Saturday, 29 November 2014

50,000 views, how we got here.

On Saturday 22nd November my blog, 'My 1969 VW Microbus' which was started back in September 2011 as just a bit of fun had reached a massive 50,000 views. This is truly an incredible number that I find it hard to get my head around. I never thought for a moment when I was writing the blog entries back in the early day's that anyone would be interested in where I go, what I do and who I meet when I'm out and about in my old VW microbus, but it looks like I was so wrong. I have to admit that the blog entries in those early days were not very well written and did not include a lot of content, this is because I just thought that 1 or maybe 2 people, who I'll probably know anyway would read what I was writing. To celebrate the 50,000 views I have created a montage of some my favourite photo's from over the past 3 years. A single photo (or maybe two) from every month since the blog was started. Some months have 5 or 6 blog entries, but I have selected just one or two photos from each month. If you want to see all the blog entries simply go to 'My Blog Archive' to the left of this page. Simply click on the arrow for a particular year, then click on an arrow for a particular month and this will display a drop down menu for all the blog entries for that particular month.

A screen shot I never dreamt I would ever
see on my blog, 50,000 views. I find it really
difficult to get my head around that vast number.
It is of course thanks to you the reader, that my
blog is doing so well, so thank you to everyone
who has visited my blog, whether you visited just
the once or whether you are a regular reader, I
cannot thank you all enough.

2011 September - I first saw 'my' 1969 Bay at
a House of Dub VW Club meet where friends
of mine Zoe and Spike had imported her from
California. Having sold my '67 Beetle I was
chatting to Zoe and mentioned that I was on
the look out for a bus, and after a small amount
of haggling, a deal was stuck.

2011 September - After collecting my newly
lowered bus from the House of Dub, the very
next day my mate Stuart and I drove down to
the Beach Buggin show in Portsmouth. A maiden
voyage of about 200 miles, and my bus drove
like a dream and never missed a beat.

2011 October - The Brighton Breeze. Claude
and I driving on the M25 motorway en-route
to Brighton. This year we had a convoy of
about 9 vehicles going to this brilliant show,
a number which has not been matched since.

2012 February - Not much VW action due to
the snowfall which was for us, quite heavy.
This is probably the first time in 43 years
my bus has seen snow due to being a
Californian import.

2012 March - The weather was better so we
had a drive out to the world famous Ace Cafe
for the monthly air cooled night.

2012 March - The Volkswagen season kicks
off in the U.K with the Volksworld Show, at
Sandown Park. This is always a great show
with plenty of quality show cars and plenty
of European exhibitors also attending.

2012 April - It was time for "Fiona's" 2nd
M.O.T. since arriving in the U.K and the first
one since I have owned her. I was a bit nervous
but needn't have worried as she flew straight
through with flying colours, one of the benefits
of buying a U.S. import.

2012 April - A few of the Outcast VW club
members had a drive over to the House of
Dub VW Club's monthly meet. Here is Stuart's
 '67 Beetle with Zoe's '80 Beetle.

2012 May - This month we popped over to the
Beaconsfield Classic Car and Bike Show, in
association with Watford Rods. This is a great
show that's local and has some awesome hot
rods and classic cars.

2012 June - The N.S.R.A. (National Hot Rod
Association) hold their 40th anniversary bash
at Billing Aquadrome in this month. There really
was some quality hot rods at this awesome event.

2012 July - Some of the Outcast VW club
joined members of the House of Dub VW club
at Camper Jam. A weekend VW festival held
at Weston Park in Shropshire. More quality
VW's and an all round fantastic weekend.

2012 August - One of my personal favourite
shows, Beach Buggin. A day day event on the
South Coast and only a stone's throw from the
beach. Loads of quality VW's including of course
plenty of beach buggies.

2012 August - Also in this month a few of the
Outcast VW club members had a short drive
over to the Brill Fun Day with Classic Car
show. A really good one day show with plenty
of classics and even a few Volkswagen's.

2012 September - This month James, Helen
and I had a day out at Santa Pod Raceway
 for the 'VW Action' show. VW Action claims to
be the world's longest running VW show, and as
well as the usual show attractions you also get
some cool VW drag racing here.

2012 September - Also in this month Stuart
and I headed off to Avon Park Raceway to go
to the N.R.S.A. Hot Rod Drags for more drag
racing, this time mostly classic hot rods.

2012 October - In the scorching October heat
some of the Outcast VW Club members head
off to the Brighton Breeze, a one day VW event
held in Brighton, West Sussex. Amazing
weather and amazing vehicles.

2012 November - Claude and I headed off
into West London to attend the Split Screen
Van Club's autumn jumble at The Ace Cafe.
This is a well attended event with traders
coming from not only the U.K but also all
over Europe to sell their parts and accessories.

2013 February -  January was a quiet month
due to the weather but in February we saw a
new bay window in town. Friends of mine Andy
and Anneliese finally got their hands on a lovely
baby blue bay to go with Andy's blue split screen.

2013 March - The VW season kicks off
with the Volksworld show at Sandown Park
Race course. This show displays only the
top quality VW's from the U.K. and Europe. 

2013 March - Also in this month my blog hit
10,000 views, a figure that I could only dream
of back then.

2013 April - This month I headed over to the
House of Dub VW club monthly meet. It was
a new venue this month, a lovely little pub on
the side of the canal. Great Volkswagen's and
great friends.

2013 May - This month I headed back over to
Beaconsfield for the annual Classic Car and
Bike Show. This cracking little show was full
of hot rods, classic bikes and cars.

2013 June - In the June sunshine some of the
Outcast VW Club headed off to the Wolfsburg
Weed Huggers 'Lazy Day' a one day show with
all monies going to a local children's charity.
This local show was full of quality VW's.

2013 July - This was a scorching month and
what could be better than spending a few nights
away camping at 'CamperJam' with the 'House
of Dub' VW club members. A fantastic weekend
with fantastic people.

2013 August - With the sun still beating down
on the U.K  I headed south towards the Beach
Buggin show in Portsmouth. This really is one
of my favourite shows of the year, and only a
stones throw from the beach.

2013 September - The House of Dub 'Open
Day' is an annual event in this month. It's local,
it's friendly and it has some real quality VW's.
These 3 buses are just a small selection of
what the House of Dub have recently imported.

2013 October - Another of my favourite shows
is Brighton Breeze, a one day show on the sea
front in Brighton, West Sussex organised by the
Split Screen Van Club. A lovely show right next
to the beach.

2013 November - This month is traditionally
quiet on the VW scene so I thought I would
share some photo's of my old Ford Pop (s)
and a little insight into my Hot Rod past.

2013 December - Winter has set in, so it's back
to drawing hot rod / VW signs, mostly just for
fun but sometimes on a commission basis.

2014 January - In the depth's of winter a few
of the Outcast VW Club still brought their VW's
to our monthly club meet.

2014 February - This month it's still a bit quite
on the VW scene, apart from the usual local
VW club meets so I have been doing some
more sign writing. This 8' long sign was made
for a good mate of mine in Germany.

2014 March - This month Matthew, Stuart and
I headed off to a photo shoot with the Wolfsburg
Weed Huggers VW Club. The photo shoot was
for the 'club section' of the Volksworld magazine.

2014 March - Also in this month we
headed for the Volksworld Show, and the
Volksworld girls at Sandown Racecourse.

2014 May - Matthew, Caroline and I headed
northwards to the Stanford Hall Show. This
one day show is set in the gorgeous grounds
of Stanford Hall and has a fantastic selection
of Volkswagen's.

2014 June - This month Claude and I had a
drive over to Billing Aquadrome to attend the
N.S.R.A. (National Street Rod Association)
Nationals to see some quality Hot Rods. Also
this month my blog reached 30,000 views.

2014 July - Some of the Outcast VW club crew
drove into north west London to visit the Ace
Cafe air cooled night where we met up with
some members of the House of Dub VW club.

2014 August - The Brill Classic Car and Bike
Show was in this month and a few of the local
VW owners took our VW classics to the show.

2014 September - This month I went to yet
another local show, the Chearsley Classic Car
Show. This is one of my favourite local shows.
Also in this month my blog reached 40,000

2014 October - October could only mean one
show, the Brighton Breeze. I travelled down
alone but I knew there would be plenty of
friendly familiar faces down there.

2014 October - Also in October Claude and 
I travelled up to Birmingham to attend the DTA
end of season meet. An amazing day out with
plenty of awesome air cooled Volkswagen's.

2014 November - The all new Slough Swap
Meet is back on the calendar and a few of the
Outcast VW club members had a drive down
to this cracking little event.

2014 November - Also in November Claude
and I attended the new Volkswagen dealership
opening in our hometown of Aylesbury.

So that is how my blog reached the magic
number of views, I hope you have enjoyed
my montage of just some of my favourite photos
from some of the shows and events that I have
attended over the past 3 years. Don't forget to
check out 'My Blog Archive' to see all my previous
entries. Once again, a big thank you to each and
everyone of you for visiting my blog, I hope you
continue to come back and here's to the next

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Lancaster Volkswagen Dealership, Grand Opening.

Whilst browsing through facebook a week or so ago, I saw a post from Larry Stockford who owns Retro Custom Automotive, an air cooled workshop based in Hertfordshire. Larry had previously helped out Volkswagen U.K. by putting on a display of classic VW's at a new Volkswagen dealership in Letchworth, Hertfordshire and they had been in touch again to see if he could also help out for a new Volkswagen garage in Aylesbury on the weekend of the 14th / 15th November. Larry posted a request for any local VW owners who would like to bring their pride and joy along to the showroom to create interest and hopefully pull in the crowds. As the new Lancaster Volkswagen dealership is in my hometown of Aylesbury, it would have been rude of me not to try and help out so I re-posted the details on facebook to see what reaction it would get, and to be honest there wasn't much response, which was very disappointing but I thought that doesn't necessarily mean the local VW owners won't turn up ( I hope!). Just in case Larry had a 'Plan B' and had arranged for 6 of his customers vehicles to be transported from his workshop. These quality vehicles were to be displayed inside the showroom, with maybe 1 or 2 spaces left for any local vehicles. There were also a few spaces outside (for the not so shiny daily drivers, including my '69 bay) for local owners to display their Volkswagen. To see all my other blog entries, just go to ‘My Blog Archive’ to the left of the 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.

This gorgeous 1966 split screen bus was the
first vehicle you saw as you entered the show
room. I believe this very unique split was built
at Larry's workshop for Sony to be used as a
promotional vehicle.

Very trick side and roof opening make this
bus very unique. The design and build quality
of this bus was amazing

This bus was so nice, the dark grey reflection
from that super straight body was close to
perfection. The narrowed front beam, the twin
roof racks and the cosmic wheels just helped to
make this split screen so desirable.

A lovely 1972 MK1 GP buggy finished in a
very retro gold colour. This buggy has had a
very comprehensive restoration where every
part was either painted, polished or chromed.

All the time consuming detailing that took place
on this restoration was certainly worth it, as this
buggy looked fantastic. I was told by my mate
Andrew (who is somewhat of a buggy expert) that
is was very rare to see a GP body with the
moulded in engine cover still in tact. Most of the
engine covers ( the protruding section where
the number plate is attached on this one)
 have been removed to allow easier access
to the engine.

A lovely 1972 cal look Beetle that has had a
full body off restoration. As you would expect
this Bug was immaculate and has even been
on display inside at the Volksworld Show.

This gorgeous Beetle had some neat touches
such as the chrome Empi vent trim which are
as rare as, well... chrome Empi vent trim.!

Larry, the owner of 'Retro Custom' owns this
very rare 1953 Zwitter which was found in a
barn in Sweden. The Zwitter is a sort of hybrid
between the split oval and the oval Beetle.
The Zwitters had the split oval rear window but
many features incorporated in the later 'oval'
such as chrome trim instead of aluminium
and different bumpers and lights.

This gorgeous car has been severely lowered
and now runs on 5" narrowed beam with chrome
5 spoke wheels. The paintwork is original which
has just been polished. You can check out the
Retro Custom facebook page here:!/RetroCustom?fref=ts

This 181 Kurierwagen was stunning in it's green
gloss paint. The 181 (LHD) is a 2 wheel drive
off road vehicle developed with the help of the
West German Army from 1968 onwards.  The
right hand drive European version is called the
182 Trekker, while the U.S. version is called
 'The Thing'.

This 181 looked great from every angle, I did
like those huge off road tyres. The Trekker
utilises a type 1 Karmann Ghia floor pan, and
the rear swing axle suspension from the
(then) discontinued split screen transporter.

This lovely clean and straight 1970 Karmann
Ghia looked stunning under the show room
lights. This KG has the semi-automatic gear
box that was only available from 1968 onwards.

The Karmann Ghia really is a classic in the
Volkswagen family and this gorgeous blue
Ghia attracted a lot of admiring looks all

My good friend and fellow Outcast VW Club
member Claude, was invited to take his very
clean and shiny 1960 split screen kombi down
to display inside the dealership showroom.

Claude's kombi looking great inside the show
-room. The dealership put plastic sheets down
under the engines of all the display vehicles
inside the showroom to protect the floor from
any oil drops. I had a look on Saturday after-
noon and not one of the plastic sheets, under
any of the vehicles had any oil drops on it. !

The new dealership showroom was all white
and looked clinically clean, which in a way
made all the classic air cooled VW's look
even better as there was nothing to distract
the eye of the admiring public and customers.

The Karmann Ghia and Claude's Kombi. The
KG belongs to a guy called Sav, who is a long
time friend of Andrew who came down on the
Saturday in his beach buggy.

My '69 bay parked outside the dealership as
she isn't clean and shiny enough to get a spot
inside,but that's OK because she was parked
right next to the road, enticing the public into
the showroom.

Another photo of 'Fiona' parked up right outside
the entrance doors to the Lancaster dealership.
My bay was the first classic air cooled vehicle
the general public saw as they entered the

Outcast VW Club member Sam, popped over
on the Friday in his 1969 off road Beetle. When
I say Sam popped over, I do mean popped over,
he was staying at his Dad's place which is
just opposite the showroom.!

This 1973 crossover bay window looked simply
stunning in it's silver over purple paint. This is
another of Larry's customers vehicles.

This bay really is a show bus, the body and
paint were immaculate. The interior with the
satellite TV was gorgeous, in fact everything
on this bus was 'just right'.

On the Saturday Andrew came over in his
lovely metallic purple beach buggy. Andrew
is a member of The House of Dub VW Club.

Andrew has recently had this re-built to a very
high standard and looks amazing even though
it is un-usually dirty(!) but I think we can make
allowances as it is November and Andrew had
just been across the other side of the County to
take part in a VW photoshoot with the Wolfsburg
Weed Huggers VW Club.

Andrew is just about to leave, the sun is going
down and the temperature is dropping fast.
You have to be a special sort of person to drive
a beach buggy in the U.K. in November, and I
am definitely not that type of person.

Kevin and hid family came along in their 1990
Mk2 GTI Golf. As they pulled up in their totally
immaculate classic they were asked by Lancaster
VW if they would like to display their car in front
of the showroom.

The Mk2 GTI is a true classic and when they
are as clean and tidy as this one, they just
have to be displayed under the classic VW logo.

So that was the grand opening of Lancaster
Volkswagen in Aylesbury. Overall a very
pleasant couple of day's with some really
nice VW's and some extremely nice people,
including all the staff at Lancaster VW who
were very friendly and sociable. To be honest
I wasn't sure what to expect as I've never
attended a dealership opening before, it wasn't
the normal VW show or event we normally attend
but it was still very enjoyable. Claude and I were
chatting to Larry the PR person at Lancaster
Volkswagen and they were talking about an
open day next year but with a lot more classic
VW's and other attractions to boost the visitor
numbers. I have a feeling this is an event that
the Outcast VW club could well get involved
with, maybe we could have the Outcast VW
club open day at Lancaster VW on the same day?