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?

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