Saturday, 20 September 2014

Ace Cafe - London, Monthly Air-Cooled Meeting

The Ace Cafe London is a former transport cafe in Stonebridge, north west London, England, which has been extensively redeveloped becoming a functions and entertainment venue. The Ace was opened in 1938 to accommodate traffic on the new North Circular Road. Because the cafe was open 24 hours a day, it started to attract motorcyclists. It became popular with the Ton Up Boys in the 1950s and the Rockers in the 1960s. The cafe was rebuilt in 1949 after being destroyed in a World War II air raid. The building is close to the Willesden railway marshalling yard, target of the raid. Events in the post-war environment made the Ace a success: the emergence of the teenager; increase in traffic; and the British motorcycle industry at its peak. Many young people started to meet at the cafe with their motorcycles and listen to rock'n'roll. Many bands and motorcycle enthusiast groups formed there. Today the Ace Cafe still attracts bikers, but the current owner Mark Wilsmore caters for many varied tastes and there is something going on every night of the week. From Hot Rods to Harley's, Kit Cars to Classics and of course air-cooled VW's. Check out the Ace Café website for more information on whats happening, and when: http://www.ace-cafe-london.com/default.aspx.
The third Tuesday of each month is the air-cooled VW night, so I arranged to meet Kevin and Sam, both fellow Outcast VW Club members and have a drive into the outskirts of London. Kevin and Sam went in Kevin's Beetle trial and I took my 1969 bay window.
 
As you enter the Ace car park you are directed
where to park depending on what vehicle you
are driving. Once parked up I made my way to
the Beetle line up and this lovely blue '72 Bug
was parked up right outside the entrance door
to the cafe.

OK, I know it's not a Beetle but this striking
'Help for Hero's' beach buggy was parked up
in the Beetle line up. This vehicle is used to
collect donations for our injured troops, a well
deserved cause so if you see this Buggy out
and about, please give generously.


Another 1972 Beetle only this one was covered
in rust. I think it is the new brush on chemical
you can buy that oxidises when it cures. What
ever it was it does look good. Those red steel
wheels with the whitewall tyres are in stark
contrast to the body work.

The photo's do not really show how realistic
the rust was.

Here is a Bug I recognise, it belongs to a guy
called Dean who is a member of the Wolfsburg
Weed Huggers VW club. Dean's Beetle is very
low and very RAT. Just how a Bug should be.

This lovely 1972 Beetle finished in silver was
immaculate. This really was a nice clean Bug
with a nice coat of paint that shows off the super
straight bodywork.

This gorgeous 1964 Beetle is a regular at the
Ace. This really is a sweet looking Bug with
the single grey paintwork and the banded
steel wheels painted white. This Beetle always
looks immaculate and it's always a pleasure
to see it.

A 1969 Karmann Ghia finished off with a
lovely coat of light grey gloss paint that I
haven't seen at the Ace before. This KG was
sitting very low and looked fantastic.

There really is something about the shape of
an KG that looks so good. This one looks as
though it has had a restoration as it was in
such good condition.

If you like your Beetle's looking RAT, then this
is for you. This 1964 Bug was super low with
a narrowed front beam. The overall look was
definitely RAT and most of the bodywork
even has real holes with real rust.

Driving into London on the A40 Western
Avenue heading for the Ace, travelling at about
50mph this '71 Bug came screaming past Kevin
and I like we were standing still. It was immaculate
and finished in a nice shade of beige. I did like
the 'centerline' look wheels.

Running on oversize rear tyres, with the deck
lid away from the body and that performance
exhaust this Bug was running a big motor. I
did like how the owner had left the '1200' script
badge on the deck lid.

A nice photo of Kevin's trial Beetle in the Ace
Cafe corner. Kevin and Sam both went off road
trialing last week and having seen some of their
photo's of the event, it looks great fun.

Moving onto the bus line up I noticed this lovely
1975 late bay with a pop top finished in white
over bright orange. This bay was riding at
standard height, and I kind of like buses riding
at stock height. They must be much more
practicable than a lowered bus.

My 1969 microbus parked up in the Ace Cafe
car park. Autumn is on it's way and the nights
are drawing in, which means it's almost dark
by 8.00pm and it's only September!

A nice photo of the front end of my bay with
the Ace Cafe in the background with the sun
having just set over North West London.

This chocolate brown T25 belongs to a guy
called Carlo ( I think) who is another regular
at the Ace Cafe.

This is Darren's 1965 split screen, one of many
air cooled VW's that Darren owns. Darren
came along with Carlo and both are members
of The Welwyn Garden City VW Club. This is
a really nice bus that just looks right.

A photo of Darren's splitty in the Ace Car park.
The street lights illuminating Darren's bus just
enough for a photo shoot.

Moving along the bus line up, next was this
1975 late bay with pop top finished in white
over blue. I have to admit I'm not normally
that keen on the spare wheel mounted on the
front panel, but this had a cool chequered
wheel cover which looked good.

Another white over blue late bay with a pop
top, only this one was of 1972 vintage. Both
the late bays were riding close to stock height,
maybe this is going to be the next 'in' thing?.

Would you believe it, yet another blue and
white late bay with a pop top. OK this 1977
one was pastel blue, but that's still blue right?
So we have 3 white over blue late bays, all
with pop tops and all different years and
yet all so different in style from the last.
That's what I like about the VW scene,
never two VW's alike.

A pair of late comers were these two, firstly
a super straight 1969 square back finished in
an ivory white, with Porsche wheels. This really
 was so clean and tidy. I loved the blinds in
the rear windows.

Those Porsche wheels on a narrowed front
beam make this square back stand out.

And secondly parked alongside the square-
back was this similar coloured 1963 notch back.
This 'notch' was in equally as nice condition as
the square.

This awesome looking 'Wizard' Beetle arrived
whilst Kevin, Sam and I were in the Cafe having
a bit to eat. It looks like a wizard body kit and
painted in black with candy red metal flake
flames.

Whilst this is not to everyone's taste, I loved
it. Maybe my hot rod past was kicking in...

The interior was as radical as the outside with
a billet alloy centre piece to hold the clocks.
A bright red steering with matching high back
seats and door cards.

 A close up of the metal flake flames, awesome
paintwork from a very talented sprayer.

Small details like colour coded wing piping to
match the flames add to this car unique style.

So that was the September VW meet at the
world famous Ace Cafe. Overall an enjoyable
evening with Kevin and Sam, shame we got
there so late, but my work commitments
always seem to get in the way!. As usual there
was a good selection of air cooled VW's on
show. The food and drink was also as good
as usual so if you're passing the Ace Cafe
on the 3rd Tuesday of October, maybe I'll
see you there.
 
 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

House of Dub Open Day with show and shine, (part 2 of 2)

The House of Dub / H.O.D. Imports are a Volkswagen repair shop specialising in both air cooled and water cooled VW's. Every year they hold the annual open day at their workshop near the village of Wing in the glorious countryside of Buckinghamshire. This is where local VW owners can visit the workshop to look around, chat to Zoe and Spike about what they can offer and of course enjoy the open day with a show and shine. (If you missed part 1 of my blog review of the show you can check out 'my archive' to the left of this page). Part 2 of my blog review continues in the show field at the water cooled line up.
 
Paul came along to the open day in his very
distinctive Mk2 Golf. I do like that chequered
front end, it really makes this car stand out.
Paul is a House of Dub VW club member.

This superb hot rod themed Beetle arrived
late in the afternoon. It features a wicked roof
chop, and sitting super low, (without air
suspension) and it's running fender less with
spoked wheels that remind me of 1940's Ford
spoked wheels.

The front end was amazing. Not only running
without wings, it also has the inner wings
removed exposing the floor pan and steering.

Interior was pure old skool hot rod. A central
billet alloy instrument panel housing all the
clocks, and a classic look steering wheel
made from steel. A nice touch was the alloy
door cards with the punched holes, and the
alloy bucket seats.

The rear end carried on the hot rod theme with
the rear wings, rear valance and deck lid all
being removed. The rear lights on the side of
the body were side, tail and indicators all in
one.


That low stance, the roof chop and those
lovely 17" spoked wheels make this Beetle
look amazing. I did like the drilled holes in
the body behind the rear wheels.
 

Another neat touch was the fuel filler. To put
petrol in this bug you simply put the nozzle of
the petrol pump through the back window.

Sitting so low with those big hot rod style
head lights and the roof chop really make this
car something special.

Another House of Dub VW club member was
Tony who attended the open day in his cool
looking 1985 T25 crew cab pick up.

This really is a nice looking pick up, OK it's not
painted and shiny but sometimes there is more
to a nice VW than just a fresh coat of paint.
The voters at the show must have agreed with
me because Tony won the best T25 category.
Well done mate.

Andy, Annaliese and the kids came over from
Aylesbury in their 1970 baby blue early bay.
Andy and Annaliese bought their Californian
 imported bay from the House of Dub about 18
months ago. This really is a nice looking bay.

This late bay single cab pick up was looking
so cool sitting very low with a narrowed front
beam and painted decals.

Moving around the show field I arrived at the
T4/5 show line up. This is just a very small
selection of the T4/5's that attended the open
day. As with every vehicle category at the
H.O.D show there was plenty of different
styles on show to suit everyone's taste.

Mark came along in his immaculate T5. The
colour of this T5 is gorgeous as is the black
gloss wheels and the newly re-trimmed leather
interior. Mark won the award for 'Best T5'
Well done mate.

A pair of red Beetle's. Only 1 year separates
these two bugs but the styles are so different.
The '71 on the left is sitting low with a nice coat
of paint and plenty of chrome work and in show
condition. The '70 bug on the right is used for
off road trails so things like a nice coat of paint
and chrome are surplus to requirements. The
'70 Beetle belongs to Kevin from Aylesbury who
cruised over in our small convoy.

Kevin's son Sam popped over to the show
in his own trail style Bug and parked up in the
Beetle line up. Every show needs variety to
make it interesting and Kevin and Sam made
sure there was plenty of styles at the H.O.D.
open day.

A gorgeous 1965 split screen panel van
finished in an unusual yellow / green and
white with Fuchs wheels. The full length roof
rack and safari screens, and not to mention
that narrowed front beam just add to the overall
look of this bus.

This really is one nice and straight panel van.
The lovely colour of that body is complimented
by the white bumpers and upper body / roof.

This gorgeous metal flake blue beach buggy
arrived later in the afternoon. The body is an
original Meyers Manx. Bruce Meyers was an
engineer from Fountain Valley in California
who first created the kit car based on a
shortened Beetle chassis way back in 1964.

There are various manufactures that produce
beach buggy bodies now-a-days, but you can't
beat an original Manx and this one was stunning.
The white fabric hood was in stark contrast to
the blue metal flake paint, and it looked great.

As most buggies are open to the elements the
interior is at best sparse with only the essential
equipment required.

The original Meyers Manx badge on the front
of this buggy.

This lovely early Beetle arrived quite late in the
afternoon. This early '60's bug was finished in
beige with colour coded wheels and whitewall
tyres, and it looked gorgeous.

This beauty looked all original and was so
straight and clean. If you look closely you can
see the front inner wheel arch is painted to
match the body and the paint finish was as
good as the body.

This really is a gorgeous looking Beetle, and
in showroom condition.

A late comer to the show was this late bay
with military heritage. I didn't catch the owner
to ask him the origins of this bay bit I'm pretty
sure it started life somewhere in the military.

Very unusual rear body shape, maybe a troop
carrier? The interior had been converted to a
camper but you could see the possibilities for
Army use.

I'm not sure if that side window would have
been part of the original specification, but I'm
sure the ladder to gain access to the roof is.
Riding at standard height with a spare wheel
on the front, you can imagine this bay carrying
troops across fields.

This is such a rare photo, that you will probably
never see another like it again. Before we left
Aylesbury to cruise over to the H.O.D open day
Claude was having a spot of battery trouble.
And as we were planning to leave the show
the battery was flat again, but fellow Outcast VW 
club member John was on hand to help Claude
get started. This is the first time that I have known
of, that Claude's bus has let him down. Just goes
to show you need to use your bus more Claude.

So that was the House of Dub / H.O.D Imports
open day 2014. Overall a very enjoyable day
with old friends and some new friends. The
weather was good and with a chilled and layback
atmosphere everyone enjoyed themselves. My
blog review only contains a small selection of
the vehicles that attended the open day. My
apologies to anyone who attended the show and
who's vehicle I haven't included in my review, but
I only a limited amount of space on here.
For more photo's check out the House of Dub's
photo album on the event, which is more
comprehensive than my review.
https://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=oa.10152629359565673&type=1