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:
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

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.

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