked up en-route to meet
 the main convoy at Gordano Services on the
 M5 motorway. Zoe and Kirsty were in the white
 T4, Alden and Jake were in the red 1970 bay 
and I was on my own in my '69 bay. We stopped
off at Oxford services to get some food and drink.
Zoe, Alden and Jake are members of 'The House
of Dub' VW Club, based near Milton Keynes.

By the time we got to Gordano services, it was
dark so we decided to camp there overnight
 as they had clean toilets, and hot food and drinks. 

When we woke up the rain was falling from the
sky like it was the end of the world, but this is
just another British summer and we are used
to it.

Within a couple of hours some other buses had
started to arrive, and they just kept arriving...
it was an awesome sight.

We left Gordano services and headed South
towards Bude, our overnight stop. I'm following
Alden and Jake with buses as far as the eye
could see both in front and behind.

The convoy got split up due to roundabouts,
traffic lights etc, and the rain kept falling but
the buzz I got from being part of the convoy
kept me smiling and my spirits high.

Hang on.. I think it's stopped raining. As we
approached Bude the rain did indeed stop if
only for a short while.

We finally arrived in Bude after driving most of 
the way in rain, which as we all know is not good
  in an early bay!

The convoy queueing up to get into the Bude
holiday park, our overnight stop on the Friday.

Alden and Jake waiting patiently at the back of
the queue to get into the campsite.

Oh hang on... another bus just joined the queue,
and so it went on...

Once in the campsite, Zoe wasted no time in
erecting the gazebo and getting the BBQ
ready. I'm sure Zoe spends half her life living
out of a camper van.

Peeking out from behind Fiona (my bus) at
the damp campsite with Route67 buses
parked up in every direction.

Rouet67 buses parked up at the Bude Holiday
resort, our overnight camp on the Friday night.

Route67 buses parked up at the Bude holiday
resort, our overnight camp on the Friday night.

Route67 buses parked up at the Bude holiday
resort, our overnight camp on the Friday night.

Route67 buses parked up at the Bude holiday
resort, our overnight camp on the Friday night.

Route67 buses parked up at the Bude holiday
resort, our overnight camp for the Friday night.

Route67 buses parked up at the Bude holiday
resort, our overnight camp for the Friday night.


Route67 buses parked up at the Bude holiday
resort, our overnight camp for the Friday night.

Route67 buses parked up at the Bude holiday
resort, our overnight camp for the Friday night.

Route67 buses parked up at the Bude holiday
resort, our overnight camp for the Friday night.


That has to be the brightest screen cover I have
ever seen, but doesn't it look good against the

dark stormy sky.

Route67 buses parked up at the Bude holiday
resort, our overnight camp for the Friday night.


Route67 buses parked up at the Bude holiday
resort, our overnight camp on the Friday night.

Route67 buses parked up at the Bude holiday
resort, our overnight camp for the Friday night.

The green early bay of Paul Aspin, who's idea
it was to have this charity VW convoy in the first
place, and what a great idea it was. I think it
has now become an annual event with different
routes to be planned each year.

Route67 buses parked up at the Bude holiday
resort, our overnight camp for the Friday night.

On the Saturday morning I opened the sliding
door and was greeted with warmth and the sun
shining. The drive down to Lands End looked as
though it was to be completed in the dry.

My 1969 microbus in the morning sunshine
getting ready to leave Bude for the final push
to Lands End, via Newquay.

The 'House of Dub' camp at Bude is being slowly
dismantled in readiness for the final push.

What a difference a day makes, the day before
we had torrential rain all day and today the sky
is blue the sun is shining and it's really warm.

Our little camp within the Route67 camping
field is almost dismantled ready for the 'off'

An impromptu line up on the Saturday Morning
of the buses that camped at Bude before we
 all headed off for Lands End.

Line up of buses at Bude on Saturday morning.

Line up of buses at Bude on Saturday morning.

Line up of buses at Bude on Saturday morning.

Line up of buses at Bude on Saturday morning.

I included this photo of my bus in the line up at
Bude for no other reason than I like it.

Line up of buses at Bude on Saturday morning.

Line up of buses at Bude on Saturday morning.

Line up of buses at Bude on Saturday morning.

Line up of buses at Bude on Saturday morning.

Line up of buses at Bude on Saturday morning.

Line up of buses at Bude on Saturday morning.

Line up of buses at Bude on Saturday morning.

Line up of buses at Bude on Saturday morning.

The charity convoy leaving for Lands End.
You can watch 2 short video's of all the buses
leaving the Bude campsite by clicking the links
 below. The videos taken were by Kirsty Clare.
https://www.facebook.com/zoe.h.hughes/videos/o.967906409890104/10153652289307481/?type=2&theater
https://www.facebook.com/zoe.h.hughes/videos/o.967906409890104/10153652289717481/?type=2&theater

(you may have to copy and paste the links into
your browser)

En-route to Lands End the convoy stopped off
at The Qunitrell Inn in Newquay
http://www.quintrellinn.co.uk/
to have a 'last meal' together as a group, as a
few of the participants had not booked to
stay overnight in St.Just with the rest of us,
so it was a nice gesture 
and a good reason to
all sit down as a group and have a lovely big
cooked roast dinner together, after all there
is only so much barbeque food you can eat!

After finishing a lovely meal, I tried to walk off
the 'full' feeling by wandering around the car
park. As I wandered around I counted 49 buses
in our convoy parked up. What a fantastic sight.

Route67 buses parked up at The Quintrell Inn.

Route67 buses parked up at The Quintrell Inn.

Route67 buses parked up at The Quintrell Inn.

Route67 buses parked up at The Quintrell Inn.

Route67 buses parked up at The Quintrell Inn.

Route67 buses parked up at The Quintrell Inn.

Route67 buses parked up at The Quintrell Inn.

Route67 buses parked up at The Quintrell Inn.

We made it.! The signpost at Lands
 End. The sign states that John O' Groats
is 874 miles but due to the route the convoy
 took the actual mileage was 1008. You can
check out the full route on the Route67
website: http://vwroute67.co.uk/the-route/

The management at the Lands End centre kindly
provided a field on site for us all to gather in at
the end of a truly epic charity cruise.

The Route67 buses gather in the Lands End
field, due to the convoy getting split up the flow
of buses arriving must have gone on for about
an hour. 

Another group of vehicles that got split up from
the convoy are just arriving into our own field
at Lands End.

I do like this photo of 3 of the buses that took
part and completed the Route67 charity VW
convoy from John O' Groats.

More buses arrived shortly after the last group.

My 1969 microbus parked up in front of the
Lands End entrance. It normally costs a small
fortune to enter the car park but as they knew it
was a charity run, they kindly let us enter for free.
They also allowed us to drive our buses up to the
entrance and park up under the 'Lands End'
sign to get some memorable photo's which
is normally prohibited.

Alden's red 1970 pop top bay, Zoe's white T4
and my '69 microbus all parked up at Lands End.
If your going to do a journey like this, it helps no
end to have some good friends to do it with.

At Lands End looking across to the 'First and
Last Refreshment House'. The most South
Westerly Inn in the U.K.

After we had taken enough photo's at Lands
End to remind us all of this epic journey, and
having taken time to wander around the Lands
End complex we headed for our last campsite,
 'Trevaylor campsite' in St. Just,  which is about
3 miles or so from Lands End. My bus looks a
bit lonely where I was directed to park, I didn't
bother putting up my awning or sun shade which
is just as well as the weather turned in the night.

The Route67 buses parked up at the Trevaylor
campsite.

The Route67 buses parked up at the Trevaylor
campsite

The Route67 buses parked up at the Trevaylor
campsite.

Zoe, Kirsty, Alden and Jack setting up their own
little camp at Trevaylor.

The Route67 buses parked up at the Trevaylor
campsite.

In the early hours of the Sunday morning the
storm arrived. We had torrential rain, with gale
force winds that ripped some of the awnings
away from the buses, and any furniture that was
left out ended up across the other side of the field.
You can see how bad the visibility was in the
morning, but despite this the mood was still
surprisingly high. Even so, a few of us decided
to call it a day and head for home rather than
spend a few more days at the site as the fore-

cast was much of the same for the next few days.

We decided whist eating a good healthy fry up,
to stop off at St. Michael's Mount in Marazion to
take some photo's. Marazion is only 12 miles
from St. Just and on the opposite coastline,

and the weather was a million times better.
The sun was shining and it really was quite
warm with a lovely blue sky. 

Looking across the English Channel towards
St. Michael's Mount which is a tidal island which

 can be walked to when the tide is out, otherwise
 you have to get a ferry. It is believed to have been
a monastery in the 8th century. St. Michael's
Mount now belongs to the National Trust which
means you can visit this lovely heritage site.

Our little convoy parked up at one of the car
parks at Marazion... not one of us can park
parallel with the parking bays!
Parked up and sat in my bus looking out at
the beach and the surf at Marazion. 

Fiona enjoying some well overdue sunshine
overlooking St. Michael's mount.

I don't normally like photo's of myself on my
blog as the reviews are not about me, but I
do like this photo. This is me and my '69
bay taken by Alden at the Bude campsite.

From left to right: Zoe, Me, Kirsty, Jake and
Alden at the famous Lands End signpost.

So that was a very brief review of the first
VW Route67 charity run from John O' Groats

to Lands End. You go through life and think
about different things and think to yourself,
 'I wish I'd done this or that', well that's what
I'm thinking about not joining this convoy from
the start in John 'O Groats. All the participants
that took part were so friendly and upbeat,
despite the lousy weather. It was a pleasure
to meet them all, and next year I will do the
whole journey. Big thanks to Zoe, Kirsty, Alden
and Jake for being good mates and good
company, and probably the people I would have
chosen to do the journey with. A massive well
done to Paul Aspin for the original idea and
the organising of the event and to everyone else

who helped Paul getting this charity run off the
ground and a special well done to everyone who
took part, whether you done the whole trip or
just a part of it, like we did. Next years charity
run is already being planned and is going to be
a reversal of this year's route, starting from
Lands End and ending up in John O' Groats.
I'm not sure if it will an exact reversal, stopping
at the same campsites en-rote as they did this
year as it's still in the planning stages, but one
 thing is for sure, you can count me in.!